AFG member About-Face works to arm girls with the knowledge and tools they need to fight back against a culture that diminishes and disempowers them. AFG recently spoke to their Executive Director, Jennifer Berger, about what the organization has currently been working on.
AFG: Could you provide an overview about your mission?
Jennifer: With the revelations of the Facebook whistleblower (exposing that Facebook knows Instagram makes teen girls feel worse about themselves and allows the spread of dangerous misinformation), About-Face’s work is more relevant than ever. We know from 17 years of experience that even young teens can be taught critical-thinking skills so they can question media messages and resist the pull of social media. It’s a skill that lasts longer than any government regulation or rules made by parents.
We host About-Face Education Into Action programs in schools, organizations that already serve teen girls*, and virtual environments. Every teen in the United States, in every school, virtually, at home, everywhere they are, should have this curriculum. Right now, we’re serving girls from all backgrounds in the San Francisco Bay Area and plan to reach girls nationally as early as next year.
AFG: Your work has never been more important than ever. What are you currently working on?
Jennifer: We’re so excited to be partnering with Oasis for Girls to lead an About-Face Girls Change-Making Task Force in their RISE life skills program this month. In 10 hours of programming, our instructors will give girls the ability to see through the messages in all forms of media and fight back against those that are disempowering and diminishing them through creating their own social actions. Our work with Oasis represents the continuation of a long-time partnership forged in the very founding of Alliance for Girls! (Jennifer and Oasis’ former ED Jessica Van Tuyl were part of the founding group.)
AFG: That’s incredible! Collaboration is key. What kind of organizations are you looking to partner with?
Jennifer: At About-Face, we love to plug in with other organizations serving girls who are encouraging their fledgling interests in taking real action to change their communities for themselves and their fellow girls.
AFG: Is there anything else you would like to share and put on the table?
Jennifer: We are so excited to launch national programs in a virtual format. The pandemic was a huge challenge, but the silver lining was that by going virtual immediately and shaping our curriculum to fit that format, About-Face came through it to create a fertile foundation for our next big moves — to serve girls in the broader United States.
To get involved, please visit their website at about-face.org.