by Mame Keita

I did not know what I signed up for when I agreed to co-lead with Arianna, one of our amazing interns, a workshop on “Empower for Change” for Girls Rock. Girls Rock is a pretty amazing organization that works with girls age 9 to 16 and empowers them through music. I was super excited to meet all these young girls willing and ready to be leaders in their lives and their communities.

Our objective was to help them figure out how to use music or creative expression to tackle issues they were passionate about. We started by gathering everyone in a circle, shared names and favorite artist and played an icebreaker. The campers had fun getting to know each other better and discovering commonalities and differences. Our next step was to brainstorm and share our thoughts on values and on their importance identifying them to be able to create change. The conversations got deeper and more personal. One camper shared kindness was her top value because everyone was so valuable. They had a lot of strong values ranging from family, love, equality, acceptance, kindness and of course, music. With those values firmly in place, we then asked them to think about a problem they would like to tackle.

Their awareness and understanding of all societal issues were impressive. They mentioned gun violence, sexual assault, wage inequality, gender inequality and challenging school environment with the new changes in the public system as topics they were not only interested in but also willing to take action for. In order to leverage their skills and talents, particularly in music, to create change we invited them to make a vision board that would be a daily inspiration and allow them to reflect on themselves and remind them of their talents and their strengths.

It was great to be able to share with these young girls with so much will to make a difference some steps and tools toward making their communities better places for everyone.