Strong and Proud: Empower Our Girls
Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG) is a nationally recognized mentoring organization dedicated to creating an outside support system for young girls and helping them develop skills for lifelong success. Our mission is to utilize the lessons learned from strong women throughout history to encourage young girls to become strong women themselves. Committed college women, trained as mentors, utilize a research-based curriculum to help young girls develop leadership skills and build a strong community of peers and leaders. By building communities of women committed to supporting positive social changes, Strong Women Strong Girls works to create cycles of mutual empowerment for women and girls.
Started at Harvard University in 2000, SWSG now serves 3rd to 5th grade girls in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Miami. Our chapter, at Carnegie Mellon University, is one of the six university chapters in Pittsburgh, and together we have reached over 600 young girls.
Carnegie Mellon Chapter
The Carnegie Mellon chapter of SWSG was launched in 2006 and has since been working towards empowering young girls living in underserved communities across Pittsburgh. Proud to be the first SWSG chapter in Pittsburgh, this year our chapter celebrates our 10-year anniversary. Currently, our mentors mentor at Arsenal Elementary School, Pittsburgh Liberty K-5 Elementary School, Helen S. Faison Arts Academy, Grandview Elementary School, Estelle S. Campbell Boys & Girls Club, and Hosanna House. With the help of our over 25 committed mentors, we are able to reach over 40 girls at our six mentoring sites.
Every week, mentors meet with the girls for 90 minutes and organize lessons that aim to help them recognize their potential strengths and encourage them to pursue their dreams. The curriculum is based on historic and contemporary female role models who embody the ideas of strong women and global sisterhood. Our program strives to build positive mentoring relationships and combat the danger of low self-esteem in pre-adolescent girls.
Annual Campus Field Trip
Starting last year, the CMU chapter of SWSG holds an annual campus field trip for the girls from our mentoring sites. The purpose of the field trip is to expose our girls to college experience and inspire them to pursue post-secondary education in the future. In particular, our field trip activities highlight the studying areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, where women are usually underrepresented. During our field trip last semester, we invited Professor Anderson to demonstrate how to make ice cream from liquid nitrogen. The girls were all amazed by the various science demonstrations he showed, and they all shouted out that they want to attend CMU and be scientists!
Our campus field trip this year was on November 5. We had the pleasure to have Professor Anderson with us again, and he illustrated how magnets are used as brakes in roller coasters. The girls all closely observed how a magnet after being cooled by liquid nitrogen falls very slowly through a copper pipe. Professor Anderson also showed how to make a magnet float in the air, and the girls all thought it was super cool! In addition, we toured the robotics lab at CMU. The girls were introduced to a snake robot with the ability to climb up trees or other cylindrical objects. Each of them had the chance to let the snake robot climb up her leg, but it was not used to “seeing” shoes! The girls were also introduced to a red spider robot, and they laughed when it managed to make a few rigid dance moves. Matt, a CMU student who works at the robotics lab, talked about his summer experience of interning at NASA, where he worked on space robots that can push asteroids away from the earth. We also organized several other interesting activities such as dance and painting. All of the activities were designed such that our girls would get to know the many aspects of college from academic learning to extracurricular involvement.
All funds raised will be used to help achieve our mission of supporting young girls through weekly mentoring and annual field trip. Since both are completely free for our girls, we want to raise $2,000 to cover all necessary expenses.
First, we will use the funds for our next year's field trip, of which the expenses cover buses transporting the girls from their schools to CMU and back, lunch on CMU campus, and activitity-related materials. The field trip can have a profund and meaningful impact on the girls by getting them interested in advanced education and encouraging them to take advatange of various education opportunities.
The rest of the funds will be used to support our weekly operations associted with mentoring. Mentoring-related expenses include lesson materials and transportation for mentors to the sites and back. Potentially, we would like to add more sites and reach more girls.
A contribution and investment made to Strong Women Strong Girls is an investment in the next generation of strong women and female leaders!