FTP ‘I’m Girl’ program starts next Tuesday

October 8, 2014   ·   0 Comments

These days, young girls are inundated by the media with images of what the world says they should look like, how they should act and who they are supposed to be. They’re taught through every show practically that appeals to them that stabbing their friends in the back, being judgemental and encouraging incredibly unhealthy relationships is okay. More and more, they develop lower self-esteems because of all these things, making them unprepared for what lies ahead.

This fall, Family Transition Place (FTP) will be hosting another ‘I’m Girl’ program, an eight-week program designed to empower girls and teach them concepts and skills to promote a positive personal image instead of a negative one. The program will be run out of the Orangeville Public Library, and is aimed specifically at girls in grades six and seven.

“The group’s focus is really to raise their self-esteem and help teach them life-skills that they can use for the rest of their lives,” explained Sabina Greenley, Youth Educator at FTP and Program Organizer for I’m Girl. “We cover topics like what a healthy relationship looks like with friendships and dating, how to communicate and how to manage your anger in a healthy way.”

The program has been held at the library for the last three years, and they have seen a continued success with the program since taking it there.

“It’s been going really well,” said Ms. Greenley. “Every time we open up the registration, we are usually full within two weeks, as well as have a wait list. We call the wait list when we have the next one and open it up for registration again. It gets full, and we have another wait list.”

She added that the demand for this program is definitely there, which shows that there is still a need for something like this. The sessions are closed, so once I’m Girl starts, no new people can join. Part of the reason for this is to allow the girls to become comfortable enough with one another to start sharing – something that becomes more difficult if you are continuously introducing new people to the group.

“We don’t want to bring people in and out and make [the girls] uncomfortable,” Ms. Greenley said. “We want to leave it as the small group setting, so they’re comfortable and talk openly and honestly about the things that are going on in their lives.”

Girls attending the program are given a survey at the beginning of the program, as well as the end, to assess how they felt before learning these new things and how they felt afterwards. Along with the survey, the girls also write out the things they love about each other anonymously. These are then printed on a small, wallet-sized card and given to the girls as a reminder of all the positive things people see in them.

“We’ve actually had girls come to FTP five years later, who are now done high school and in their first year of college,” explained Ms. Greenley. “They want to do a placement here in the Youth Ed section because they want to do what we did for them for other kids. And they pull the cards out of their wallets to show that they still have them. So it’s pretty incredible knowing that these cards that were created are still in their wallets being looked at and helping them feel good about who they are.”

One problem the program does face, however, is the lack of funding to run it.

I’m Girl, along with other in-school and out-of-school classes are run completely on community-fundraised dollars, as the government does not supply fundraising for these kinds of outreach.

“The dream is for the word to get out and to have the government see how effective the program is,” she said. “We have proof and we have success stories about what a difference this has made in so many lives. These girls are now going out into the community and are making a difference here and in the world because of this program.”

Helping young girls, and other students, feel better about who they are and what they want to do has a positive impact on their surroundings, added Ms. Greenley. The importance of a program like this helps to improve the world we live in and allows youth to stand up and be the change that is needed.

“When people feel more confident about themselves, they’re more likely to stay in healthy relationships, they’re more like to use these skills,” she said. “So we’re going to have less violence, less bullying, less of these things happening in our community. That’s what we want. We want to have a community where people are in more healthy relationships, they’re communicating in a way that they’re being heard and where there isn’t violence happening.”

The ‘I’m Girl’ sessions are slated to run from October 14 to December 2, and registration is open now. Should the session be filled, callers are added to the wait list and given the first choice at the next seminar to be run in 2015. For more information, you can visit or  phone 519-941-4357.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.