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Girls face many challenges as they enter adolescence. GIRLSPEAK is designed to boost girls’ confidence and self-esteem so they can navigate the teen years more successfully.

This six-week program helps girls ages 11 to 13 develop skills in assertiveness and self-defense, explore the effects of stereotypes, and learn to calm and focus their minds. Activities include:

  • Discussions of personal power and responsibility, gender stereotypes, and fashion and body image.

  • Training in how to effectively communicate needs and wants and how to assert rights responsibly.

  • Verbal self-defense training in when and how to react, and in using intuition, body language, and voice.

  • Physical self-defense training for dealing with common physical attacks.

  • Instruction and practice in guided relaxation.

GIRLSPEAK's components build on and reinforce each other. For example, after learning about personal power, girls learn about stereotypes and how they take away power, which leads to exploring television and advertising and body image. Similarly, the girls first focus on assertiveness, then on verbal self-defense and on physical self-defense, in a clear progression of skills. The girls have opportunities to discuss what they’re learning and their reactions to it.

GIRLSPEAK builds on girls' strengths, such as their courage and liveliness and their understanding of human relationships. By helping them to understand and successfully handle difficult or dangerous situations, the program helps to "inoculate" them against some of the problems common in adolescent girls, such as declining self-esteem, poor body image, and loss of voice.

GIRLSPEAK was developed by Liz Quinn, M.A. She has a black belt in karate and 15 years of self-defense and martial arts experience. She also has a degree in public policy and women's studies, providing a foundation for understanding women's roles in society and programs that influence women's lives.

To find out more about GIRLSPEAK or to bring GIRLSPEAK to your group, contact Lauren at 301-608-3708 or e-mail us.


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