What do bullying, body image and self-esteem have in common? Well, for starters, they’re all issues facing youth today. They’re also topics of discussion for Smart Girls, an educational program for young ladies at the Concord Boys and Girls Club.
The Smart Girls meet once a week at the club’s after-school program. The eight-week class, facilitated by NHTI student and club intern Amanda Hale, is broken up into two age groups; one for 6 to 8 year olds; the other 9 and 10 year olds.
Topics covered in the program include goals and goal-setting, health, body image and self-esteem, among others.
At last week’s session, the older girls discussed bullying. They started out with journal time, writing their own definitions of bullying and what it meant to them. Afterward, the girls discussed what they’d written.
“At school, there are some people who make fun of other people who listen in class,” said 10-year-old Hayleigh O’Connor. “They call them nerds.”
The girls also discussed the times they’d been bullied and how it made them feel.
“I don’t like it when I see my best friend being bullied,” said 9-year-old Caitlyn Ross. “I wish bullying never started.
Hale told the girls that bullying is illegal and shouldn’t be tolerated.
“If you see someone being bullied, it’s really important to tell someone.”
At the end of the hour-long session, the girls acted out their own skits about bullying.
O’Connor and 9-year-old Alexis Brown made up a play about cyber-bullying. In it, Brown played the “uncool” girl who wanted to hang out with O’Connor, who played “the snob.”
There was plenty of giggling throughout the skit, but Hale said it’s a good tool to reach them.
“These aren’t topics they talk about on a regular basis,” Hale said. “I think the girls can really benefit from this program.”
For more information about the club and its programs, visit concordkids.org.