BOSTON GLOW
Boston GLOW is a breeding ground for the modern day superwoman. GLOW fosters opportunities for women of all ages to become empowered community leaders and active world citizens.


Real Girl Leaders: Douana Offre

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Today we bring you our 5th #RealGirlLeader, Duoana Offre.  Douana is 17 and a student at Cathedral High School. Douana is a 2015 Boston GLOW IGNITE Change Finalist, and an example of the young women in the Boston area putting forth real ideas to create lasting change for women and girls.  Here's Douana's idea to empower women and girls!

 

Empower Each Other

Growing up as a member of the Millennial Generation, I have experienced many different things. This generation, I believe, has lost sight of what it really means to be a community helping one another and respecting one another. Often times this is not the case, with myself as well as other teen girls in or around my area. There is a lot of physical fighting and fighting on social media. There is so much unnecessary drama or "beef" within the communities of  Boston, not just with young women but with everyone from teens in early adolescence to grown adults in the prime time of their lives. These grudges can be held onto for long periods of time; sometimes they can last a lifetime. I often hear things like “I do not like this girl because she used to date a boy at the same time as me.” Instead of being angry at the boy in the middle, we take it out on each other.

Life is not about holding grudges and that is a motto I love to live by on a daily basis. A lot of girls my age say, " I don't trust other girls" or " I only hang out with guys because girls are all about drama." It’s sad.  As young girls growing into women, I believe we should empower each other not diminish each other. As women, we already have a disadvantage in society due the system of oppression known as sexism that gives unearned advantage to men and oppresses women or gender nonconforming people. We already have the stress of sexism upon us; we don't need to add even more stress onto ourselves. We have to fight harder to receive the same amount of respect as males. We are just as capable and as intelligent, if not more, than males and we can't let this false idea of what women are to define who we truly and genuinely are.

This is why if I had $1,000 to spend to make a change for girls in my community I would spend it on establishing an organization called the Teen Girls’ Neighborhood Collaborative Boston. This organization would be a space for the young women between the ages of 12 to 19 in the city to get together and discussion different issues, such as domestic abuse, violence, teen pregnancy support, struggles with school, etc, as well as a safe space to deal with any drama or “beef” in a positive way. There would be experts to help deal with the different issues we are faced with as young women. I know for me personally, I would love a space that serves to do this. I am tired of seeing my friends fighting over childish things. We should stop doing this to ourselves. We are separating ourselves. It’s a natural thing for women to be jealous of each other but if we were to empower each other and connect with each other it would make a big difference.

I envision it being a 2 to 3 time a week place for girls to get what they need from experts or their peers. Some of the services would be college preparation, counseling, homework help, social working etc. I know for me personally, I cannot go to any faculty members at school or a lot of these things. The daily routine would look like this:

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

4:00 to 5:00:

Homework

Check in

Icebreaker

4:00 to 5:00:

Homework

Check in

Icebreaker

4:00:500:

Homework

Check In

Ice breaker

5:00 to 5:30

Activity

5:00 to 5:30

Deep Sessions/Healing Circles

5:00 to 5:30

Activity

5:30 to 6:00

Closing/ Plus or Delta

5:30 to 6:00

Acknowledgements/ Appreciations

5:30 to 6:00

Closing/ Plus or Delta

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            The start of the day would be focused on getting school work done then quick check ins that would consistent of questions such as "how are you and how was your day," "rate your day" or a fun question of the day. The icebreaker would come next to liven up the mood before getting into either the activity of the day or deep sessions. Some of the activities would consistent of things like doing research for an upcoming project, planning an upcoming organization party, planning a fundraiser, making up your own poem or rap or picture that expresses who you are, guest speakers etc. as well as many other things that would bring the group together. Examples of the guest speakers would be therapist, teen clinic representatives or any other person who would talk about their experiences, how they overcame them, and their advice to anyone dealing with it.  Some of the activities would be healing circles to get all the drama out in the open and help them move on and grow from it; or fishbowls which are an inner and outer circle, talking about the question at hand then rotating for each new question. These activities add to why this organization would be different from others; instead of just stating the problems, we would take the next steps to solve these problems. The day would end with a closing chant, plus or delta or acknowledgements or appreciations.

            I find that if you give girls the space to express themselves, they can build up the courage or confidence to do the same in other areas of their lives. I've always been a very shy person but after becoming a part of a social justice organization known as The City School, I have been able to express my emotions more and speak up more instead of being very reclusive. It helped me come out of my shell and blossom into the young woman I am today. I can only imagine doing that same thing for others.  I want every young girl that comes through this organization to tap into her inner self and let it shine. If it makes a difference in at least one life, then I know that I made a good decision by making this dream a reality.

            I've also had a passion for helping young women, whether it be friends or classmates or coworkers. I love being that go to person for advice, support, love or care. I have been doing my research on many of the problems we face and I can see myself continuing on in this line of education to help those around me. It's an amazing feeling knowing you can make a difference in a community for the wellbeing of others. I also loving watching the growth of others.  The initial goal of this organization would be to spark change and reconciliation between the young women in the different communities of Boston

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