Girls Amplified is an after-school program that will consist of a 10-12 week, twice a week course in which girls will learn:
1. How to write, perform, and produce narratives, theater pieces, and video
2. How to critically analyze and interpret media stories
3. How to listen to and affirm the stories of others
4. How to start to collaborate, build communities and incite change through storytelling
Girls will come out of our initial program with the confidence and tools with which to start making their voices heard and affecting change in their communities. The program will end with a showcase in which each girl will share a live performance or media piece that tells an important narrative about her life.
We’ve already successfully piloted our program at Central City Values High School in Los Angeles, CA, a public charter school near Koreatown. You can check out our already promising results and student work. We are in the process of launching a pilot in the Chicago area with younger students, so we can start to assess how the program works in different environments and with different age groups.
Vision and Mission:
Vision: A world in which all people’s stories are heard, believed and accepted
We believe that stories have power. Those with the power to shape the narratives that are accepted and repeated shape our values, our history, our perspectives, and ultimately, our society as a whole. The danger is that if only certain types of people have the platforms and the tools to share their stories, only certain people will have the power to shape society. And too often, when people who lack platforms for their stories try to raise their voices, they are met with silencing and disbelief.
All people need to not only have platforms from which to tell their stories; they also need others to be ready and willing to listen.
At Girls Amplified, we want to live in a world where everyone has a platform AND an audience who is ready to listen, to learn from their perspectives, and to widen their world view through hearing and learning about others’ experiences; only then will change happen.
Mission: To create communities of young women with the tools to create change through storytelling and media-making.
Too often, people overlook the power of the media to influence our culture and world, but the media is the platform through which these powerful stories are disseminated. When we hear negative stories about certain people and certain communities over and over again, we unconsciously start to believe those narratives. Until we change the narratives, we can’t truly start to dismantle societal inequities.
Because women and girls have historically been underrepresented both on screen and behind the scenes, Girls Amplified aims to give young women the tools with which to tell their stories and the stories of their communities. In addition, we aim to teach young women to listen to others, to truly hear other people and to widen their perspectives in order to create communities and to ultimately create change through storytelling.
We believe in the power of stories to shape our world and we believe in the importance of giving girls the tools early to tell their stories through the written word, live performances, and audio and visual media.
Plans for the Future:
While we’re currently refining the initial semester long course through pilot programs, we envision creating follow-up curricula in which girls who are interested can work delve deeper into specific storytelling genres (filmmaking playwriting, podcasting, stand-up), learn to collaborate on storytelling projects that will affect change in their communities, and mentor girls in the beginning courses. We ultimately want to foster a growing creative community of girls comfortable and confident in amplifying theirs and others voices towards positive change in our world. While many arts education organizations exist, especially in major metro areas in the US, few focus specifically on creating and telling stories for social change or on the unique stories of women and girls. Our blend of skill-development, community-building, and consciousness-raising is what makes our program a unique and necessary addition.