Feb 16, 2021

Global Girls 21st Anniversary. She's an adult now.

In the midst of the work is the work. You start with a bit of a plan that morphs and bends and even bleeds over into the next plan. If you stop too long to perfect everything, before trying to make something, you might end up with nothing.

And that’s how Global Girls was born. I had one desire, but no idea how to make a dream come true. I wanted every girl to have a taste of life’s possibilities.

Whether dancing, acting, engaging in conversation, creating a show or working with youth in other countries, each girl was expected to do her personal best and then work to exceed it.

The roads were sometime bumpy, but we never faltered. We always knew royal winds lifted us higher and higher above the mendacity of mediocre crowds.

To our magical mothers who cupped our cheeks, smiled into our eyes, and radiated a protective layer of courage up and down our spines, to the African ancestors whose spirits resonate in every beat of every soul-stirring hymn, to the tenacious teachers who prod and poke and produce, thank you. We fearless Global Girls women will continue the legacy and make you proud.

The current crop of dancers and actors took the stage Saturday, January 23rd with only nine in-house guests but many more virtual followers on Instagram and Facebook Lives. They we thrilled to dance, perform and simply talk about their experiences as Global Girls. Later, we had cake and the food they liked. It was a lovely 21st Anniversary celebration.

 

Simayah

The anniversary celebration was great and so much fun because I got to see other Global Girls like Aria and Amora. All our hard work paid off. It was great seeing the audience watching Brighter Days and Overture and Hamilton. I love all my global girls.  All the rehearsals and pressure were worth it. 

Destiny

The anniversary was fun because we were taking a lot of pictures and we were making jokes and having a good time. Doing the old dances brought back so many memories. It was funny that we were teaching the dances to the parents. Talking to my friends and eating cake were my favorite parts. Some of the old Globes came which was great making jokes with them. They made me more confident when I was dancing. I was scared and felt like I was messing up on every dance, but I wasn't. I felt like I could do anything which gave me a lot of confidence which I like because now I know I have real friends and real sisters. When we were done, I was so tired that I felt like I was going to pass out. They said it was a good thing because that means we worked hard. I think everyone did a great job because we were out of breath. When we were doing the dances, we had a lot of energy which was good because the crowd was cheering us on and right with us.

Mahogany

My experience at the 21st anniversary was pretty good. I loved all the dances. We took pictures with some of the old globes and signed the banner about how we feel about global girls. I really enjoyed all of it. Global Girls is a performing arts organization, and I love everything about it. The performing - we make it work even with COVID. We stay socially distant.  I can't wait for the next performance. 

Melanie

The anniversary for me was fun. I liked all the performances and when Ms. Ryonn showed the videos of us from years ago. I also enjoyed that we got to see the older Globes that came before us . I loved when Ms. Penn talked about the students she had before us. I enjoyed the after party. I was surprised when Ms. Penn gave us fried food because we usually only get healthy food. Another thing I enjoyed was doing Brighter Days when the audience was into it and hyping us up. They really enjoyed itg. 

Destyni  

The 21st anniversary was really good. I was happy to see some of the old globes that came. It was fun to perform, and it was funny teaching the Rice sisters one of the dances. They did not know how funny it was seeing them trying so hard. They were really into it. It was also fun to perform with Victoria and Miciah. We still got to have an anniversary and enjoy it with being socially distanced and with everyone wearing their masks. 

Morgan

My experience was fun because this was my first year here, and I learned a lot about Global Girls. Rehearsals were fun but hard at the same time because it was tiring. I tried not to get cut at the same time. We taught some of the older Globes a dance, and they learned pretty quick, so that was fun.

 Nia

I loved the anniversary! We saw the old girls. We had cake, food. We wrote our names on the board. We learned new dances and we acted. Ms.Ryonn showed us videos. 

Nyhla

The anniversary was awesome. It was fun because some of the old Global Girls were there and we taught them dances. They were hard but I still pushed through it. My parents came and cheered us on with everything. I liked that we were fearless girls that day, and we had the shirts to represent that.

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Oct 16, 2020

Preparing to travel when the world reopens

Our bodies might be confined to home, local and country borders, but are minds and souls are free to wander. And so, we dream, we plan and we create fundraisers to support our next international arts exchange endeavor. Next stop, Djibouti,in east Africa. A family friend and former middle school principal now lives there, works in a school and has inviated Global Girls to come and engage her female students in creating their own show about their girl-focused issues. YES! A team of 12 girls ages 14 to 22 are learning about the country, learning the "Stories on Stage" curriculum and practicing their peer facilitation/mentoring skills.

15 year old Mariama has been homeschooled most of her life and only attended public school for one semester. Her only social outlet is Global Girls' afterschool program. When we told her she would be taking the trip with us, she jumped from her seat and danced around the entire studio. "Oh my!! I can't believe this is happening to me. I heard to the stories from older girls who travelled to India or Ghana, Grenada and Kenya and prayed that one day I too would get my passport and board a plane for the first time. Now, I feel like crying cause it's actually gonna happen! Thank you, Global Girls, thank you so, so, so, so very much!"

The other 11 girls were just as excited and wrote as passionately. Their stories will appear in our January newsletter.

In the meantime, our work continues in Chicago with a daytime school at our location for parents who work and can't leave their children home alone, online. The afterschool program, maksed and socially-distanced roles on. Our new media room will soon be up and running where we weill produce a bi-weekly TV show for girls by girls and our teen podcast will debut the first week in November.

Yep, COVID and all, here at Global Girls, we find ways of carrying on the work by "keeping the main thing, the main thing."

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Jun 23, 2020

Global Girls shares stories and promotes change

Casina and her sisters as adults
Casina and her sisters as adults

Global Girls is located on the south east side of Chicago on the border between South Shore and South Chicago. The staff, majority of the board and volunteer pool are African American and also live in the area. The target population is girls, and a few guys who through no fault of their own live in arts-starved communities. Global Girls Global Theatre Collaborative is unique because it is intentionally based in the heart of the black community and dedicated exclusively to exploring local stories of everyday people, staging and preserving those stories. We also know that there is untapped, unrealized talent in the community and are committed to mining blocks, schools, churches and community groups to find it. We train that raw talent and put it on stage. Magic happens once the houselights fade and stage lights come up. Fears flee, voices sing, and feelings roam free. People are unleashed andhat can never return to the way they were. We hear actor testimonies at the end of every run. That gives the team energy and inspiration to get up and do it all over again. The adult theatre’s niche is grounded in our motto “Theatre of the people, by the people and for the children of our people.”

Because of the COVID 19, we have had to move all programming online as the facility is closed, schools are closed and our partner organizations are closed. All staff had to ramp up our skills to use the online resources. We also had to divert funds to purchase equipment, software and services.

Luckily, we had a bit of reserves to get us through the initial period. Now, we are writing proposals every day. We're also creating online programming (classes, webinars and closed discussion groups) to generate revenue. Understanding that everyone is stressed by the crisis, we've been reluctant to appeal directly to individual donors. We have a series of social distanced, outdoor, community building gatherings planned when things open up hoping people will be ready to join us and support Global Girls in the process.

Our team, board, parents, volunteers and especially the girls have worked hard during our 20-year history to render Global Girls a trusted institution in our community. There are many successful young women who were once program participants who thank us for the values our program instilled in them. One is Casina Rice, and this is a snippet from her story:

At the end of what seemed a normal school day, my life changed forever. My parents didn’t come for me and my three sisters. They never came, and we eventually were sent to live with my grandparents who were like strangers to us. A few weeks later, they discovered Global Girls and began taking us to the sessions every Saturday. While I feared abandonment at home, Global Girls made me feel like I belonged. The adults made a big deal about me and helped me see my strengths. Global Girls is an environment that liberates girls - where its cool to be different. I’m 28 and even though my degree is in psychology, I chose carpentry as my profession. I'm an amazing carpenter, and, thanks to Global Girls who took me on my first international trip to Ghana, a committed citizen of the world.

 

Like Casina, there are many girls and women in our community with rich stories of resilience. Global Girls is finding, recording and sharing those stories as we inspire generations of women to learn, lead and succeed.

Girls practice mindfulness at sunrise
Girls practice mindfulness at sunrise
Girls pose prior to a performance
Girls pose prior to a performance
Youth take the stage!
Youth take the stage!

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