Feb 25, 2020

Evaluation reveals changing mindset is key

20th Anniversary in local media
20th Anniversary in local media

“The performing arts is my life now because of the experiences I had in Global Girls.” Ava is a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in musical theatre. She spent a summer studying at the Globe Theatre in England and won the lead role in Henry IV.

“It (Global Girls) was a different kind of feeling when you were there – the way it was run, the values they set, how we could ask pretty much anything and get the information we needed. The girls who were a part of it were so great. …we were sisters.” Prosper is a speech pathologist working in the Atlanta Public School system and interested in starting a Global Girls group there.

As Global Girls, Inc. continues  the 20-year providing arts education and performance opportunities/experiences for African American girls, we are critically examining what we do, how we do it and the long term impact on participants. While the staff and board knows that Global Girls is a vital contributor to the artistic life blood of Chicago’s South Side, has an international reach and stages stories that have the power to heal and build bridges between generations, we also know we need the numbers and data to show it.

 Currently, impact is measured in terms of:

  • 20,000 girls and young women served.
  • 70,000 audience members reached.
  • The average length of time a participant remains in our program is five years.
  • 100% of their girls graduate high school and 90% go on to college.
  • 85% of the staff are adults who grew up in the program.

The key research questions were: 

  • Why does Global Girls have such high retention rates?
  • What are the long-term impacts of Global Girls’ programming for youth who have grown up in and grown beyond the program?
  • What are the program elements that are most impacting?

In order to find out, the consultant conducted a focus group with the team to create survey and interview questions. Then the team collected 72 surveys from school-based program participants and conducted interviews with Legacy Global Girls (girls who were in the program for five years or more). The team worked together to analyze and interpret the data.

72 current school based Global Girls participants completed the survey. Findings include:

  • 93% were encouraged to take on leadership roles.
  • 99% Global Girls has helped me get comfortable working in groups.
  • 100% Global Girls appreciate other people’s ideas.
  • 100% Global Girls helped me stay present.
  • 99% Felt like they were part of a sisterhood.
  • 90% Would encourage other girls to join Global Girls,

A focus group and interview data reveal that Global Girls is highly impactful as an organization because the programs are founded on the following values:

  • Rigor/ Discipline
  • Safety
  • Leadership Development
  • A strong sense of BELONGING
  • Developing strong mentorship by and for women
  • Practicing cascading level leadership
  • Building and exercising youth resilience
  • Teaching critical thinking which leads to an expanded worldview

Interviews with Legacy Global Girls (program participants of 5 years or longer) are indicating that they are currently:                    

  • Using skill sets developed during their time at Global Girls in their professional lives today.
  • Using the communication skills (being impeccable with their words) that they learned at Global Girls today.
  • Have become lifelong learners as a result of their time at Global Girls.
  • Are creative and innovative people who have the capacity to think on their feet as a result of Global Girls.
  • Have developed resilience, discipline and dedication as a result of their time in Global Girls.
  • Have become leaders at their universities, in their sororities, campus organizations and in their jobs as a result of the skills they learned and practiced at Global Girls.
  • Have become Global Citizens who are concerned with the world beyond themselves as a result of what they learned in Global Girls.

Quotes from Legacy interviews

“We knew it was never just about us. We were representing Global Girls and what we did in public represented something bigger than just us.” Damane, age 26

“It saved me you know. Like it gave me so much hope. I’ve missed Global Girls so much because you really can’t find what we had out here in these streets. I mean I had a sisterhood. It was like a habit. I could say what I wanted to say. I could be weird. I could be quirky. I didn’t even have to say anything. We would just put on music and dance.” Ava, age 21

“Sometimes we would perform and afterwards lead conversations with girls and half the time we were the same age, maybe younger. It was really interesting to learn how to navigate tough conversations with your peers.” Christina, age 25

“We would do these shows for girls who were 13, 14, 15 years old and they would come up to us afer crying being like, ‘I really related to that.’ It was a beautiful thing.” Nailah age 24

Global Girls participants on stage
Global Girls participants on stage
Work in school program
Work in school program


Nov 26, 2019

Global Girls turns 20!

Arts in the Dark parade, downtown Chiccago
Arts in the Dark parade, downtown Chiccago

In preparation for our 20th Anniversary in January 2020, we’ve begun a long-term evaluation study and hope to get responses from 200 girls who have participated in our programs. So far, 105 girls have responded to the survey. Here are a few of the responses to the question, “How has Global Girls impacted you?”

  • GG has changed me into a more focused, more creative, more assertive, more passionate, less needy human. GG shrank my social works and made me let go of people who were not focused on my principles.
  • GG has transformed me into being a confident and outspoken person. And to never let anyone take advantage of you and to be impeccable with my words and to enjoy the moments that are present.
  • GG has changed me by I have a whole new mindset. I am not the same person I came in as. I look at things differently. Not timid or scared.
  • GG helped me to accept my authentic self. I love certain thinks and it is ok to love. Love of self.
  • GG has change me in many ways. Through (?), handwork and passion. It has shaped me into the woman I am today. I’m just happy and grateful. It has made me very grateful for the small things. It has shifted my thinking which help me in my everyday life. It taught me how to dream to truly be authentic.
  • Assertive. Think on feet, it can be done. Young people are important. Travel matters. Find vocabulary for what you want to say. Being creative. Yes/& thinking- take what is here and adopt it. At GG young people’s voices matter -counter cultural to the dominate culture- safe place and being a safe person matters- not one way to be Black and that being Black is not sufficient (in the dominate culture) there is not one way to be Black. Community can be chosen, and memories are important. Punctuality is a respect for the time of others You are responsible for more than yourself. Being published taught me that I can do things that are unexpected, and it shapes my goals in life.
  • GG brought me out of my shell, taught me how to be a young woman, exposed me to many things, helped me to grow into a mature, loving, problem solving young woman. Embrace my talents and be around high vibe people. Be myself and speak for myself.
  • Global Girls has change me by teaching me how to be openminded to other people and cultures and they have made me realize I don’t want to be small minded. I want to always step outside my comfort zone. I used to hang around the big dogs and started to alter myself. Started changing me. At GG I made friends who can make you laugh for days. I realized that sometimes that is your reality only because you think it is- I want to go higher and I don’t want to be small minded. I have to learn about other cultures and be more out-going. The more friends I made the more I came out of my shell.
  • Speak for myself. Be myself. Hold my own. Started to get in trouble, but at GG the mentors/teachers will sit you down and show you how you both have a responsibly in the conflict. I started to be more mature. Embrace my talent in writing and singing.

Here are a few additional highlights from our fall program.               

22 girls and 6 adults went on our annual Camp Duncan retreat at the end of October to YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside, IL The girls enjoyed boating, archery, candle-making, wall climbing, team challenges roasting marshmallows for s’mores and having fun just being girls. This was a cell phone free weekend and not one girl complained. Our girls learn dance, acting and social/emotional skills five days a week after school and two Saturdays each month at our Global Girls studio. While all participants get the opportunity to perform in community events and in our quarterly showcases.

32 youth and adults participated in the “Arts in the Dark” parade October 19 and 26 modeled, danced and sang in our annual Fashion and Talent Showcase at our partner organization, Calvary Baptist Church on 83rd and Jeffery. Parents and community members enjoyed seeing them celebrating themselves and their talents. Those girls who excel in their training join in the youth company of the Global Girls Theatre Collaborative. We are so very proud of six girls who performed at a National Youth Summit in Austin, Texas November 2nd. There were groups from New York, Boston, California, Austin and Florida who also performed. Global Girls was selected as the BEST of all groups by the event organizer and other adults and youth.

We have partnerships with the 4th district police department (speaker at our girls conference), Atlas Center (performances and ticket sales), UIC Blue Demons basketball (3 free basketball games and transportation for up to 35 youth/adults) and Eastern Illinois University (trips for our girls and conference support).

Enjoying an afternoon at the studio
Enjoying an afternoon at the studio
Camp Duncan fun
Camp Duncan fun
Camp fun
Camp fun
Camp fun on the water
Camp fun on the water


Aug 26, 2019

20 years of empowering fearless girls

In a few short months, Global Girls will turn 20 years old. January 18, 2000 was the day we were granted organization status in the state of Illinois. We've accomplished quite a lot since then including taking girls to Ghana twice, traveling to Kenya four times, to India, London and Grenada once. In all, over 40 African American girls from the south side of Chicago have traveled abroad and worked with hundreds of girls in other countries thanks to Global Girls. Since 2000, we’ve engaged over 5,200 girls and a few boys in arts education programming. We are currently conducting a research project to reach all girls who have ever participated in our programs and determine our impact in a variety of areas so that we can our model and share it with others. 

So far, 2018 has been a banner year. Here is a snapshot:

  • This summer, 63 girls ages 3 to 14 and eight boys, ages 5 to 8 participated in our Youth Performance Camp.
  • This year marks our 13th year partnering with After School Matters. 32 teen boys and girls took part in our summer program. Thanks to “A Marvelous Creation,” they had their own meeting/rehearsal space.
  • We ran twelve school-based arts education programs during the 2018-19 school year and engaged 727 youth.
  • We now have seven committed, hard-working board members.
  • The Hamilton Chicago partnership with Global Girls continues.
  • We have 10 on-going partnerships.
  • If you know a former Global Girls participant, send us her info so we can include her in a long-term impact research project.

It's only August! We've got four months of programs and activities before our birthday. Lots more to come!

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