Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad

by Global Girls Inc.
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Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Girls voices matter in Chicago and abroad
Global Girls TV show
Global Girls TV show

As Global Girls approaches our 22nd Anniversary, we pause to say Thank You to all of you who read our posts, saw our pictures and took time to click the donate button and give some of your hard-earned money to our mission, our programs, our youth.

Now, more than ever, children need to know that we put them first. COVID might interrupt our activities and their lives, but Global Girls will be here for the long haul providing safe spaces for them to gather, talk, learn, grow and have fun just being children.

I traveled to Tanzania in November to meet with our partner, MudaAfrica, and plan our 2022 international trip. Six youth, five staff and six other adults from the community WILL make that Tanzania trip in 2022 when its safe to do so.

Because of your support youth in Chicago and Tanzania will learn from each other, will share hope and dreams, and maybe even teach us adults a thing or two about looking beyond our faults and seeing the common light that shines within.

We wish you all a safe, productive and prosperous New Year.

Marvinetta Penn

Global Girls Founder and Executive Director

Members of the Global Girls Alumni family
Members of the Global Girls Alumni family
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Youth performing in our Summer Showcase
Youth performing in our Summer Showcase

Conversations with teachers, principals and other arts organization leaders are pointing to one disturbing trend - younger children developing unhealthy habits in part due to excessive and/or unmonitored screen time. Global Girls believes in science and understands that the arts can be a powerful tool to begin versing that trend. Neuroscience research has shown us that early childhood is a time of tremendous brain development. The young brain literally changes shape and size in response to everything encountered in this early period of development. New environment, life experiences, caretakers and relationships can all affect the way complex brain circuits are wired.

While our target market continues to be African American girls, ages 6 to 18, we’re expanding programs to engage girls and boys as young as three. “My First Show” is now in three south side Chicago public schools and will expand to seven additional locations by the end of the year. Global Girls is piloting this performing arts program in daycare settings and kindergartens using dance, theatre and music to teach communication, team-building and social/emotion skills. There’s also a parent component wherein parents have fun learning effective communication skills, emotional regulation and healthy lifestyle skills, all tools that will help them personally as well as in their roles as parents. We believe that exposing children and parents to the arts early will whet their appetites and prepare them to participate in community-based arts programs including Global Girls.

We trust that many of those children will continue in Global Girls and, one day, travel internationally with us in arts exchange programs teaching other youth to use their voices for positive change in their communities. We are still on target to travel to Tanzania in February 2022 with eight current program participants ages 14 to 18 and eight staff members.

Marching for "Love" in the community
Marching for "Love" in the community
Five and six year old youth in the summer program
Five and six year old youth in the summer program

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Past summer showcase performance
Past summer showcase performance

As the world reopens from COVID shutdown, Global Girls is gearing up for a full summer of programs, new performances and new partnerships. Our yearlong “In Person Virtual School” initiative serviced 55 youth between September 8, 2020, when Chicago Public Schools began virtual classes, and June 4, 2021, after staff, parents and the youth decided to shut down operations. The school year officially ends June 18.

Many of our youth will join girls from all over the Chicago area and a few from surrounding suburbs for the 9th Annual Youth Performance Camp. Girls ages 4 to 14 learn social emotional skills, dance, acting, singing and have a wonderful time making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Thankfully, with our entire team vaccinated as well as many of our older youth, we will have a full camp. As in prior years, the seven week, five days a week program will culminate in a spectacular finale where youth present to family and friends all the skills learned throughout the summer. Two camp highlights are the Power Lunch bringing together professionals from a variety of fields with our youth to expose them to a plethora of career options. The second initiative is our Beauty in the Community campaign where youth and community members select parks, streets, alleys, lots to clean and ask residents to pledge to keep those areas litter free. This year, we’ll debut the Youth Short Film Festival. Our girls love creating videos on their phone. So rather than ask them to use phones during camp hours, we’ll incorporate the technology. Film and media production students from Chicago State University will teach video units and help with final projects.

The adult performance program finale returns in August starting with acting and dance classes for members of our south side community. The first production is entitled “In This House” a look at how five families endured or managed the COVID lockdown as well as the lasting impacts.

Lastly, it is time to travel again!!! We’ve partnered with MuDa Africa, a performance group for young women and men in Tanzania doing similar work to what we do here in Chicago. Thanks to our alliance with Chicago Peace Fellows and one fellow in particular, Yusuph Masanja, who facilitated the introduction, six of the older performers will travel to Dar Es a Lam in February 2022 to learn their dance techniques and share a bit of ours. We are thrilled to connect with another group from the diaspora and to once again, expand our Global network. Check out MuDa African’s work. A contingent of adults will join us after studying the Global Girls methodology and becoming official Ambassadors for transformation through the arts. But first, everyone must take the vaccine! https://en.unesco.org/creativity/ifcd/projects/strengthening-contemporary-dance-scene-east

Summer Camp before COVID
Summer Camp before COVID
Summer Camp 2020
Summer Camp 2020

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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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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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Organization Information

Global Girls Inc.

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @1globalgirlsinc
Project Leader:
Marvinetta Woodley-Penn
Chicago, IL United States
$17,863 raised of $20,000 goal
 
437 donations
$2,137 to go
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