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Tag: grants

Grants for girls

This week I want to share some really interesting websites that offer grants for young women. Are there young women in your life who might be able to access these?

The Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation was created to “inspire girls and women across Australia to dream and achieve”. What a fabulous slogan! Beachley was inspired to start this foundation for young women as she had struggled to fund her early surfing career (imagine a male pro surfer having to go without sponsorship for 8 years and being forced to work four jobs as well as training and competing!). The list of girls she has chosen to support so far is impressive and looks beyond those just interested in sport. Young women passionate about pursuits such as ballet, opera and African studies have all been assisted.

Beachley tells us that “the foundation is an investment into the future of Australian women. A little bit of finance or just the knowledge someone believes in their personal ambition may be all it takes for a female to achieve greatness and ultimately happiness.”

Who else is encouraging our girls ?

The Vicsport website is one which is fabulous for sporting girls, and it also hosts great articles about women in sport and in leadership roles in general.

Youth NSW also has some excellent links to lots of opportunities that would appeal to young women, such as the Future Leaders Awards, which recognise and reward young Australians who have shown strong leadership and potential, and Write in Your Face, which is a funding program supporting emerging forms of writing practice by young writers or organisations working with young writers. I love that the latter invites proposals from people who are using language in innovative ways, including writing for zines, e-zines, comics, multimedia, multi-artforms or cross-media works, websites, live performances and spoken word.

Federally, there is a whole website dedicated to grants and a search for “women” and “youth” brought up a few interesting options, such as the Local Champions Program for young sportsmen and women, and the Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

If it is arts you are after, then the Australia Council for the Arts is the place to go!  Search under “Grants”. You will find everything from music to dance to literature.

Other private foundations worth considering include:

The Amanda Young Foundation. This was created in memory of a young woman who tragically died as a result of meningococcol disease. The organisation exists not only to raise awareness of the disease but also to encourage young leaders in Western Australia. They have a Leaders Award and a fellowship coming soon.

The Future Leaders Awards recognise and reward young Australians who have shown strong leadership and potential. The awards also aim to inspire others to engage in environmental and community issues and make a difference. Here I found awards in areas ranging from jazz to writing to climate action.

The Audrey Fagan Enrichment Grant program is offering girls in the ACT grants of up to $2,000 to pursue study in a field of interest.

Finally, should you decide to pursue any of these opportunities, the following site has a few good basic tips for writing successful grant applications: Tips for Writing Grants. If the writing process really intimidates you, the excellent site Our Community has a list of experienced writers who can be paid to complete grant applications on your behalf.

Do you know of any other funding opportunities young women can access? If so, please share these!

Supporting girls with self esteem and positive body image – what works best?

A number of innovative schools and gifted, intuitive psychologists have crossed my path of late – all seeking out ways in which they can best assist the girls they care for to develop a positive body image and respond intelligently to our toxic “girl hating” culture.  

Firstly, I have thoroughly enjoyed Professor Martha Straus’ seminal work “Adolescent Girls In Crisis – Intervention and Hope” ( 2007, published by Norton). Here is a small taste: my abridged version of her stunning “Ten Tips For Working With Girls”:

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1. Make and keep promises.

2. Admit your mistakes and apologize.

3. Hold hope – be a holder of hope for the future.

4. Trust the process – beware that our desire to be transformative in some way does not come across as criticism or disrespect (don’t be just another adult who knows best).

5. Identify choices, ask for choices, take joy in choices – frame in choices eg: is this what you want?

6. When they’re at a loss for words, guess and guess again – many teen girls remain concrete in their reasoning and have a limited vocabulary for expressing their feelings so we must frame for them eg; I feel really angry about this – do you?

7. Base expectations on developmental age, not chronological age – they may have adult sized problems and only child like strategies to fall back on, they may be overwhelmed by expectations they consistently can’t meet.

8. Build Teams. Find connections for them – other adults they can turn to, peers etc

9. Empathy, empathy, empathy.

10. Don’t underestimate your role in their life – adolescent girls want to be seen, heard and felt.

I particularly LOVE this quote:

“On my best days, I help adolescent girls find their ‘selves’ in the midst of a cacophony of other competing voices – parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, celebrities, and the loud insistence of popular culture. I know that clear speaking in therapy serves as a model for speaking truth everywhere. Seeing, hearing and feeling my best voice also strengthens me, and the connection between myself and the girls I work with.”

Oh yes! This is exactly how I feel after working with girls in our workshops.

In March Sonia Lyne (Enlighten Education’s Program Director, Victoria) and I travelled to Perth to work with all the girls (Year 7 -12) from St Brigid’s Lesmurdie. The school were keen to establish a whole school approach and incorporated an event for parents, as well as a link with the wider community via the launch of Women’s Forum Australia’s BRILLIANT publication Faking It. (EVERY school should have at least one copy of this groundbreaking yet highly accessible research as a teacher resource!).

PDF copy of the full week’s program – “Celebrate, Challenge and Change at St Brigid’s”: ee_stbrigid_a4broch_hr.pdf

The results were fabulous – so many girls were informed, inspired, understood and (re)connected. One of my personal highlights was the Movie Night. I was touched that almost a hundered girls arrived (in their PJ’s) to watch a film with Sonia and I, eat popcorn, and generally be silly.  A simple night. All about celebration.

Their school Principal, Ms Amelia Toffoli, was there amongst it all…how brilliant! In fact, many of the teachers were very actively involved. All embraced wearing our  hot pink “Princess Power” bands ( aimed to reinforce the messages each of our workshop explores). Even the Head of Senior School, Mr Jim Miller, wore a hot pink band too. Teenagers yearn to connect emotionally and feel like they belong not only to a family, or to a friendship group, but to a wider school community. 

I arrived back home absolutely exhilarated. 

Equally as exciting was the invitation to work with the Years 5 and 6 girls at St John Vianney’s Woolongong.

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Enlighten has never worked with such young girls before, however, their school executive insisted that they wanted to be proactive and support their girls before the real crises of adolescences overwhelmed them. I found the girls  so incredibly enthusiastic and simply delicious! The local press did an excellent article on the event which really highlights why special initiatives are so valuable – open this if for no reason than wanting to see these gorgeous girls’ smiling faces! May I say it again – THEY ARE YUMMY!

Illawarra Mercury – 1/4/08 : iq-story-on-body-image.pdf

I cannot let the opportunity pass to share the feedback Fran Simpson, the school’s Religious Education Coordinator, provided us with:

“Dannielle performs magic! She is a fairy godmother to all those sleeping beauties sitting in classrooms and in playgrounds. She takes the girls on an inner journey of self discovery in a very short time…it is one very magical day filled with sparkle and glitter. Dannielle’s gentle and loving touch coupled with her insights and expertise allowed each girl to soar to new heights. I love what Enlighten Education did for the girls. It’s amazing. The Enlighten program fits all girls needs perfectly. Enlighten Education is the most valuable educational workshop I have EVER used.”

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I love this work! I love being a Fairy Godmother!

Finally, kudos to the Victorian Government who are offering secondary schools positive body image grants of up to $5,000 to support them in undertaking and promoting activities with young people.   

The Grant guidelines not only provide an insight into what the funders are looking for in terms of accountability and sustainability, but to the types of initiatives that generally work best within the school context:

programguidelines_positivebodyimagegrants08.pdf

Applications for this close on April 18th. 

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