CMS launches mentoring program for teen girls

By COE ROBBINS/For the Reporter

CHELSEA – Once a week, Chelsea Middle School girls gather in a classroom not to present science projects or solve math problems, but to talk about everyday struggles they face as young teenagers.

They aren’t, however, talking to their parents, teachers or other adults about their difficulties. They are talking with high school teenagers through an organization called Girl Talk.

The first Girl Talk meeting was held on Sept. 2 and according to organizer Amanda Graves, the girls were very receptive of one another.

“The middle school girls really enjoyed talking with the older girls that have gone through things similar to them,” Graves said. “They seemed to really respond well with one another.”

Girl Talk is a non-profit organization that uses peer-to-peer mentoring where high school teenagers can develop leadership skills while at the same time helping middle school teenagers cope with their own battles.

As a mother of three daughters, Graves has seen for herself the struggles young teens face in today’s age.

“My oldest is in the ninth grade so I know where they’re coming from,” Graves said. “Nowadays, it’s all about texting and Facebook. All interactions have seemed to stop once they actually meet with each other face-to-face.”

Graves said the Girl Talk curriculum is numerous and covers a wide variety of topics such as body image to bullying that will last through the school year. Graves also mentioned that the Chelsea chapter is only the third Girl Talk chapter in Alabama.

“We’ve had the middle school put up flyers all over the building to bring awareness as well as include the meetings in the morning announcements,” Graves said. “We’re hoping to get more girls to come once the school year gets into full gear.”

Despite the numbers of who all attends, Graves said she hopes to affect some young teenager in a positive way with these meetings

“If we can just touch the hearts of one or two girls to be more tolerable of each other and their differences, that would be great,” Graves said. “We want them to learn it’s OK to be around somebody that’s not like you.”