Girls at Proviso East High School have been learning a little more about themselves this school year, thanks to Girl Talk.
Girl Talk was formed in 2009 as a way for girls to come together and learn, said Mrs. Risa Caudle, a Proviso East special education chemistry teacher who started the group. From May 13 to 17 during the lunch periods, the club held a week-long series of activities based on themes such as "Phenomenal Woman (Appreciation Day)" and "Pretty and Pink – What Do Guys Really Think?" During these days, which included a "Girls Just Want to Have Fun Luau," the girls held panel discussions on various topics including the do’s and don’ts of fashion. They also performed in a poetry slam, and played games.
"I started this organization called Girl Talk where they can come in and talk to me and I can talk to them," Mrs. Caudle said. "I can bridge that communication gap. My goal is always to increase motivation and to increase their self-esteem through programming."
Mrs. Caudle said that the focus changes from year to year. Last year, they focused on serving the community, which continued this year with a community service project of collecting 320 cans of food over three days for Joshua’s Ministry. The group is still collecting items such as money, formal wear, business attire, beauty aids, toiletries, and T-shirts for the club’s use and to contribute to other community service organizations. For more information, contact Mrs. Caudle at firstname.lastname@example.org
However, this year was more of a focus on self-improvement. She said that many girls in high school can be construed as loud and aggressive, so club meetings and activities have focused on some of those issues.
"This year, we worked on how to not be aggressive, how not to be angry, how to communicate, how to dress appropriately, how to find the right guy," Mrs. Caudle said.
On May 15, it was a relaxed atmosphere inside the social room at Proviso East, as girls munched on hot dogs and chips and chatted amongst themselves.
Martyina Graham, 17 and a Proviso East junior, said that Girl Talk has been a good club for her and other girls.
"It gives us guidance and it helps us with everyday problems," she said. "Young women today need the help and they get it at Girl Talk."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that Girl Talk is an organization that has and can benefit girls at Proviso East.
"In today’s world, young women receive mixed messages on how they are supposed to act and how to handle various issues that they encounter," she said. "Organizations such as Girl Talk are able to help them and teach them to not only help themselves, but also help others in their school and their community. I am very proud of the work that Mrs. Caudle is doing through this club."
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, agreed, saying that Girl Talk has been good for the school.
"I have noticed a change in the girls as they have grown more sure of themselves through being a part of Girl Talk," he said. "I hope that Girl Talk can continue its work with the girls of this school."