On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls around the world face. This day focuses attention on the need to address the challenges adolescent girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. They have the right to a safe environment, education, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into womanhood. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world—both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads and political leaders.
For more information on this observance, please visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/girl-child-day and https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child
What Can We Do?
Although this resolution was declared in the year 2011, life for many girls around the world is less than ideal. They have to face stereotypes, exclusion, marginalization and injustice on a daily basis. Even in the United States there are girls who deal with these struggles. They need nurturing and encouragement as girls so that they will become strong, capable, intelligent women. Our responsibility is to do everything within our power for the girls in our corps and community to enable them to have a bright future.
- Share the information above regarding the International Day of the Girl.
- What were your favorite games as a girl?
- Did you have an adult who was a mentor or great influence on you?
- What characteristics made her an inspiration to you?
- Discuss the service projects and how the women could be involved.
- Mentor – long term
- Mentor – day of the event
- Goody bags
- Following the event send notes of encouragement
While the International Day of the Girl is celebrated in October, the Service Project could be scheduled for a later date. Remember, it can take time to plan and prepare for a successful event.
Girls Event at Corps
Idea #1. An introductory day event leading to a longer commitment by pairing the girls with a mentor.
- Pick a date and time to host the event, keeping in mind school schedules. An evening or Saturday may be best.
- Decide how many girls the group is able to host. The girls could be those already attending corps programs or children of social service clients. The number could be based in part on the adult mentors willing to be a part of this project.
- Contact potential mentors explaining what will be involved and securing their commitment to the project.
- Mail fun invitations to the girls outlining briefly what is planned for this special day.
- Decide what type of goody bag might be given to the girls. Ask the women’s ministries group to provide the various items.
- Two weeks prior to the event, decide what snacks to serve and who will provide/co-ordinate them.
- Contact influential women in the community like the city mayor, elected leaders, school principals, business owners, fire chiefs, police commanders, women CEOs. Ask them to share their empowering life stories.
This will need almost the same planning as idea #1. However, this is a one-day event, and the girls will not be linked up with mentors who have committed to on-going involvement in the girls’ lives.
- Decide what group of girls you will invite and what the focus of the day.
- Decide what type of event you will hold: spa day, tea party, PJ party. Check Pinterest for ideas.
- During the event, pair the girls up with women for discussion and prayer. Some conversation ideas are:
- Basic personal information: ages, birthdays, family, siblings.
- What do you do for fun?
- What do you want to do when you grow up?
- What would you like for us to pray together about?
Words Have So Much Power
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (Prov. 31:26). “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners” (Eph. 4:29).
I still remember people who were kind to me as a child. I also remember clearly those who were not so kind. I recall words that were so hurtful. I am aware as an adult that hurting people often hurt others. However, as Christians we are told to “let no unwholesome word proceed out of our mouth” but rather we are to encourage each other. It is particularly difficult to hear an adult say mean things to a child. Statements like: “You’re no good, you’re lazy… fat… an idiot… a failure.”
In the movie “The Help,” the mother of a toddler doesn’t seem capable of saying anything encouraging to her daughter. She seems able only to yell and punish her. The housemaid, Aibileen, played by Viola Davis, comforts the toddler with these words: “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.” Aibileen was hurt and mistreated as a child, not for just being a girl, but also because of her race. Despite her painful experience, she is able to bring encouragement to this young child.
There are many girls who long to hear kind words, especially when Satan and a mean world abuses them. We have all seen instances when girls and women were made to believe that they had little value because of their gender, physical appearance, or financial status. Girls experience many difficult situations in our country and throughout the world. Anything that we as women can do to encourage and uplift them is crucial and important for their formation and growth.
The saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is patently false. We all know that words do hurt. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Eph. 4:29 NLT).
My challenge for you today is:
- Reflect on the words that you use daily. Do they build others up?
- What changes do you need to make in the way you talk?
- As you connect with others this month, find something wholesome to say to help build them up.
Proverbs 31 reminds us that a woman who honors God “speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Let’s make this our goal always.