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Among those attending were 18 members of the three local Soroptimist clubs and program facilitators and staff from Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services.
Girls Circle is a nationwide model of structured support groups for girls ages 9 to 18 designed to foster self-esteem, help them maintain authentic connections with peers and adult women in their community, counter trends toward self-doubt and allow for self-expression through verbal sharing and creative activity, according to a prepared statement.
It was created by the One Circle Foundation, based in San Rafael, Calif.
The girls received gift bags and earlier that day were treated to a spa day at a local hair school.
During the program, each girl got up and read a short report about women who have become role models for other women.
‘Comfort and support’
They also shared their thoughts about Girls Circle.
A 13-year-old wrote: “Girls Circle means a place of comfort and support.
“All the girls are nice and respectful to me and others. I like coming here because it’s fun and amusing. I’m really glad we have Girls Circle.”
Another 16-year-old wrote: “Girls Circle is a safe place for me to vent and express myself.
“I can talk about anything I need and not worry about being judged or looked at in a different way.”
Another 16 year-old wrote: “Girls Circle means to get support from other girls, talk about feelings, help with triggers for being out of control, understand each other, have happy positive thoughts and fun sober activities to do.”
Three Clallam Soroptimist clubs (Jet Set, Sequim and noon club) approached Juvenile and Family Services Director Pete Peterson two years ago to explore the possibilities of incorporating this program into services and support for at-risk girls and those in treatment programs.
To date, 20 girls ages 13-17 have completed the 12-week training sessions.
Expenses have been met with the help of a $1,500 grant from Soroptimist International of the Americas, matching contributions from each of the three clubs, plus staff and training provided from Juvenile Services.
Five Clallam County Juvenile Services staff have completed the two-day Girls Circle Facilitator training.
Soroptimists paid for registration for three of the five staff members and provided weekly snacks for the classes, a graduation celebration for the first two classes and gifts for each girl.
Boys and men class
Response to the program has prompted the development of a Council for Boys and Young Men class, another One Circle Foundation program that is being facilitated by Juvenile and Family Services staff. It started this spring.
The Girls Circle training and Soroptimist partnership is being folded into a pilot program with True Star Behavioral Health, a state-certified chemical dependency program and division of Juvenile and Family Services.
The program recently received a grant for $250,000 a year for three years to develop a program that encourages the use of community resources and family participation in treatment for youths and families in crisis.
For more information, phone Juvenile and Family Services Behavioral Health Manager Patty Bell at 360-565-2631.