It has been a year since I began updating you about the diversity of programs at PAL, and I have enjoyed the opportunity. Today, I would like to tell you about an exciting and empowering program - PAL Girl Talk.
Offered in seven after-school centers, PAL launched Girl Talk with the aim of giving middle-school girls a safe space to share and learn together. As young women of color, many from difficult family circumstances, participants learn to navigate socio-emotional issues such as body image, self-esteem, relationships, as well as anxieties about their future. We also expose these young women to career readiness activities, leadership skills and civic engagement opportunities. Girl Talk helps young women negotiate the odd time of life when one is no longer a child but not quite an adult yet.
Girl Talk’s success is enhanced by the involvement of female professionals – Women of Inspiration – who serve as guest speakers, sharing their life experiences and engaging in community service with our young women. Women of Inspiration commit their time to facilitate workshops, and many continue to mentor our young women and form strong bonds. To sign up as a Woman of Inspiration, please visit our Volunteer page.
Our Women of Inspiration come from diverse backgrounds. We have attorneys, financiers, publicists and even yoga teachers. For the women, Girl Talk is where they can give back to the community and share their hard-won wisdom on being a woman in a modern workplace. They offer insights on balancing family and work, offer their stories of grit and perseverance while emerging from similar backgrounds and hardships that our PAL participants relate to. Our PAL young women feel empowered to overcome their present struggles, motivated by our Women of Inspiration.
PAL Girl Talk is presently supported by AIG, Girl Talk’s founding corporate partner. Founded in 1919, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. A main feature of AIG’s support is the annual Girl Talk retreat – a culminating event for the nine-month mentoring program for the 75 participants.
At the Girl Talk retreat, which takes place away from the city, our girls share what they have learned during the school year, commit themselves to building a positive self-image and thank the mentors who nurtured them.
Girl Talk alums have come back to intern at PAL and mentor current Girl Talk participants – which speaks volumes on the impact of this program.
We thank you and our friends at AIG for supporting a vibrant program like PAL Girl Talk.
Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL