Program grads return to help Nelson Co. elementary's "Girls Rock!" self-image initiative; goal is prevent bullying, to help transition to middle school

Kentucky Standard, Bardstown, June 19, 2016

Girls Rock!
Bloomfield Elementary School program aimed at improving self-image

Middle school can be a challenging place for students entering young adulthood. Girls Rock, a two-day summer session at Bloomfield Elementary School, is designed to help young girls prepare for the challenges of growingup through activities meant to improve self-image.

“We focus on self-esteem,” said Family Resource and Youth Services Director Stephanie Harrison.

The program is targeted at girls in third through fifth grade, she said, because it’s around that age that bullying and self-doubt really begin to be manifested.

“We talk about partnerships, cooperation, liking yourself, and appreciating your individuality,” Harrison said. Those messages were communicated during the session last week through activities such as self-portraits, and games aimed at getting students to express what they like about themselves and others. While many of the students participating this year were from BES, a few returning and older students offered new insight.

Mackenzie Lamar and Emily Wright will be entering their freshman year of high school come fall. Having been members of SISTER Empowerment, a Bloomfield Middle School group with a similar goal of Girls Rock, they were able to serve as role models for some of the younger students.

“SISTER Empowerment has helped me through the years because I feel like I have a group to go to,” Lamar said. “It feels good to go somewhere and feel welcomed.”

Wright said the middle school group gave her a place of expression.

“I feel like I could just talk, and I could just tell them anything and trust them,” she said.

Because the two enjoy helping others, they agreed to come back for Girls Rock to work with the younger girls and also garner interest in the SISTER group.

Another returning student was Emily Simpson, who had participated in both the Girls Rock program and SISTER. In the fall, she will be a seventh grader, and she said Girls Rock prepared her.

“Girls Rock is great, because a lot of kids can kind of see what’s coming from the middle school,” she said. “Part of what we talked about a lot is how middle school is different from elementary school.”

Her experiences with Girls Rock helped her more easily deal with challenges that middle schoolers often face.

Another positive was already being familiar with Lamar and Wright, so she had that connection when she got to BMS.

“If you can keep good friends and find good friends, you can get through a lot of it.”

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