By Mary McManus, AmeriCorps Member Serving at McDonough Elementary School. 

At the beginning of every Girl Code club meeting, our girls sing our club song. “I’m a girl, I’m strong, I’m ready for what comes along, I’ve got good friends, who stick with me until the end, I like myself, I’m worth a lot, and you can’t tell me that I’m not because you can’t see inside of me.” My teammate and I started a Girls Empowerment club through our afterschool program. We did our best to cultivate a safe and empowering environment for girls in 3rd through 5th grade. We met once a week each week to talk about different aspects of our lives from things like social media to self-love.

Each week we started off our club with the song above, and we also did our best to highlight powerful women in our lives and in history. We learned about Maya Angelou, Jane Goodall, and Michelle Obama! In one lesson, which I felt was one of the more powerful lessons, we wrote letters to women in our lives that we saw as powerful and whom we looked up to. Then we challenged the girls to write letters to their future selves, letters of self-love and seeing the best in themselves. The girls wrote these letters months ago and we’re planning on returning them towards the end of the year.

            City Year has given me the unique opportunity to work with young boys and girls every day. It is an honor and a privilege. But something else happened that I was not prepared for. These girls would run up to me at the beginning of every Wednesday, the day of Girl Code, telling me how excited they were for the club. They would talk to me so freely and look at me like I put the stars in the sky. I assure you, I did not; but these girls looked up to me as their role model, and it was through their eyes that helped me realize how powerful I truly am. I’m a girl, I’m strong, and I’m ready for what comes along.


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