Making Democracy Work

Working Group on Girls: Annual Girls Day Out

Favorite Day of My Life

On November 13th, 149 seventh-grade girls got on buses to go to the Glen Sanders for the Fifth Annual Girls' Day Out with the theme 'Change Begins with Me: I'll Be the Change.'

Dr. Nichelle Rivers gave an impassioned keynote address, complete with song, about staying in school and not being seduced by peers and media messages to give up.

Morning workshops focusing on developing relationship skills included 'Lose the 'Tude' introducing girls to strategies to help themselves in times of stress with meditation, mindfulness and yoga. Feedback from the girls was very positive: "This workshop helped me relax & use the movements when I feel stressed or unhappy;" "Thanks for helping with the anger;" "Taught me a lot about keeping calm. Thank you for your time and effort."

The workshop `Surviving Seventh Grade and Beyond' had a panel of girls from the 8th grade into high school who shared their lives as works in process and generated discussion around bullying, fighting, and recognizing their true value. According to one girl, it was "amazing to hear from other people. I thought I was the only one." Another said, "I think this was very helpful. I'm the shy quiet bullied one- you helped a lot."

The `Can We Talk? Parents Just Don't Understand Me' workshop used role-playing to help girls understand their parents, learn how to talk with them and others, and how to make choices.

The afternoon arts expression workshops were lively and full of positive energy. All in all, it was a wonderful, very successful day. As one girl noted, "It was my favorite day of my life!"

Many thanks to the League members who helped with Girls' Day Out, and to our sponsors: The Schenectady Foundation (our primary sponsor), The Henry M. Butzel Family Foundation, Stewart's Shops, Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson, Schenectady Federation of Teachers, Alice Rubenfeld, Catherine Bertini, New York State United Teachers, LWV NYS Education Foundation, Golub Foundation/Price Chopper, Angelo Mazzone and Kulak's Nursery and Landscaping.

Joanne Tobiessen, Chair


An invitation from the Schenectady County Working Group on Girls

  • Do you care about young girls today and want to contribute to the positive growth of girls here in Schenectady?

  • Do you enjoy middle school girls? Are you a good listener, open-minded, flexible, and able to be a team player with a co-leader?

  • Would you like to support our young girls in discovering their own voice, talents and strengths?

  • If you are interested in helping enhance our girls' self-confidence, consider being a `Muse.'

For the past four years, women from the community have volunteered to participate in 8-10 hours of training in the fall (Oct./Nov.) and then co-lead a group of 6-10 girls in the girls' middle school during lunch or after-school sessions. This would be weekly + not school vacations -- from December into April. Curriculum and materials are provided.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Muse, email Joanne Tobiessen at with `Muse' in the subject line.

The Schenectady County Working Group on Girls is Honored

Schenectady County Working Group on Girls Honored by Schenectady Foundation

The Working Group on Girls is busy working through the summer to prepare for our Fifth Annual Girls' Day Out/Girls' Circle program for middle school and high school girls. Later this summer we will be seeking volunteers to be Muses to conduct Girls' Circles in the coming year. Watch for further information.

Our efforts have been honored by The Schenectady Foundation which has awarded us a two-year grant with probable future funding stating:

"The Schenectady Foundation sees the Working Group on Girls as a critical investment for girls in our community who come from extremely challenging backgrounds. It gives them hope, self-confidence and support to see that they can, in fact, have a dream + and with determination, fulfill it. We are leveraging the wellspring of passion and skill of trained, committed women volunteers who mentor and guide the girls through a very difficult time in their lives. Relationships are developed with the potential to have life-long impact. The Schenectady Foundation is matching other contributions to Working Group on Girls because we believe it to be a vital component of what these girls need as a resource to have a shot at success in school, and beyond."

Joanne Tobiessen, Chair