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about SV, SV girl action teams

SV Team Projects (2007-08)

Girls For A Change empowers young women to create change in their own communities with the guidance of adult women. About 5-10 girls and two women “coaches” meet from September through May as a Girl Action Team. Teams meet twice a month to decide how they will make a lasting change in their neighborhood, city or school. Below are projects girls throughout the Bay Area created and implemented in the 2007-08 program year.

Team 1, Dartmouth, West San Jose: The Green Message
Team 1 is working to ensure that all students of Dartmouth Middle School are educated on environmental issues and practices. The team worked with the school to gain permission to broadcast a bi-weekly Green Message next year. This message will highlight research, studies and articles to educate their peers about how to live a greener life. They want peers at their school to know that being a part of the solution to environmental issues is important. Team 1 intends to get this message across by beginning to implement their educational campaign during afternoon announcements.

Team 2, Herbert Hoover Middle School, Central San Jose: Creating a Hate-Free Zone: A Campaign to Stop People Hating for No Reason
The girls on Team 2 are tired of the way some of their peers treat each other. They decided to create a campaign to stop the hate.  The girls want people to think twice before being disrespectful to each other. They designed a poster campaign at their school and placed informative posters in their library, hallways and cafeteria.  The girls hope that these posters will inspire people to stop and think before they act in ways that might be hurtful to others.  Team 2 also feels the posters will give students courage to stand up for themselves as well as break the cycle of hate.

Team 3, Pala Middle School, East San Jose: Teen Pregnancy
Team 3 feels that teen pregnancy is a big issue facing their community. They have partnered with Planned Parenthood and invited a mother who is a teenager to collaborate with them on the project. The team also made an informational video addressing the facts and statistics about teen pregnancy. Finally, the team created informational flyers and handed them out to teens in their community in order to prevent and reduce teen pregnancy in the future.

Team 4, Independence High School, East San Jose: Self-Esteem
Team 4 believes that how we feel about ourselves can play a huge part in the decisions that we make. And the girls of this team feel that physical exercise and movement can help increase girls’ self-esteem so that girls are making better decisions. The team made a video focused on healthy living choices like nutrition and exercise. The girls believe that by encouraging girls to have a healthier diet and make better exercise choices, girls will also make healthier choices in other parts of their lives.

Team 5, Sheppard Middle School, East San Jose: Do YOU Love Your Dog?
Team 5 has been researching the IAMS pet food company boycott. The company has been accused of mistreatment in the testing it does on dogs and cats for the food it produces. Team 5 wants to stand up for better conditions for the animals. The girls created flyers to educate people about the way IAMS treats dogs. The flyers also encourage people to join a boycott of IAMS pet food until the company changes its ways and to write letters to IAMS to end animal testing.  Fliers were distributed by at local shopping center to shoppers passing by. The girls believe that their team efforts will lead to a more humane life for dogs.

Team 6, Los Altos High School, Los Altos: SOS @ Los Altos High School
Stress can have many detrimental effects on young people and the girls of Team 6 want to help their stressed out peers. They plan on partnering with Denise Pope and her Stressed Out Schools project to create some changes within their student culture. They feel this issue has become out of control at their school and this will give them an opportunity to talk it out and create a more peaceful and relaxed student body.

Team 7, Graham Middle School, Mountain View: Global Warming
Team 7 wants to make sure everyone knows that global warming is an issue that affects all of us. The girls developed a plan to educate their school and community on ways they can help fight climate change. The team fully researched the issue and then wrote an article for their school newspaper, Bear Tracks. They feel that by spreading the word they will encourage people to make better environmental choices.

Team 8, August Boeger Middle School, East San Jose: Cancer Awareness
The girls on Team 8 are committed to increasing awareness of cancer in their community. They created a goal to educate their school about cancer, prevention methods and the impact of cancer in our community and world.  Through this educational awareness initiative they hope to encourage young people to live healthier lives and gain a deeper understanding of the issue.  By partnering with Breast Cancer Action, the girls were able to facilitate presentations to the students at their school about cancer.
Team 9, Fremont High School, Sunnyvale: Educating the Community and the Homeless
Team 9 has noticed that their community needs a better understanding of the homeless population in order for them to mobilize around the issue. The girls hosted a community awareness event to educate the public about the issue. The event took place at their school in mid-May and included a girl-led presentation and a screening of the movie “In the Pursuit of Happyness.”  The team also created supply kits with information on how to access resources and support for individuals who are currently without shelter. 

Team 10, San Jose High Academy, Central San Jose: Immigration Education
The girls of Team 10 are committed to equal access to higher education for immigrant students. They feel that there is a lack of resources for immigrant families regarding access to higher education and that those families are unaware of the rights and resources available to their children. They partnered with a community agency to present a workshop geared toward high school juniors and seniors and their families in order to inform them of the resources available.  They believe that by raising awareness of these issues more immigrant students will access higher education after leaving high school.

Team 11, Leadership Public Schools-Hayward: Taking Back Our Innocence
Team 11 is concerned about the number of teen pregnancies in its community and has taken action! The girls have created a MySpace page that features valuable information for girls about how to avoid teen pregnancy. The team visited Planned Parenthood to collect pamphlets on teenage health to incorporate into their page. They also made t-shirts to wear at their school on Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day on May 7th. Team 11 feels that through these combined awareness and education efforts, girls in their communities will be less likely to become pregnant at an early age.

Team 12, East Palo Alto Charter Middle School, East Palo Alto:  Stop Sexual Harassment
The girls of Team 12 are taking a stand again against sexual harassment in their community. They have produced a video that depicts several characters experiencing sexual harassment. They believe that by showing what people go through when they are sexual harassed, it will challenge people to rethink how they treat each other. The team also received Yahoo!’s “Purple Act of Kindness” award and were given video and editing equipment to complete their project. The team took a field trip to Yahoo! where a team of professionals taught them video production techniques. The final video will be shown at various schools around EPA and may be featured on Yahoo for Good’s website.

Team 13, Overfelt High School, East San Jose: Trash Stinks
Team 13 feels that the physical condition of their neighborhood can impact how people think about themselves as members of that community.  Too much trash and debris leads to negative thoughts and lack of respect for the community. The team organized a neighborhood clean-up and created a MySpace page to raise awareness and create action around this. They hope that by getting the community involved they have changed how people take care of their neighborhood and how they view their role in the community.

Team 14, Leadership Public School San Jose, East San Jose: Gay and Straight Alliance
Team 14 has witnessed the discrimination and bullying of students who are gay in their community. They are committed to ensuring that their school is a safe place for all students. The girls have created their school’s first Gay and Straight Alliance, a student run club that empowers youth to stop homophobia and transphobia in schools.  The team feels that there is a need to create a safe place for students to be themselves as well as develop a place to begin to teach understanding and openness.  Team 14 wants to challenge the way their peers think about each other and build a more inclusive student body.

Team 16, KIPP Bay Academy, San Francisco: What You Think About Child Abuse
The girls of Team 16 want to bring attention to an issue that they feel is not being openly discussed; Child Abuse. They plan on creating a video to show at their schools Family Night which will illustrate facts, statistics and the effects of Child Abuse. The team educated their community to prevent future abuse from happening, and provided people with the resources necessary to get help and support.  The girls also posted their video on YouTube after their screening to continue raising awareness of this issue.

Team 17, KIPP San Jose Heartwood Academy I, East San Jose- Teen Pregnancy: What You Should Know
Peer pressure is a very powerful thing, and the girls of Team 17 feel that it is a major cause of teen pregnancy. The team created an educational campaign aimed at educating their community on how peer pressure influences teen pregnancy. The girls want their peers to think before acting and learn how to make more positive choices. They feel that by educating their peers they can create a culture where it is ok to make your own decision.

Team 18, St Elizabeth Seton Middle School, East Palo Alto: True Stories from California Immigrants
The Bay Area has a rich and diverse immigrant population. The girls of Team 18 feel that this population is often subjected to discrimination because people don’t understand the experience of these individuals. They decided to record and capture the real stories of those who have immigrated to this country and create a way to share their stories. The girls feel that by sharing immigrant’s stories through video, their community will gain a deeper understanding of each other and will begin to build a more inclusive environment.
Team 19, Pioneer Plus High School, West San Jose: Stop Gang Violence
Team 19 feels that young people in 5th-8th grades are at a vulnerable age where they can be persuaded to join gangs. They decided to create an action project to deter youth in this age group from joining a gang.  The team created and conducted a survey for the young people in their community so the team could fully understand the scope of the gang problem. They have used the results of their survey in a letter writing campaign to elected officials and community leaders. The girls have also used the information collected to present a workshop about other options besides joining a gang.

Team 21, San Francisco 49ers Academy, East Palo Alto:  Think Twice!
Thinking about getting pregnant early? The girls of Team 21 say “Think Twice!” Team 21 has put together a magazine that features teen mothers’ experiences with teen pregnancy. The girls also participated in the “Baby Think it Over” program, which involved taking fake babies home that cry when they need to be cared for. They also included their own experiences in this magazine along with pictures and writings that encourage other girls to “Think Twice!”

Team 23, Sobrato Family Living Center, Santa Clara: Anti-Jealousy March
The girls of Team 23 are tired of seeing jealousy amongst their peers. They feel that many terrible social problems are created because of jealousy and have decided to try to change the way people think about and react to each other. They made t-shirts and signs and in mid-May did an Anti-Jealousy March in their community that included a stop in a local park and shopping center. The girls hope that their march encouraged people will begin to think more about the negative effects of jealous behavior.

Team 24, Rancho Milpitas Middle School, Milpitas: Stop the Bullies
Team 24 is sick of the bullying at their school. They want their peers to gain a deeper understanding of how bullying affects students who are picked on at their school. They started a campaign inviting students to write in about their personal experiences either as being someone who bullies or someone who has been bullied. They compiled the submissions into a booklet and distributed them to the students and faculty at their school.  They hope that by sharing stories they have begun a conversation about how to prevent and end the bullying at their school.

Team 25, East Palo Alto College Track, East Palo Alto: Improve Recycling at College Track
The girls of Team 25 are concerned about the lack of recycling in their community. They have decided to improve the recycling system at College Track and publicize their actions within the community to get others to do the same. Team 25 put decorated bins and signs around College Track to encourage people to recycle and created a presentation about their work to give at East Palo Alto’s Town Hall Meeting in May.

Team 26, Edison McNair Academy, East Palo Alto: Why People Bully and What You Can Do About It
The girls of Team 26 have recognized that bullying is taking place at their school because students are jealous, trying to entertain their peers, are bored or have low self-esteem.  They felt that by creating an assembly for 5th graders they would bring awareness to this issue and provide support and resources for students at their school.  At the assembly, they addressed what to do if you’re being bullied or if you witness someone bullying. They feel that by holding this event they have raised awareness and will begin to see a decrease in bullying.

Team 27, Sierrramont Middle School, San Jose: Great American Bake Sale
The girls of Team 27 are tired of child hunger in their nation. To raise awareness and educate their community, the girls of Team 27 organized a bake sale through The Great American Bake Sale, which they held at a public event at San Jose State University. By doing this, they educated people about the issue of hunger and were also able to raise money for local food agencies. Each item for sale included facts about hunger and ways for people to get involved.

Team 28, Cunha Middle School, Half Moon Bay- Cycles of Abuse
Team 28 wants their community to gain a deeper understanding of abuse issues. The girls created a play and partnered with their school drama teacher to perform at the school activity festival. The girls are looking to highlight self abuse, verbal abuse, and physical abuse. They feel that by bringing attention to these issues their peers will feel more comfortable to discuss these issues.  During the festival they also hosted a booth with materials and resources for all participants. 

Team 29, KIPP San Jose Heartwood Academy II, East San Jose: Stop in the Name of Sexual Harassment
The girls of Team 29 are tired of seeing sexual harassment in their communities. They believe that sexual harassment can be reduced by educating people in their community of the detrimental effects of sexual harassment. By performing a play and creating a slide show they illustrated to their peers and community members that the issue affects everyone. They hope that by doing this, they are one step closer to eliminating sexual harassment in their community. 

Team 30, Gunderson High School, South San Jose: Earth Day Awareness Event
The girls of Team 30 want to ensure that their student body has the knowledge to make good environmental choices and that those students know they can impact environmental issues. The girls hosted an interactive Earth Day Awareness Fair for Gunderson High School.  By using music, displays and sample products they ensured that their peers now have the knowledge and tools to lead a more environmentally-friendly life.

Team 31, Mission San Jose High School, Fremont: Be You; Be Beautiful
The girls of Team 31 say they are tired of the way women are portrayed in the media, because it leads to unrealistic expectations about beauty and self-esteem. They created a 30-second public service announcement that will be distributed on YouTube, MySpace and Cable TV in Fremont. The short message shares Team 31’s own vision of how women should be portrayed in the media. They hope to disseminate a message to thousands of people about “real” beauty and how to define and accept it.

Team 32, East Palo Alto Boys and Girls Club, East Palo Alto: Teen Pregnancy Education Initiative
The girls of team 32 have realized that Teen Pregnancy has become a large issue in their community. They also have seen that other Girl Action teams in their community are working on this issue as well. The team decided to create an event to bring together other Girl Action Teams to provide a platform for them to highlight their work. The girls feel that this will enable the teams to have their work spread even farther and raise more awareness about this pressing issue.

Team 34, Burnett Academy, Central San Jose: Healthy Relationships
The girls of Team 34 want to ensure that their peers are well educated about where they can find resources if they find themselves in an unhealthy relationship. They believe that middle school can be a difficult time for girls and the pressure to be in relationships can often lead girls making poor decisions about partners. The team partnered with the Bill Wilson Center in San Jose to create resource packets for 8th grade girls to ensure that everyone knows how and when to get help.

Team 35, LPS Campbell High, West San Jose: RESPECT
Team 35 wants to ensure that the women in their community understand these following components, R-rise up, E-encourage, S-speak, P-pride, E-empower, C-connect and T-together (RESPECT). The team held community discussions to inform the neighborhood on the issue of violence against women. The girls brought men and women together to talk about violence and how to stop the cycle.   

Team 36, Ocala Middle School, East San Jose: Negative Body Image
Team 36 has witnessed and felt the effects of how women are portrayed within the media.  The team interviewed young women at Santana Row, a San Jose shopping center, about how they feel about their bodies and how the media has influenced their perceptions. The girls used these interviews in order to produce a video to create awareness about the media’s effect on women’s body image.  The team sent a final edited video with interviews and facts about women’s body image and the media to various media outlets so they can change the message that is being sent to young girls. Team 36 also handed out information to their video participants about the false expectations of beauty that is currently delivered in the media.

Team 38, Hillsdale High School, San Mateo: Stop Underage Drinking
The girls on Team 38 believe that underage drinking is prevalent in high schools. They want to create an environment where students can feel safe and comfortable saying “No” to drinking.  The team created a video to post on YouTube that highlights the negative effects of alcohol and offers suggestions for alternative activities. They used this video to create awareness and let their peers know it is ok not to drink.

Team 41, Lionel Wilson Prep Middle School, Oakland: Understanding Femininity
The girls of Team 41 want to help girls struggling to understand their bodily changes during puberty. They want to help build girls’ sense of confidence during this awkward time in their lives. The team solicited donations from various feminine product companies and put together informational and supply kits, which were passed out at Monarch Elementary School in Oakland. They feel that by educating and preparing girls to understand their bodies, they may prevent many of the problems that often arise during this time leading to menstrual accidents, teen pregnancy, and STDs.

Team 42, Piedmont Hills High School, East San Jose: Battle of the Bands: Save Our School
The Berryessa Union School District is facing a budget crisis due to proposed changes in the state funding. Girls that now attend PHHS of the East Side Union High School District went to elementary and middle schools in Berryessa and their younger family members and friends are currently attending schools in that district. The district is anticipating cuts especially around its arts, library services, after-school, and sports programs. Team 42 feels that by creating a large community event they can bring attention to this issue and mobilize their community.  The team plans on hosting a Battle of the Bands next year event to bring about awareness and show that the community supports its school programs.

Team 43, Sherman Oaks Elementary, Central San Jose: Teen Pregnancy
Team 43 has witnessed a great deal of teen pregnancy in their community. In order to change the behaviors and attitudes that contribute to teen pregnancy, Team 43 decided to inform their peers about how to prevent early pregnancy.  The girls partnered with Planned Parenthood to become more educated about the issue as a team and worked together to create an information night for their school and community to share some of the causes and consequences of teen pregnancy.  Team 43 also spread awareness through a short video to reach more people in their community and beyond. 

Team 44, Menlo Park Boys and Girls Club: Rapping Against Rape 
The girls of Team 44 think that rape is a terrible social problem that needs to be stopped! They want to reach out to their peers and those who have been victims of rape to help them to better understand the phenomenon. The girls have written a rap song about this issue and recorded a CD to give to other Boys and Girls Clubs. They hope that their peers will become better informed about how rape happens and how it can affect them and the people around them. 

Team 45, Camp Kemp, San Mateo: Using Our Voices
Team 45 believes it can be difficult to find a safe place for girls to share their life experiences, so they worked on creating that safe place and allowing all girls to share their stories through poetry.  After weeks of working on their poems the girls compiled their work into a magazine, and created art work to accompany their poems. The final magazine allowed the girls to share their life experiences and perspectives with other girls and staff at Camp Kemp for Girls.

Team 46, Silicon Valley Girl Steering Committee
The Girl Steering Committee has been actively involved in every GFC event this year! The girls were the main event planners for Spring Into Action and the Completion Ceremony, members of the committee facilitated a workshop and consultant training at Spring Into Action, emceed events, learned how to network with powerful business women and gained a deeper understanding of how to work together as leaders. Most of all, the Girl Steering Committee continues to shape the direction of Girls For A Change and how it will grow in years to come.

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