Every girl needs a mentor, an older girl she can look up to. Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School now offers such a program for girls in the school community. Girls Learning and Mentoring (GLAM), a multidivisional life-skills program hosted by Upper- School girls for intermediate-school girls, teaches girls to be bold, smart and confident.
Senior Amber Falkner, the founder of GLAM, said she created this program because she wanted to teach young girls that who they are is who they should be.
“I remember…watching many of my female peers being subjected to pressures put on them by the boys, by media and even by what their own girl friends were saying or doing. Everyone wants to fit in, but I believe there needs to be a point where each girl realizes she is straying from her true self,” Falkner said.
Falkner said she wanted to form a group that would encourage girls to let their best qualities shine.
“Whether it is that this girl is not confident in her looks, or this girl is not bold enough to speak up for herself or even that this girl does not believe she can let her intelligence shine through, I want GLAM to be that positive reinforcement that tells her she can be all of these things and even more,” she said.
Sixth grader Emma Stevenson said that when she heard about GLAM through a friend, she really wanted to join.
“I learned a lot about my friends that I didn’t know before, and I got to talk to a lot of people I didn’t normally talk to,” she said.
Sixth-grader Natalia Bermudez agreed.
“It was a really fun opportunity to meet new people,” she said.
Junior Natalie Haschek said GLAM also provided Upper School girls with a great opportunity to be leaders and positively influence the lives of younger girls.
“I think fourth, fifth and sixth grade are really vulnerable years for young girls.” Haschek said. “At that age, they are really at risk to go off on the wrong path, so I think it’s a really cool opportunity for us (Upper School girls) to be able to influence the young girls’ futures.”
Falkner said she hopes that the Upper School girls will take away just as much from the experience as the younger girls.
“Of course, they will be earning community service hours, but even more importantly, GLAM will help them to shape and solidify what they believe is a revered female leader,” she said.
Junior Hailey Nicklin said GLAM was a great way for younger girls to get advice from older girls who have been through everything they are going through.
“Girls always need a good role model. It’s definitely good to teach girls that they should be confident in who they are and that they don’t have to be someone they’re not,” she said.
Bermudez agreed that it was important for girls to learn to be confident in themselves.
“We learn to express ourselves by sharing facts about ourselves with the other girls,” she said
Falkner said she hopes that by having the girls open up about themselves, they will learn to be confident in sharing their opinions.
“We’ll be covering topics that make the girls think about not just their (own) role but the role they believe females should play throughout the world. All activities done within GLAM are meant to teach each girl something about herself while also teaching the girls around her something they did not know about her,” she said.
Haschek agreed that teaching young girls to have confidence in themselves is extremely important.
“I think having confidence gives you the power to do anything, to speak your mind and ask questions in class and get points across to your friends,” she said.
Falkner said that the more she saw the world putting certain pressures on young girls, the more she wanted to encourage them to be themselves.
“Ultimately, I have started GLAM because I want to leave a positive impact on tomorrow’s female leaders. I hope that every girl -- from both age groups -- leaves GLAM feeling that she can raise her own expectations of herself,” she said.
“In the end, you set your own limitations. My hope is that every GLAM girl breaks through these barricades of ‘I can’t.’”