Six-session program empowers girls to be a friend first

2013-02-20T13:17:00Z 2013-02-20T13:25:36Z Six-session program empowers girls to be a friend firstJulie Somogyi | Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | Cyberbullying impacts the lives of 85 percent of middle school students. Now girls ages 11-13 in grades six through eight in Merrillville can learn how to eliminate its impact on their lives.

Be a Friend First, a new six-session bullying prevention program, empowers girls to rise above cliques and become leaders in their schools. The BFF program debuts in the Merrillville area March 9, and girls ages 11-13 are invited to participate. Guided by trained adult mentors, girls will discuss and learn techniques for overcoming peer pressure and leading by example.

Sessions will take place at the Merrillville Gathering Place operated by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana at 8699 Broadway, on March 9, 16, 23, 30 and April 6, 20, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The BFF program is designed to work with the aMAZE! Journey, Girl Scouts' highly acclaimed leadership program, though girls do not have to be current members of Girl Scouts to participate in the BFF series.

The aMAZE! Journey gives middle school girls valuable skills to develop healthy relationships, prevent bully behavior and become peacemakers in their schools and communities. In BFF, girls explore peer pressure, stereotyping, gossip, and cliques through engaging role-plays, creative writing, games, and discussion exercises. They can also create and lead projects in their schools and communities to tackle bullying issues on their terms and turf.

Adults seeking rewarding volunteer opportunities as BFF mentors, and parents who wish to register their daughters for the program are invited to get involved by visiting www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org/gsmyway, e-mailing gsmyway@girlscoutsgcnwi.org or calling 708-658-2348.

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana impacts the lives of nearly 84,000 girls and 24,000 adult members in 245 communities in six Illinois counties (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake, and Will) and four Indiana counties (Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter). As a United Way agency, Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

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