CLINTON MIDDLE SCHOOL
Girls Revolution project will revolve around Civic Engagement.
Girls Revolution is a group of empowered female students in grades 6-8 at Clinton Middle School. Our group’s mission focuses on civic engagement through social advocacy, volunteerism, and spreading education on policies that affect homeless communities. Girls Revolution will collaborate with local homeless agencies to provide needed items (i.e. gathering donations and making bundles of children’s hygiene products) to those who are homeless and/or at risk of homelessness. In order to bring more awareness to issues and policies related to the homeless population we will educate those around us (peers, our student/teacher population, our families, and community members) on important factors that impact homelessness such as mental health/substance use, increasing costs of housing, and lack of access to needed services. In our schools we will use a peer-to-peer method which is an evidenced based practice known to increase student connectivity with learning topics. We will also educate the adults in our community about the impact of making informed voting decisions as they pertain to homelessness laws/policies. Lastly, through appropriate training by the coordinators, students will be able to converse and advocate to local assembly members about the issues of homelessness in their surrounding community at a Los Angeles City Council meeting. The ultimate goal of the members of Girls Revolution is that we feel empowered to lobby for ballot measures affecting the homeless population and provision of mental health services in order to promote equality and opportunity of services for all.
In an effort to tackle a growing social epidemic, Girls Revolution will focus on our local homelessness population and the factors that contribute to homelessness (mental health, substance use, housing costs, and lack of resources). Clinton Middle School is located in South Los Angeles in Council District 9, which has the second highest homeless population in Los Angeles with 3,224 homeless individuals. Our community is affected by high rates of poverty and unemployment, rising cost/lack of housing options, low educational attainment (high school/bachelors/master degrees), and is disproportionately predominantly a Latino and Black community. Additionally, important to note is that Skid Row is also located in Council District 9 and is within two miles from Clinton Middle School.
Having such a high homeless population makes it so that everyday we are immersed in the disparities that our communities face. We chose not to normalize the barriers that often lead individuals to homelessness but rather to work towards educating and empowering our neighborhood on laws and solutions, and on how we can all take part in strengthening our community.
As part of this project it was important for us to understand common views on homelessness from our community members. We conducted a survey of the Clinton Middle School community (teachers, students and parents) on their understanding of homeless individuals and the link of social disparities/laws to homelessness. By understanding current views we could begin to strategize on how to address gaps and what areas we can provide psychoeducation so community members make educated voting decisions as it pertains to homelessness. Girl’s Revolution’s mission is not only to motivate our community (students, parents, school staff) to get involved but to have them feel empowered to become change agents in their community, and for their community.
Teachers were asked to nominate girls they felt exemplified leadership qualities, as well as, students that needed more support and guidance.
Our group meets every week and, at times, meet in pairs to complete our special projects. There are 10 girls in the team from all grade levels (6th - 8th). During meetings, Girls Revolution members were taught leadership skills, such as, how to communicate in respectable manners, gaining self-confidence through practice, collaborating with others members and agencies on campus. The goal was also to highlight support services on campus by working on joint projects together. At the beginning of the school year, girls were given roles within the team in order to keep us organized.