Bishop Noll’s Women Empowerment Club has begun mentoring local middle school girls to help them through a variety of issues they are facing. This program sets out to inspire middle and high school girls to be confident leaders through peer-to-peer mentoring.
The club hosted its first virtual meeting with the middle schoolers in September. The women leaders from BNI assure the middle school girls that they are in a safe space to have conversations without being judged.
“We try to establish a good relationship with our younger girls right away, assuring they are comfortable with us and know that they are in a safe place,” said Bishop Noll senior Alejandra Castellanos, one of the club leaders. The club uses the Girl Empower Program, Girl Talk, which provides mini-lessons and topics.
"We kind of just like to let the conversation flow naturally allowing the girls to branch off into other side questions or discussions when appropriate.”
The leaders discuss topics relevant and important to both the middle schoolers and the high school leaders, in order to give a sense of security. Some of the topics include body image, fitting in and self-advocacy. In order to connect with the middle schoolers, the club members try to bring up their own experiences.
“Some of my favorite moments are to see when the girls are genuinely happy to be there, see each other, and take part in our program,” Castellanos said. “Some of the middle schools have gone completely virtual and because they are younger they don’t get to see their friends very often or have an outside source to talk to. It makes us feel like we have all done something right when the conversation we create is fruitful and allows these young girls to become closer and realize they are important.”
Not only do these meetings help the middle schoolers, there is a sense of satisfaction and hope brought to the leaders as well.
“These meetings allow our girls at Noll a chance to help little girls who may be struggling with things they may have struggled with when they were their age,” Castellanos said. “Also, this gives the middle school girls an outlet they may have not had before, it is especially necessary that they get to interact with each other and us during these troubling times. Our hope is to make them feel empowered and confident in themselves, so that one day they can continue our work.”
Mrs. Katie Fredericksen, theology teacher and one of the club’s sponsors, said the club is open for any Bishop Noll woman who wants to participate and become a mentor for a middle schooler.
“Our Motto is ‘Empower, Inspire, Connect, & Change.’ We want to inspire other girls, come together as a group of young women to support each other,” Fredericksen said.
Bishop Noll Institute, a Catholic college preparatory school in Hammond, is currently celebrating its 100th school year. For information on how to enroll at Bishop Noll, please email Director of Admissions Jeff Stur at firstname.lastname@example.org.