Cliques, teachers, the rumor mill — these topics make up only a small part of the huge load middle school girls take on as they enter their early teenage years. Girl Talk, a national organization with chapters in 47 states and four countries, creates the opportunity for high school girls to mentor middle school girls and advise them during those difficult years. After working at a summer camp sponsored by Girl Talk in 2011 and joining the National Teen Advisory Board, which handles fundraising for the program, current sophomore Moriah Wilson decided to start up a Girl Talk chapter at Pace Academy. She and junior Kelly Brown volunteered to lead the Pace chapter with the help of faculty sponsor Mrs. Eden. Last year’s attempt at starting up Girl Talk during lunch fell through due to scheduling conflicts between the Upper and Middle schools, but this year the leaders are looking forward to hitting the ground running with a fresh start.
“I fell in love with it,” Moriah said after only two weeks of Girl Talk camp. The camp allowed her to talk with girls with a range of problems and offer them advice. She said, “It’s rewarding to be able to help girls and help them get through the hard period of middle school, and you can really develop relationships.” One camper with whom she formed a relationship is an 11-year-old who admitted to almost killing herself once. From talking to her, Moriah said that her perspective on suicide has changed: “She said suicide was a really selfish thing to do, and I’d never really thought about it that way.” She and Moriah have since kept up an email correspondence, and Moriah said that the girl is “perfectly fine” now. She said, “I was really glad that she found Girl Talk, and I’m really glad that I created a connection with her.”
Both Kelly and Moriah appreciated that Girl Talk provided an outlet to form sisterly bonds with the younger girls. “I wish I had younger siblings,” Kelly said. Moriah, also the youngest in her family, emphasized the importance of sisterhood in Girl Talk as well. “We want to be there for them — like their older sisters,” she said. Mrs. Eden, who also heads the peer leadership program along with Mr. Callahan, thought that Girl Talk would be a great fit for her and for Pace. “Anything that involves group work and getting to know each other, that’s right up my alley,” she said. She added, “We just thought there was a need for some kind of interaction of older girls with younger girls… this idea that sometimes there’s not an older person in your life you can talk to.” Although the Girl Talk organization provides a set curriculum, there is room for flexibility. “Anything the girls identify as an issue, we’ll cover,” Mrs. Eden said. Along with weekly meetings after school, the group plans to take the girls on off campus social trips, such as ice skating and bowling. Mrs. Eden said with confidence, “I think it’s going to make it this year.”
By Suzanne Monyak, Co-Editor-in-Chief ’13