Navigating the way through the challenging era of teendom does not get any easier for our girls. In fact, several new developments around technology, peer pressure, mean girls, body image, early sexualisation, mental health and relationship intimacy place exacting demands on our girls around the time when their individuality, uniqueness and aspirations should be up front and centre.
Quite often having someone to talk to and guide them through this frame-breaking time when their identity is taking shape, can make a huge difference and this is the remit of our Big Sister programme.
WHO’S THE PROGRAMME FOR?
The Big Sister mentoring programme targets the girls who sit in the middle of the cohort and simply cruise and are in danger of becoming invisible as they are neither seriously disruptive, nor super academically gifted. They struggle to find their place and often get lost in the noise and either hide in the corner or look for validation in all the wrong places. At Girls Out Loud we understand these girls and we believe these girls have the potential to be shining stars. They are the managers, leaders and entrepreneurs of the future and with some investment from a team of awesome role models to light the way they will learn to believe in themselves, find their voice, step up and shine.
BECOMING A BIG SISTER:
We recruit, select, train and support women from all walks of life to step up and become Big Sisters – from the corporate sector, entrepreneurs, the public sector and everything in between! Our only criteria for getting involved is that you are a positive role model and our definition of this is simple…
- You must be at least 23 years old with some life experience.
- You must be comfortable in your own skin
- You must be able to define your own success
- You must be willing to be there for a young girl, committed to her well being for 12 months.
To apply to join our Big Sister posse please click here
My Little Sister is a good girl, but has a difficult home life. Both her parents are alcoholics so together with her 2 siblings she is living with her young Aunt who also has her own children, so getting her voice heard is a challenge. It has been a real eye opener for me working with her but I have loved it.Nicola Williams, Corporate Sales Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Just over a year ago I agreed to become a Big Sister with Girls Out Loud. Part of me was a little apprehensive being the mother of 3 boys, to which I was told : “Yes, but you are a girl!”
It has been an absolute delight getting to know my Little Sister , Sameerah’s personality and watching her confidence blossom over the past year. We have enjoyed sharing experiences, not to mention a few giggles at the personal safety group event! Chatting our way through 6th Form and future career choices. Enjoying the moment when Sameerah walked in after the summer holidays proudly wearing her ‘Lead Pupil’ badge.
None of this would have been a part of my life had I decided not to go ahead and I wouldn’t now be looking forward to being with Sameerah for her Big Sister Graduation in January.Michelle Brown, Home maker, volunteer, fund raiser
I cannot even begin to count the reasons for why being a part of the Big Sister programme has been so beneficial to me since signing up in 2014. Not only have I had the opportunity to meet, network and train with some wonderful women from so many different walks of life, but I have gained the most amazing Little Sister, who has been as much an inspiration to me through her development and achievements as I hope I have been for her. I am delighted to be joining the programme once again in 2015.Jo Watson, Head of Education and Partnerships, Onside Sports Education
The Big Sister programme exceeded all expectations. I’m honoured to have been a part of the project for a year. My little sister taught me so much about her world and taught me so much about myself. Not only did I play a small part in the development of this teenager, she taught me what resilience, honesty and bravery can be. I’m thrilled to say that I have made a friend for a life and that I’m a mentor to a young a girl that I believe in unconditionally.Hattie Pearson XFM Radio DJ, voice over artist, club promoter
Working with GOL is a journey and evokes all your emotional spectra, for the girls and because of the girls. The work teaches you the importance of never giving up, everyone should have the choice to understand their full potential and by recognising this in others you gently tap into your own. It has been my privilege to get to know some amazing young people and inspirational women and in doing so become aware, that by truly listening to their stories, you can help them open up their world.Linda Willows, Head of Legal and Business Management – Brother UK Ltd
I have just spent a year as a Big Sister and really enjoyed the experience. I have spent an hour a month with a lovely Year 10 girls listening and discussing all sorts of topics. At first she was very shy and didn’t like to put her hand up in class but by the end of the programme it was wonderful to see how far her self-confidence had grown and she had arranged a few meetings with the head teacher to discuss her learning and work experience. I have also met some truly inspirational women on this programme, made some friends and learnt some new things from my Little Sister. It has been a year of personal growth for me too and I have loved it!Gail Hounslea, MD, Wardworth Ltd
HOW IT WORKS:
We contract with a school to run a Big Sister programme for 20 girls, from the same year, over 12 months. We then recruit and train 20 Big Sisters and connect the 20 Big Sisters and 20 Little Sisters and they work together as a family unit within the school environment for the following year. Alongside monthly one to one sessions our team organise several group events throughout the year for the whole cohort starting with a launch event where the Big Sisters get to meet their Little Sister for the first time, ending with a graduation ceremony where the Big and Little Sister celebrate their year together.
The programme is a personal development journey for both Big and Little Sisters and this is apparent from our evaluation and impact studies.
This is why we do it…
This film was taken at one of our Big Sister graduation ceremonies where Big and Little Sisters celebrate their year long journey of mentoring and support together. They thank each other, share journeys and say goodbye – very empowering event!
To date as a result of the Big Sister programme the confidence improvement in girls is 100%. We see around 50% improvement in attendance; 90% of girls on target to achieve 3 levels of improvement with regard to attainment; no pregnancies, no anti-social behaviour; and over 90% of girls setting their sights on further education or some form of vocational training.
We see shy girls find their voice; we see queen bees channel their street smart in a more empowering way; we see newly confident girls standing up for themselves, moving into new peer groups, making better choices with more emotional resilience and excited about their future.
And most importantly we see girls recognising their potential and embracing their greatness and taking on our philosophy of paying it forward and becoming a Big Sister to other girls in their school who may need some support or a friend.
Just want to say a massive thank you to all the big sisters that helped be a part of the 1st group at sir William Stanier in Crewe and a special thank you to Rachel as if it was not for you all I wouldn’t be were I am now or the person I am today. I am open and I am a totally different person. I now teach year 11’s on Thursdays at college and I am a student representative. I wouldn’t have done this 2 years ago so thank you so much my life has moved on more now being the person I am today thanks to all of you. Xxxxx
Sophie – Sir William Stanier School
It has helped me grow as a person and I now talk about things more openly.Little Sister Quote…
It was really awesome and my Big Sister was cool and non-judgemental which helped a lot.Little Sister Quote…
My Big Sister helped me progress better through school and make new friends.Little Sister Quote…