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Girls rule

A girls-only workshop is coming to Rosemont Ridge Middle School
by: submitted photos Students in the Girls Inc. program participate in self-esteem exercises, such as these.

Statistics show that 10 percent of girls are bullies, 10 percent are victims of bullying and 80 percent witness bullying.

'Everybody is affected by it, no matter where they sit in that continuum,' said Elizabeth Nye, executive director for Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization.

Girls Inc. will be coming to Rosemont Ridge Middle School next month to teach girls how to identify, deal with and prevent bullying in a series of workshops.

Girls Inc. of Northwest Oregon is affiliated with the national Girls Inc. group, which has roots dating back to 1864. The Oregon chapter was established in 2001.

The goal is to 'inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold,' according to Nye.

Girls Inc. of Northwest Oregon provides after-school curriculum for girls from third grade through high school, offering programs within the categories of 'strong,' 'smart' and 'bold.'

According to Nye, the 'strong' curriculum includes teaching girls about healthy bodies, sports and avoiding drugs and alcohol. The 'smart' field is tied to academics, future thinking and careers. The 'bold' category explores leadership development and 'gets the girls to try new things and get out of their comfort zones,' according to Nye.

The main objective of any theme is to increase a girl's self-confidence, to expand their knowledge and to elicit positive change. Each program is delivered over a term of eight weeks with one meeting a week.

The program being offered at Rosemont Ridge is called 'Allies in Action' and it teaches girls how to overcome bullying by promoting confidence, assertiveness, communication and self-esteem. Several members of the school's PTO helped to settle on this theme because they felt bullying was an issue at the school that should be addressed.

'Middle school is just a difficult age,' said Jackie Wetzsteon, PTO president. 'This is an opportunity to give them a boost.'

'I often hear, 'Girls are just mean; they're catty.' That's not what we want people to think and believe,' Nye said.

She said the bullying pattern in girls is often established by the media and the shows girls are watching. ''Gossip Girls' is absolutely terrifying,' Nye said. She wants girls to understand what messages the media sends about girls and how they treat each other.

'Allies in Action' will teach girls to recognize what constitutes as bullying and how to deal with it as well as get allies against it.

'Girls will have fun doing crafts, skits and playing games, while helping them to develop confidence, solve problems and learn to advocate for themselves and others,' according to Girls Inc.

The girls will learn communication skills by enacting bullying situations and role modeling.

'We feel that any girl could benefit,' Nye said. 'It's really a place for girls to come and learn to have really healthy relationships with other girls.'

The sessions will be offered to seventh- and eighth-grade girls Jan. 10 through March 6, meeting Mondays from 4 to 5:10 p.m. Another session will be held for sixth-graders Thursdays from Jan. 12 through March 8 from 4 to 5:10 p.m.

The cost is $125 and space is limited. Scholarships are available.

For more information or to register, visit girlsincnworegon.

ejoinme.org/rosemontridgew201278. For questions, contact Jessica at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-230-0054, ext. 5.