Archive for January, 2010

On Haiti, and No Name Calling Week Jan 25-29

First and foremost, our hearts and prayers are going out to the people of Haiti, and to their loved ones all around the globe.  The devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, the loss of life, injuries, and displacement of millions of families is such an enormous crisis! Where and how do we make a difference? You are no doubt receiving requests for contributions from many relief organizations.  The Tides Foundation partners with established relief groups and you can donate any amount by clicking this link:

This tragedy has inspired an enormous outpouring of compassion, giving, and outreach from people all over the world. It has revealed the dire poverty in Haiti.The inadequate collapsed buildings reflect decades of inadequate global and corporate economic policies that have stripped the country of its resources and crippled Haitians’ capacities for a sustainable economy.  And poverty always affects women and children most of all.

Three of Haiti’s women leaders were killed in the earthquake.  These women, Myriam Merlet  and Anne Marie Coriolan of the Ministry on Gender the Rights of Women,  and Magalie Marcelin who established an organization to address domestic violence, were loved and respected by many, and used their voices and education in the service of women’s rights. In a country where three out of four girls are sexually abused, Ms. Merlet worked with Eve Ensler and V-Day to open  Haiti’s first V-Day Safe House among other major steps toward racial and gender justice. We honor these leaders and send our respects to their families and friends. For more info, see:

But one scene I may never forget is the teen girl pulled out alive from beneath a structure many days after the earthquake.  Her brother and others dug her out with hands and basic objects.  As she was pulled free, she was asked, “Were you afraid?”  and she replied, “No, I was never afraid. Don’t be afraid to die! Don’t be afraid!” This teen girl who had just suffered an incomprehensible trauma inspired others with a message of fearlessness and hope.  I love that girl!

This week while we hold Haiti’s needs and strengths in our hearts and minds, we will also be observing No Name Calling Week!  This campaign, developed by GLSEN – the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network – refers to the consequences of name calling,  that names actually do hurt and that with education and understanding, kids and adults can end that hurt for their friends, classmates, group members, and family members. A fully developed high school lesson plan and other resources can be accessed and you can get more info at:

In Girls Circle and in The Council for Boys and Young Men, we address stereotyping and name calling and promote group members’ awareness, empathy, and alliance building. It’s actually both a proactive skill that facilitators can engender in the groups and a natural outcome of caring relationships.  When people listen to each other, and get past barriers to express themselves with greater authenticity, dissing becomes unnecessary.

Take care of yourselves this week!  Your light, your heart, your smile and your caring is what makes everything better in this world.



January 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm Leave a comment

Group Dynamics & Relationships in Group – Question and Answer

Here is a question asked by a new Girls Circle Facilitator and the beautifully written answer by Kitty Tyrol, the GCA Senior Training Manager about Group Dynamics that we thought might be helpful to everyone.

GC FACILITATOR QUESTION: … I am starting a group with a co-facilitator and in our group there are 2 girls engaged in a relationship with each other.  We haven’t started the group yet… but I wondered if you had any thoughts about this dynamic in a group.

KITTY TYROL ANSWER: Certainly – thanks for the question – be up front about it with each of the girls, individually, BEFORE going into the Circle.  Explore both the benefits and the challenges of being in relationship and coming into a group with other girls; especially if they are both mandated and this is the only group they can attend.  Ask the girls if other girls know about their relationship, how they want to handle it coming up in the group (b/c it will become fairly obvious), and how open they are to exploring the benefits/challenges with the other girls in the group.  By doing this, you are acknowledging the importance and reality of their relationship as well as the impact on the group dynamic.  As well, you are giving them some input on how to present it within the group.

It will be very important to establish guidelines for their relationship and their behavior within the group, especially around romantic affection and flirtation. Share your concerns (as well as how their relationship might affect how other girls feel in the group, without having her partner there).  And ultimately, share concerns or explore how to manage any difficulties between them that may show up in group (if they aren’t getting along or have even broken up).  Use preventions all the way – having them think ahead about solutions and how to self-manage while honoring the right of the group to manage their feelings about it too.  What a great opportunity!!!!

At some point, take it to the group for discussion.  Let them know that all tough topics can be explored in Girls Circle and this is a great opportunity for them to hear from other girls as well as to share their own abilities to honor the Circle, guidelines for behavior, and each other in the company of others. Take it to the next level, too, by exploring what to do/respond should NEW relationships come up among girls in group.  This is a good way to keep the topic in perspective, whether there is a “couple” currently in the group, or a “couple” forms among group members while you are running a long-term Girls Circle.

Get clear with your own feelings too – perhaps with a colleague (or we can talk on the phone) – before you head into this…remember your “triggers” are your friends for anticipating what will be difficult and for developing good questions ahead of time for exploring the issue.  Clear boundaries and adherence will be essential.  Remember, “kindness in your voice and firmness in your follow through.”  Being honest about any bias, judgment, or fear you may have about this type of relationship or its impact on the group is your work!

January 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

The Soundtrack to the Girls Circle Facilitator Training

The Girls Circle Association gets LOTS OF REQUESTS for a CD of our Girls Circle Facilitator Training “soundtrack” – the music that we play during the training.

Since we can’t send out mix cd’s to our entire community we’re posting the GCFT Playlist for you here.  Check it out and please let us know of any song suggestions that you may have!

Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman
Whitney Houston – Exhale (Shoop)
Jewel – I’m Sensitive
Alanis Morissette – Isn’t it Ironic
Aretha Franklin – Respect
Aretha Franklin – Chain of Fools
Madelaine Peyroux – J’ai Deux Amours
Annie Lennox – Why
Annie Lennox – Precious
Angelique Kidjo with Ziggy Marley – Sedjedo
Alicia Keyes – Fallin’
Baka – Braighe Locheil
CeCe Winans – I’ll take you There
CeCe Winans – Two Different Lifestyles
Bette Midler – Friends
Bette Midler – My Mother’s Eyes
Bette Midler – Sisters
Melissa Manchester – A Mother’s Prayer
Melissa Manchester – When Paris was a Woman
Bonnie Raitt – Cry on my Shoulder
Bonnie Raitt – Nobody’s Girl
Brandy – Sittin’ in my Room
Carole King – You’ve Got a Friend
Carole King – It’s Gonna Take Some Time
Des’ree – Life
Duffy – Mercy
Duffy – Steppin’ Stone
Edie Brickell – What I am
En Vogue – Free your Mind
Salt-N-Pepa – Whatta Man
Faith Evans – Hope
Erykah Badu – Certainly
Erykah Badu – Green Eyes
Fantasia – Summertime
Fantasia – I Feel Beautiful
Fantasia – I Believe
Gloria Estifan – Is It Love That We’re Missing
India Arie – Strength, Courage and Wisdom
India Arie – Video
India Arie – Beautiful
Jill Scott – Let Me
Janis Joplin – Down on Me
Janis Joplin – Try
Joni Mitchell – Circle Game
Joss Stone – Diggin on Me, Feels Good to Me
KD Lang – Summer Fling
KD Lang – Miss Chatelaine
Kelly Clarkson – Miss Independence
Laura Nyro – Woman of the World
Lee Ann Womack – I hope you Dance
Macy Gray – Still or I Try
Mary J. Blige – Drama
Nora Jones – Don’t Know Why
Sade – Love is Stronger than Pride
Shakira – Suerte
Soul II Soul – Keep on Movin’
Taylor Swift – Fifteen
Tracy Chapman – Tell it like it is

Black Eyed Peas – MasQueNada (during Bump Activity)
Enya – Memory of Trees (during writing Letter to Teen Self Activity)
Carlos Nakai – Elk Dreamer Song (during reading of Black Elk Speaks Opening Circle)
Lauren Hill – Superstar (during Education Quote – 30 second Commercial Activity)
Martina Mcbride – This one’s for the girls (Closing)

January 12, 2010 at 7:01 pm 2 comments

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