The Importance of Girl Talk

Talia Neufeld

Girl Talk is a national interactive mentoring program that prepares middle school girls, from an emotional perspective, for high school. The Weber School sophomores, juniors and seniors come to middle schools such as The Davis Academy and The Epstein School to meet with these young girls. With the help of the guidance counselor, Chere Stadler, at Weber, the high school students develop an outline of topics to discuss. Themes can include healthy relationships, body image and social media. At the ages of twelve and thirteen, young girls tend to struggle with these issues on a daily basis, and sometimes, it is comforting to have guidance from an older peer, much like a sister, who has already experienced these challenges.

Chere Stadler, director of the Girl Talk program at Weber, gives her views on the importance of this program within the school, stating, “The middle school girls benefit from having a mentor from whom they can learn tools to overcome everyday challenges to being a girl in our society. The program allows the leaders to change the narrative through curriculum development and provides an opportunity to share and hone self-care tools that will last a lifetime.” Girl Talk is an organization that isn’t only present in the Jewish community, but all over The United States. Many girls struggle with the pressures of social media, and this program helps to alleviate some of the stress that comes from life in the twenty-first century.

The purpose of Girl Talk, from the National Leadership Board is “to help girls recognize various styles, characteristics and approaches of leadership and then give them the opportunity to put them into practice.” It becomes essential to emphasize lessons such as leadership skills and independence at a young age, while having mentors to help cultivate these morals. In each Girl Talk chapter, there are the general members and the leadership board members, who assess and instruct the general members. Weber leadership board member Sydney Glazman shares her views about the importance of implementing this program into the community, remarking, “Girl talk is so important in this day and age because a lot of girls think they are alone. Some girls have no one to talk to at home like an older sister or mom.” As our generation continues to expand in social media, innocent minds of young girls may be consumed with peer pressure, anxiety, self esteem and depression.

Not only is the program influential on middle school girls, but also on the mentors themselves. To gain the general or leadership board role, each girl has to be notably qualified for the position. Glazman mentions characteristics of an ideal mentor, stating, “Leaders must have confidence in themselves before applying for a leadership position. Confidence is a huge characteristic that most teenage girls don’t have. In addition, the leaders have to know how to be sensitive to their middle schoolers problems.” Stadler was also asked what important characteristics for a mentor are, and she states, “Girl Talk leaders must hit the ground running and should present solid communication skills – both verbal and nonverbal, self-confidence, and an understanding of appropriate role modeling as evidenced by their participation in a group interview.” The program gives the comfort to middle school girls that they do not necessarily receive at home. It is essential to gain this time with a mentor as a young girl, because the life lessons taught can truly help guide them through their future. Spreading the program to schools all over the world will benefit girls of every age, and teach them that they are not alone with the many challenges they face growing up.