It’s Time for Our Young Girls To Shine – Are you in?

Jane Kenyon is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, coach and founder of The Well Heeled Divas Ltd.

“In the past 16 years I have been involved in 9 businesses all focused in the business to business sector including consultancy, training, lifestyle management, IT, PR and networking. I have made money and lost it all twice, got myself embroiled in a few partnership deals I should never have touched and experienced some major highs selling businesses and acquiring others. But I have never lost my passion for business.”

“In 2007 I founded the Well Heeled Divas, an organisation focused on female empowerment with a pretty big vision – to inspire 1 million women to step up to entrepreneurship, leadership and wealth contribution, who in turn, will inspire 1 million young girls to raise their aspirations, believe in themselves and shine.”

We are delighted that Jane will join us each month and share her news and views!..

How about this for a scary fact.. In the 19th century girls started menstruating at 15, today 50% start under the age of ten! This is just one of the many challenges our girls face.

On top of this attempts to retain an element of individuality are threatened on a daily basis by the media, celebrity culture, premature sexualisation, peer pressure and bullying, lack of positive, strong female role models, privacy invasion and misuse of the internet, ladette behaviour and increase in aggressive behaviour amongst girls, to add a few more.

Not surprising then, that this backdrop is leading to a generation of teenage girls arriving at puberty with a full on identity crisis. Eating disorders, promiscuity and teen pregnancies, body dysmorphia, self-harming, binge-drinking and substance abuse, panic attacks and exam anxiety, are just some of the symptoms apparent in their behaviour.

We now have a confused generation, disengaging from education and the world around them which leads to low aspirations, poor body image, fickle self esteem and a confused identity.

You don’t have to look far to see this…

As someone who had a pretty traumatic youth, abandoned, alone and broke at 16, I have always been passionate about working with teenage girls and as a woman of action when I was presented with the opportunity to speak at an event in Blackpool with an audience of over 500 teenagers and representatives from the education sector I grabbed the mantle with all my might and not surprisingly, it was the catalyst I needed to allow me to create a 3 month intervention programme focused on raising the aspirations of teenage girls. Girls Out Loud was born!

The programme was piloted in a Blackpool school in 2008/9 with huge success and in late 2009 I met Claire Young of The Apprentice fame when we were both speaking at the same event in Blackpool. We recognised pretty fast that we both shared a passion for working with young girls and although we have very different backgrounds and experience we decided to take Girls Out Loud to another level, together. Earlier this year we established Girls Out Loud as a social enterprise, rebranded, launched our website and online media arm and extended the brand to include a one day programme and are currently seeking funding to develop a nationwide mentoring programme for girls between the ages of 13-18 called BIG SISTER.

The emphasis of all our activities is to embed a more empowering mindset in girls, which in turn, reconnects them to education, helps them achieve exam success and broadens their aspirations, encourages them to find their individual voice, make better life decisions, improve their self image and become role models for future generations.

So far the response from the education sector and the girls that have been involved in our first steps has been amazing. We have clearly hit a hotspot and Claire and I are loving it, although I have to say at times the pace is like an episode of The Apprentice! For example our rebranding, website, stationery and online media presence was done and dusted in 10 days!

We have big plans for the enterprise, in fact, world domination is only days away! We want our programmes to be available to every girl aged 14-16 within 5 years and this is just for starters! One thing we know for sure is that these girls need the input of positive, successful role models and that’s you! So if you would like to be a BIG SISTER for a young girl just let us know. We will keep you posted on our activities and funding position and you will be given full training before being asked to step up. We are also talking to schools, predominantly in the North West at the moment about running our one day and 3 month intervention programmes and we have opportunities for you to be a volunteer at the one day events and for qualified coaches to work on the 3 month programme. Just drop me a line if any of this juices you.

In the meantime to keep in touch and up to date with our activities why not join our facebook group. Here are some comments from some of the girls that have participated in our programmes so far…
“I now believe in me 100%. I did not believe in me before. I know I have the talent to sing and play the piano and winning Blackpool’s Pop Idol competition this month confirmed this. I will now do what I want in my life. Before Girls Out Loud I did what everyone else wanted me to do”
Gina, 16 – Completed the 3 month Stardom Programme

“Jane, you are so amazing, when I met you I was 15 and so lost. Today I believe in me, have just got a place at Art College and have finally found my voice. I will never forget you. Thank you from my heart.”
Jasmine, 15 – Completed the 3 month Stardom programme

These are a selection of comments from girls that have been on the one day Discovery programme..
It was amazing!
It was a life changing day, every girl should do it.
The day showed me I am not alone and taught me how to be happy being me.
It was fun, exciting and brilliant!

Ladies, we are creating the shining stars of tomorrow. Our female pioneers would be turning in their graves to hear some of our young girls site their aspirations – which include – a WAG, glamour model, lap dancer, teen Mum etc. I am pretty sure this was not the basis of their hopes and dreams and neither is it ours. Claire and I are passionate about creating space for girls to explore their identity, share their dreams and find their voice. This in turn, raises their aspirations and self belief. If you want to join us on the journey, get in touch today.

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