Power & Promise

What is Power & Promise?
Power and Promise is an 8-10 week lunch-time Speaker’s Program for 6th grade girls conducted at middle schools in the South Bay.  One day a week during their lunch hour, the girls come voluntarily to hear about, ask questions and discuss issues relevant to their lives.

What is the purpose of Power & Promise?
The program is intended to raise awareness for pre-adolescent girls on relevant cultural, social and emotional issues affecting their lives.  Its purpose is to encourage and support the development of strong, aware, self-confident girls who can successfully cope with the many challenging issues in their lives.

What is involved in volunteering for Power and Promise?
AAUW Power and Promise volunteers become part of the Educational Partnership Committee that oversees programs for girls.  Volunteers are needed to direct a program in conjunction with a middle school teacher or counselor.  Most of the involvement is at the start of the program when it is necessary to line-up speakers, disseminate materials, coordinate with the teacher/counselor and generally organize the time frame and components of the program.  Once the program is established, follow-up is required to ensure the speaker attends each session at the appointed time and place and to send thank you notes to the speakers.  The time commitment is a week or more to organize the speakers followed by participation in the one-day-a-week program (that lasts for 8-10 weeks).  Why should you participate?  It’s stimulating working with the girls and the teacher/counselor, using your creativity to design the topics and line-up the speakers and finally hearing the information presented by the speakers at each session.

Why is Power and Promise important?
Girls today must navigate successfully in a culture that delivers conflicting messages on how they are expected to think and behave. In the social arena girls must negotiate the social ladder successfully to feel accepted.  To achieve status girls recognize that being attractive, acquiring material possessions and associating with students who are popular is the norm for acceptance. In the physical world girls must feel comfortable with their changing bodies to feel accepted.  Attractiveness counts and thin is in in the world of their peers. In the realm of the media many girls and young women evaluate themselves based on the visual and print images they get from the mass media.  Girls face stereotypes constantly and feel strong pressure from the culture to fit in on a daily basis. Power and Promise helps girl cope with these cultural messages through education and the sharing of experiences and feelings with their peers. The ultimate goal is to encourage the girls to remain “true to themselves” in the choices they make.

Who conducts the program at each school?
A committee member from the AAUW Torrance Branch acts as the director to facilitate the program in conjunction with a teacher or school counselor at each middle school campus.  The program uses school district personnel primarily as the speakers, such as the school counselor, principal, school safety resource office, district nurse and psychologist.  In addition, community members also serve as speakers, i.e. doctors, marriage and family counselors, police officers, parents and high school personnel and students.

What topics are presented at the sessions?
The topics vary between middle school campuses.  Listed below are sample topics that have been previously addressed:

    • Emotional, social and physical changes during adolescence
    • Sexual harassment
    • Bullying and teasing
    • Images of girls and women in the media
    • Friendships and relationships
    • School and neighborhood safety
    • Nutrition
    • Community service
    • Negotiation and setting boundaries
    • Women in history

What is the history of the program?
Power & Promise began as a pilot program at Richardson Middle School in Torrance in 1997.  Since that time, the program has been continuously conducted at various middle school campuses in the South Bay.

For more information on how you can participate in Power & Promise, please e-mail us at aauwtorrance@gmail.com