Middle school can be tough for a lot of girls, with new friendships, social groups, and even more school work. But with the help of the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, Rockford Public Schools welcomes the "aMAZE" Program, helping girls handle bullies and cliques, in order to build self esteem.
"The over all goal is to promote self confidence within the girls and to help them to see what they really are capable of," says Brooke Bloomquist, a counselor and the woman who started the aMAZE program in the Rockford Public School District.
The program, funded by the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, brings together 6th grade girls, teaching them to make good decisions and to build strong friendships.
"I think it'll make some girls open up to each other and probably realize some new things about themselves," says Lilly Chavez, a 6th grader at Marshall Middle School.
Lilly Chavez is part of the program, which gets its official start this year at Marshall Middle School. It's the first school in Rockford Public Schools to implement the eight week program. "aMAZE" did a test run last year at West Middle School and saw great results, decreasing violence and bad behavior among 6th grade girls by nearly 72%. Now girls at Marshall are excited to see what they'll learn.
"I think the "aMAZE" program is gonna really bring each class together more, learning about each other and how we can help each other understand stuff," says Sydnie Beksel, also a 6th grader at Marshall Middle School.
The girls meet once a week, during health class. They finish with a community service project at the end of the eight week course. Chavez says she hopes to learn how to be more assertive.
"I guess I can learn to be more confident and stick up for myself more," Chavez says.
The program hopes to expand to all of the Rockford Public School District middle schools throughout the Fall.
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