The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Redskins Cheerleaders on Wednesday talked about self-empowerment with girls at the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C.
It was an all-girls affair at the Walker-Jones Education Campus on Wednesday, as students met with two Washington Redskins Cheerleaders to talk about the importance of supporting and empowering each other.
The WRCF and First Ladies of Football teamed up with Walker Jones Education Campus to talk about bullying and self-esteem with local elementary/middle school girls on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.
The Walker-Jones Education Campus is one of the eight schools selected through the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and DC Public School System's "Adopt-A-School" program.
On Wednesday, 40 girls in grades two through eight who participate in a variety of girl-oriented clubs such as Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts and the High Tea Society were invited for an afternoon of empowering crafts and conversation during this one-of-a-kind event.
The girls met after school and were greeted by Jade K. and Kirsten, both members of the First Ladies of Football, and listened to the cheerleaders answer questions about setting goals and supporting each other.
The question-and-answer session, led by Sonia Higginbottom, a social worker at the school, allowed the cheerleaders to share their experiences about their time on the squad and how they work together as a group of women to empower one another.
Higginbottom, an advisor for both Girls on the Run and Girl Scouts, feels that it is important for young girls to have positive role models, like the cheerleaders, to help encourage them to make quality life decisions.
"I think it is really important to be a part of this because the girls need to see healthy role models as well as to see and ask questions about what cheerleaders do, and just to have that type of relationship with a professional football team," she said.
After the facilitated question-and answer-period, the girls asked Jade K. and Kirsten some of their own questions. They ranged from what they do outside of cheerleading to if they still get nervous before games.
Kirsten said that she wants the students to learn that girls' empowering each other is crucial and that together they can achieve their dreams.
"If anything, I hope that they take away that they should be supporting each other, girls supporting girls, and friends," she said. "And also just being goal-oriented and following through with whatever goals they set for themselves."
Next, it was on to arts and crafts. Each girl was asked to create something to add to the 'Wish Box' that represented her; it could have been a saying, a sticker, a picture or even just a heart.
The girls were asked to write down a goal that they wanted to accomplish by the end of the school year and then share it with the group, so that they could hold each other accountable, before placing it in the 'Wish Box'.
The event concluded with the cheerleaders happily posing for pictures and signing autographs for the excited girls.
Higginbottom believes this partnership with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, as well as the school-led initiatives of Girls on the Run, Girls Scouts and High Tea Society, will resonate with the girls for years to come.
"I think it's making a huge impact on the girls," Higginbottom said. "They want to come to school, they want to participate and they want to make better choices so they know if they may have an issue dealing with another peer, they have the tools now and the skills to problem solve and mediate the situation as opposed to fighting and getting into trouble."