Stamford, CT — Jennifer Openshaw, CEO of Girls with Impact, the only entrepreneurship program just for girls, made the following statement after last night’s classes revealed new school episodes and insights about school safety.
“In the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, teen girls shockingly reported during this week’s Girls with Impact classes three separate safety episodes at their very schools in Connecticut and New York. One cited a threatening note that a shooting was to come and another, a student carrying a BB gun he failed to relinquish. (Watch class excerpt).
At one school in Connecticut, despite new gun laws, it was not the first time that a note was left, saying there would be a shooting, girls said.
The biggest mistake we can make is to ignore what our young people – girls especially – know. They are on the front lines. A few examples:
- Girls reported that fellow students can get in through side doors that remain unlocked – underscoring the failure to follow protocols.
- “We don’t take lock down seriously; we’re all on our cell phones. That’s not good for learning,” said Gillian.
- “I can’t believe I can get a gun at 17,” added Debra after watching an NRA documentary at school.
Girls are our future hope; have we ever seen a “gun woman?”
We asked the girls if they felt safe. A full 80% raised their hands during the live, online class, saying they did not feel safe.
How many of you have seen teen kids whom you believe do not get the help they need? 60% raised their hands.
Platforms like Girls with Impact – delivered after-school as an academic enrichment program – provide more than just business skills training: they are leading to innovations that can solve today’s problems coupled with a much-needed personal growth and emotional support system.
Depression among teens, girls
The Florida shooter lacked support with both his parents deceased and reportedly suffered from depression, which some are blaming the shooting on.
Worse, the numbers of teens ages 13-18 who committed suicide jumped 33% – with one death every 100 minutes. And these teens come from all walks – rich, poor, white and non-white.
Girl teaming drives innovations and confidence
The girls who complete our Academy report a 56% increase in handling rejection.
Over 12 weeks, girls have created innovations for one-touch emergency help and efforts to help other teens address depression.
Anika Gupta, a 15-year-old, developed her venture, Case Aid, to provide one-touch emergency help for anyone. The idea was developed over the 12-week program – a “mini-MBA” that takes her from idea to business plan.
Two other Girls with Impact graduates, Andy Gomez and Isabelle Allee – both from two very different backgrounds — have created initiatives specially targeting teen depression.
The program has shown huge gains in girls’ confidence – in leadership (140%), advancing a project (131%) and meeting goals (116%). Fully 100% feel more “career ready”, and 90% say they’re able to differentiate themselves in college.
And it’s all happening online, keeping costs and barriers to a minimum.
These programs come at a critical time – when parents face limited time and resources, when communities need innovation, and when young people require radical preparedness for a new future of work.”
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