Mission: MEDIAGIRLS teaches girls and young women to harness the power of media for positive change. Participants transform social media from a space known for breeding insecurity, to one where they express their authentic selves, challenge sexist media, and speak up for what they believe in. Media, not girls, needs a makeover.
How does your organization strive toward the attributes associated with Relevance?
MEDIAGIRLS teaches girls and young women how to know their self-worth and harness the power of media for positive change. The average teen girl consumes 8 to 10 hours of media a day (three on social media), mostly insisting that what matters most about her is how “hot” and thin she is. We train female college students (“Mentors”) in Boston to teach middle-school girls our 8- or 16-week curriculum (once a week for 50-90 minutes) to think critically about undermining media messages. The define their self worth on inner qualities, and use their social media to empower themselves and other girls. We provide one-time Parent and Girl workshops on how girls can turn social media into a more positive, healthy space; and publish free content on our website with strategies for parents. Our goal is to grow an army of girls and young women who use social media as a training ground to speak up, and spread positivity. We are currently at 11 schools in Greater Boston, mainly in underserved communities, and growing.
How does your organization strive toward the attributes associated with Impact?
At the end of each class, we give participants an “exit ticket,” with two concrete questions that tie back to the specific topic of the day (i.e. exploring race and gender representation in music videos, deconstructing ads from Instagram influencers). We are looking to see how participants’ attitudes about media’s influence on girls shifts each class, and whether they know what concrete steps they and other girls can take to improve media culture. We have reached 4,000 girls and women through our stand-alone workshops, and had 30,000 unique visitors on our website. We have taught our multi-week curriculum to over 500 girls since our start in summer 2014. Our impact last year:
- 96% of MEDIAGIRLS participants are able to identify their self-worth based on their inner qualities as a result of our program.
- 81% of MEDIAGIRLS participants reported feeling “better about their self-worth” as a result of our program.
- 96% of MEDIAGIRLS participants site specific ways to make social media more empowering for girls as a result of our program.
- 96% of our Mentors report that because of volunteering at MEDIAGIRLS, they are more likely to take on a leadership role.
- 86% of our college Mentors report that because of MEDIAGIRLS, they use social media to take a stand on meaningful issues.
How does your organization strive toward the attributes associated with Sustainability?
Our business model includes several ways of generating revenue in addition to grants. Our budget is $145,000. Of that amount, 26% comes from our Parent and Girl Workshops on using social media in empowering ways, plus the program tuition from our 8- and 16-week programming in higher-income communities. Approximately 30% of our budget comes from individual donors plus our annual fundraising event. Approximately 38% to 43% of our budget comes from grants. We are currently at 11 schools: we provide our programming for free at four Boston public schools, heavily discounted tuition at five charter schools, and full tuition (approx. $2000 per school for eight weeks) in two higher income schools. We are committed to providing our program at mainly underserved communities, with an eye on licensing our curriculum to higher-income schools next year. Our revenue subsidizes costs to bring our programming for free or discounted costs to underserved communities.
EXCELLENCE IN MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS
How does your organization strive toward the attributes associated with Excellence in Management and Operations?
Executive Director Michelle Cove bring 25 years of professional media experience to the organization, including an award-winning documentary distributed by Lionsgate; three books, including a national bestseller she co-authored and numerous editing jobs. One-third of the Mentors, the board, and the staff are women of color, and they have played a key part in making the curriculum relevant and on point with the girls of color we served. We also work hard to empower our college Mentors, who commit to 1+ year teaching, providing them with two full days of training in the fall and one day in the winter, bringing in experts on diversity, media and teaching. Each semester we collect suggestions for curriculum revisions from our Mentors, and incorporate the “best of” at least once a year.
HOW DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION ENGAGE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS / EMERGING LEADERS?
We provide our college Mentors, past and present, with two optional Empowerment Workshops a year that provide them with opportunities for personal and professional growth. These include topics like negotiating pay and networking authentically, and it is our way to reward them for empowering our girls. College Mentors who have taught for more than one year can apply to be on our Leadership Council, where they mentor newer Mentors and have opportunities to get paid for teaching workshops. Lastly, we have an alumnae network of past college Mentors, who are invited to our Empowerment Workshops and are connected on our website so they can network with one another.