AKOG aims to:
- Help girls recognize their own strength by providing them with a safe space to express and maintain their true voice.
- Expose girls to different life options by building a bridge between girls from Worcester and young women from the Women's Studies community.
- Nurture the socio-emotional development of girls, by supporting the self-assurance they naturally possess as preadolescents.
- Foster understanding by bringing together girls and women from diverse class, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.
AKOG was started in 1998 in response to a community desire to create a space where generations of females could foster positive growth through mentorship and openly explore their personal and political identities. Through positive interactions with others, the program aims to support girls in developing a solid sense of self while simultaneously fostering their role as important and powerful contributors to the formation of the evolving social world. AKOG is extremely rewarding for both girls and mentors. Participants see amazing differences in the expression, confidence and thoughts of both themselves and other girls and mentors.
Description of AKOG
Each year about 60 girls from the city of Worcester in Massachusetts attend AKOG along with about 16 to 20 female undergraduate Clark mentors. Registration forms for female participants are dispersed in 8 Worcester public schools throughout different areas of Worcester. Girls register for the program on a first come first serve basis. Clark student volunteers apply to be mentors early in the Clark school year.
Each week, activities are planned around a theme. Sample themes include: Culture Day, Beauty Day, Celebrating our Differences and Similarities Day, Wild and Crazy Fun Day, Women's History Day, Team Building Day, Voice Day and Visual Arts Day. Each theme is designed to invite girls to explore their own identity, to examine their relationships with themselves and other girls, and to help them to become stronger, more active and knowledgeable members of society.
AKOG meets for 15 to 17 weeks during the Clark school year (except for Clark school breaks). AKOG begins in late October and typically ends in early to mid April. The first half of the year, the program focuses on creative writing, skits/improvisation, arts and crafts, games, and group discussions modeled around each weekly theme. During the second half of the year the girls are divided into small groups where they write, direct, and perform their own plays. The plays represent the spirit of AKOG and all that it stands for including portrayals of girls' lives today and positive images of girls and women.
Past play themes have included the following:
- The AKOG TV show,
- Workers rights, women and equal pay for equal work,
- Different girls coming together and finding that they have more things in common than they thought,
- Elderly women looking back on what life was like as girls,
- Women's history and American women fighting for the right to vote in the early 20th century,
- Girls making fun of each other at a sleepover party,
- Disputes between “popular” girls and “geeks,”
- The AKOG Academy where girls tell their classmates all about the women that inspire them,
- Girls dealing with issues of racism and prejudice at school and in their circle of friends,
- Supermodel girls who insist on being themselves and not dieting like their manager wants them to, and
- Girls traveling back in time to see how girls lived their lives in the past.
AKOG at Clark University is generously sponsored in 2012-2013 by the United Way of Central Massachusetts' Women's Initiative.
©2006 All Kinds Of Girls / Clark University Department Of Women's Studies — All Rights Reserved