A new year means a new set of curriculum from Strong Women, Strong Girls! During our spring training events in January, we introduced the “Learning to Give” service curriculum, which was developed in Pittsburgh with the help of our new partner, Open Hearts Foundation. OHF supports and partners with organizations dedicated to positively impacting lives in the areas of health, education, arts, and sports.

The comprehensive curriculum uses a skills-This spring, SWSG will partner with the Open Hearts Foundation.based approach to service – helping the girls understand what qualities they must possess in order to serve others and make service a part of their everyday lives. Each week, the girls will learn about a different skill through the lens of local and national female role models who have transformed adversity into opportunity. The skills the girls learn will all be reinforced by a semester-long project benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities in both Pittsburgh, PA and Boston, MA.

Siiri Morley, Boston Executive Director, says: “We are delighted to partner with such a well-aligned organization like the Open Hearts Foundation. Their support of our Learning to Give curriculum has been instrumental in strengthening our after-school mentoring program for girls from underserved communities. We are proud to feature OHF co-founder Jane Seymour as one of our SWSG role models this spring!”

10750100_816850341685413_5105781310973807785_oOn Saturday, January 24, more than 150 undergraduate and professional mentors, site leaders, and SWSG staff gathered at The Pittsburgh Project for Spring Training. Attendees first designed inspirational bookmarks while enjoying a complimentary breakfast provided by Crazy Mocha, Bruegger’s Bagels, and NuGo Nutrition. Mentors then participated in small workshops on topics including classroom control, active listening, team development, diversity, and fundraising. After lunch, training culminated with everyone coming together to experience The Poverty Spiral, an interactive role-playing simulation by the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA that teaches empathy through difficult decision-making scenarios.

Spring Training in Boston took place at Simmons College on Saturday, January 31. Nearly 150 undergraduate, professional, and middle school-aged mentors took part in workshops based on their experience level. New undergraduate mentors received an introduction to SWSG while professional mentors honed their coaching skills and leadership storytelling. Site leaders dissected real-life program scenarios, and Chapter Directors explored their authentic leadership style. SWSG Boston also used Spring Training to launch JUMP, a pilot program for mIMG_9717 (2)iddle school-aged Junior Mentors.

The Learning to Give service curriculum will help local girls achieve healthier lifestyles by teaching them to view service as a way of life, rather than an occasional event. Sabrina Saunders, Pittsburgh Executive Director, says “the spring curriculum is unique because it utilizes a human-centered approach to make service tangible for the girls and relatable to their own lived experiences. Through our partnership with the Open Hearts Foundation, we will inspire our girls not only invest in themselves, but to invest in their communities through the gift of service.”