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Production of a song for sisters has been made possible by a grant from International Paper supporting our community caring about our environment. Yeah yeah why. ME ME ME ME. Me want to get rid of you that
way or the name of the program sisters and friends and it's an arts and education program that's designed to give preteen girls a shot in the arm at a time when they need it most. Researchers have clearly identified this as being the time in their lives when they go from being right assertive little third fourth graders and they start apologizing for their opinions. They start questioning their ability to make perfectly simple decisions. They stop raising their hand. Teachers tell me stories of bright wonderful 5th grade girls who in sixth grade won't raise their hand answer the simplest question. Do you read when you read you will always be the boy.
The boy. She was too small to see us. If
you've ever been around an 11 year old girl you know that she's seldom at a loss for words. Not afraid to speak your mind chill tell it like it is even if it means getting in trouble with a parent or teacher. But by the time she is 12 or 13 the same girl is often less confident and self-assurance is replaced with phrases like. This may sound dumb but and I don't know.
Study after study points to the pre-teen years as the time in a girl's life when she suffers a plummeting loss of self-esteem far more than her male counterparts. Television shows pop music and magazines are filled with ads for makeup and clothes are just some of the sources that bombard our impressionable girls with the underlying negative message. Women and girls in our society are valued not for their thoughts or their accomplishments but for their looks and the show. In the small town of Port Henry located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of New York state
their own shipment of Brigit ball have decided enough is enough and are fighting back with a program called sisters and friends sisters and then started out to be a program that I wrote because I saw many of my fifth graders failing as they got older not necessarily failing in academics but failing in life. Many of the causes of these changes are often one their age their pre-adolescent and their questioning a lot of things they're questioning the self questioning authority or questioning really everything. A lot of times parents don't know how to deal with that. I think that people have a real struggle. When they look at their children beginning to change so drastically and seems to come overnight a lot of these children are not
prepared for what's happening to them and what's happening what they're seeing in society. See because the thing about a creative Journal is that it is very private. Bridget raw became involved as the person who would be the actual teacher of the lessons that I wanted those girls to learn. Bridget had all the qualities that I needed in someone to pull this project off. Bridges are a very intelligent woman and had a lot of good ideas so as to supplement some of the things that I have even thought about. This is an Friends program starts in October with journal writing I come into the school with a bunch of journals that are actually creative artists sketch pads and I teach journal writing workshop getting the kids started on what I hope will be a year long journal writing adventure and the spirit of the creative Journal of course is to encourage them to to find their voices to find his or her own voice particularly
her own voice. You know it really has opened up a lot of kids kids have spoken about their family life dealing with their friends dealing with some of the children have come from other schools or have moved around. And the sisters own friends. Program in the journal writing and talking about our feelings and how we're all alike and how we're all a little different. What it feels like to be long alone among friends and how to reach out and I have found that children really respond to that child that may say you know everybody treats me okay but I've still kind of lonely here. Then there's an effort and without this type of program with the child really speak out I feel safe in a relationship. Understand they're struggling to get back to recovery. That's just something they're
better straight. We're going to find you really good just to get back to work. When you brush the walls it tears the sleeve right off for you. But in places like Calgary you don't touch the wall that often and it usually doesn't do as much damage to your suit. So there's a big difference in tracks. One of the most important aspects of this program is bringing in successful women from the communities around the schools to talk to the kids both the boys and the girls and that's important for a lot of reasons the most important reason perhaps is to give visual evidence to the kids that women are achieving really interesting goals. And it's I think it's very important to have both the boys and girls listen to these women to be inspired by these women and to have the girls see firsthand that in fact the world admires these these strong hardworking brave women. And nobody's asking what they're wearing or what how much makeup or anything like that that they're talking just about their accomplishments and about how they got to where they are.
I've met a lot of people who believe that I can do. When I first started sliding my coach said you can't do this. And instead of getting in their face like sometimes we want to and saying what. I simply showed him. I just kept my mouth shut and I went out and showed him. He said you can't make national team. I said to myself yeah I think I can. So I worked hard at it and I made national team and I think the message just is if you believe it in your heart go ahead and try it. You know what you're capable of and it doesn't matter if it's a guy thing or a girl thing. What matters is what you want to do with your life and what your dreams are. And if you want to do something badly enough you'll make it happen. You win a lot of fun. Thank guest visits and journal writing take place throughout the year. The most intensive part of the program is songwriting week a weeklong series of fun discussion provoking exercises which ultimately generate lyrics furred and original songs that will be performed at the end of the
week in a special school assembly. While And during songwriting week on Monday we start out kind of slowly because I want them to get to know me and I need to get to know them a little bit. And so I just we play a little game a little creative writing game or I have them all make upward and then we pass the papers around and whatever gets whatever word that each child gets They have to read the definition for that word and then they pass the papers around again and somebody has to use that word in a sentence so it's just a creative game that they get the creative juices flowing and it gets them thinking about working together creatively. The other thing that we do on Monday is I introduce to them the song that I wrote the song Don't lose sight which is a song that I like to teach all the girls and it's talks about important messages so I sing that for them on Monday. And I teach in the first one. You
know things. Well I'm absolutely thrilled that sounds great. On the second day of songwriting week we really get into it. We play my favorite game which is called the shopping mall of life. I figure if we're going to talk to 11 year olds and 10 year old you got to talk their language. So I created this game called the shopping mall of life where the girls all get $500 and the shopping mall has for sale five different items and they have to choose their item and the items are education adventure and travel meaningful work which They're always shocked to find out doesn't carry a big price tag or they don't get paid a lot for the meaningful work. And the other two choices are beauty and boyfriend. Julie would like to buy a boyfriend.
What are the $500 and here's your boyfriend you got it. Casey would you like to buy beauty beauty OK there you go. Beauty Brigitte like beauty OK there you go. You know the topic for Danielle. You don't have to decide yet you can still shop for Mallory You know you want to tell your friend OK. There you go. Have there what would you like a boyfriend ok. Very good I like education for Jennifer Short. Kimberly thank you. John I can say wait a minute wait a minute. Education for Jennifer. $500 for you scare me for a boyfriend and after each girl
makes her selection I ask them all to discuss their choices why they made them. And as a group you have to come up with some some ideas about which are the better choices and which ones might be choices they might want to reconsider and some girls even decide to take their place just that the shopping mall of life and exchange them are average would like to switch to what an education really is now. Why. Why are you trading in boyfriend for education. Because you don't need a voice kitchen so you Jack most on the third day of songwriting week. We talk about messages that the girls are getting from the media from commercial television from radio from magazines and we talk about the fact that they have the not just the right but the power and the responsibility to respond to those messages that it's a two way street they have the choice whether or not to agree with those messages or disagree with messages. And what I do is an illustration of. It was that the girls are getting from the mass media as I take a Seventeen magazine which is a very
popular girls magazine and we go through it page by page and we discuss with the messages are. And so what have the girls he will have them go through the magazine and rip out the pages that are ads for you to make up for his hair products of course. And they're always excited to see just a little of that. So we have the power to decide which is if we agree with and which ones we don't say that we have very clear the songs are right by the time the fourth day of songwriting week rolls around we have got our work cut out for us we've been using the the phrases and the discussion that has been taking place during the previous days to start using it will create in building blocks for a song but by the time the fourth day rolls around we got to write that song there's a there's a lot of work to be done so what we do on Thursday is really intensive
songwriting. We go through the three pages of phrases and words that have been gathered over the last couple of days and we select the things we want to create or song about like that sound or or or. Why did I have that. I just. The boys are involved in a lot of different projects this week. They're working with the guidance counselor who is doing a beautiful job helping them do to do some activities that will have the boys talk about the fact that they value the girls as friends and that they value the girls ideas and that they're happy for them working on the special project while the girls are preparing for their concert for Friday and writing their songs and the guys are making decorations for the stage and writing poems about friendship girls thema sisters and friends and you guys
are doing their section on friends. A couple years ago they thought they were feeling pretty left out. And Bridget and her entrepreneur have asked me to work with the guys. And last year was our first year doing this and amazing modifications in the store doing the share the big day of songwriting week we get together in the morning for a shorter period of time and go over our song when we get ready for the concert we send out of the patients both to movie classes in the school to the boys in the classes. Look you know the girls male counterparts in their classes in the US will invite parents and neighbors teachers and you know life is sort of confusion during the day it's kind of difficult for a lot of parents to come but we invite them and let them know what's going on. And then of course the big event is a concert with a debut there some. The Sun I think we've all had half of those where somebody might say something to us. And sometimes you just feel really bad. We talk about the way that you could make out just let it roll
off your shoulders like a water off a duck's back you just don't let it bother you. You just keep on going and this is our song about how to deal with it when somebody says something to you that you don't like about it was the land that was made. I had a child time to mine and this girl had not had many opportunities she said to me that sisters and friends was one of the greatest learning experiences he'd ever had simply because she didn't know that her feelings were real that they were worthwhile.
That they were good and wet and anything I can do. Why was cancer so important. If you do nothing else. If you listen listen to your daughters listen to what they say and. And tell them that that you believe in them. If they say they want to be an astronaut so you can do it. If they say they want to be a doctor fine you can do it. Help point out to them what they need to do
to topless Airdrie. But don't diminish what they are or what they want to be. Parents are the most important lines to their children are a fun place to meet friends. The premise was theirs. OK in a way I think the parents sometimes feel like their words are falling on deaf ears and I would just encourage the parents to understand that their words are not falling on deaf ears it may appear that way but the girls are listening to them and the girls really do care what the parents think. I think sometimes I hear I do hear parents say why I tell her she's pretty all the time and she
still doesn't think she's pretty. Well perhaps as a parent you might not focus on what she looks like she's got enough parts of a media would talk telling her that what she looks like is what's important. Tell her she's smart. Tell her she's brave. Applaud her for her scholastic achievements or her cheek once in sports. I think maybe our girls need a little more pats on the back for that kind of achievement. Thank you. I am so very proud. Very well done. It was my pleasure thank you thank you all and thank you all for coming and congratulations again to the beautiful wonderful talented great girls and thank you greatly. Thanks.
Wow. Wow. Have a nice weekend and I'll see you after the concert so when the kids say goodbye and I watch them get on the bus and I watch them go away. I wonder what they'll take with them and I hope with Hell take with them is the idea that they get to disagree with ads in magazines that they get to that they are responsible for their choices and their choices start now and and maybe I hope I hope that there might be a line or two in these songs that might come back to them in the back of their brains when they have a decision to make and maybe they'll say oh you can't fool me I know better than that. Paul take a line from one song and just maybe that will just stick and help them out at a time when their challenge that it's what's inside that counts. Well
be proud. Can
I learn that you don't need to wear makeup to be proud of yourself. Should like who you really are for learning that if you don't if you fall off your bike get crushed stick up for a bully and I learned that you should stand up for yourself and that you know everything and treat everyone equally. Stand up for what is right even if you stand you can. Production
of song for sisters has been made possible by a grant from International Paper supporting our community caring about our environment. And. Study
after study points to the preteen years is the time in a girl's life when she suffers a blow meaning loss of self-esteem in upstate New York however and innovative school programs helping adolescent girls create a vision for their futures using a unique methodology song. Join us for a song for sisters. The answer is an easy way.
A Song for Sisters
Producing Organization
Mountain Lake PBS
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Mountain Lake PBS (Plattsburgh, New York)
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"A Mountain Lake PBS production designed to ease elementary and middle school aged girls over the stressful symptoms of a loss of self-esteem. Adirondack singer/songwriter Bridget Ball's Arts in Education program prompted this documentary, which is now available for viewing by the entire country."
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Editor: Frederick, Paul
Producer: Frederick, Paul
Producing Organization: Mountain Lake PBS
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Mountain Lake PBS (WCFE)
Identifier: 4188A (MLPBS)
Format: Betacam: SP
Generation: Master
Duration: 30:00:00
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Chicago: “A Song for Sisters,” Mountain Lake PBS, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “A Song for Sisters.” Mountain Lake PBS, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: A Song for Sisters. Boston, MA: Mountain Lake PBS, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from