Classes are winding down soon at the girls club, which means we are getting more done than ever before! This week in Animation we had a very busy class, because we started to animate our healthy food sequences! We finally got to put all the artwork we have been making to use, and we also shot some stop-motion self portraits for our video. Our tweens and teens benefitted from a visit from Noodle.org! These brilliant women led a workshop, showing us their brilliant app. which simplifies the high school search and application (a nightmarish process that New York youth must confront as mere 8th graders). In Geek Girls, we had a visit from a very special guest. Patricia from the ITP program at NYU showed us her program that displays moving images that react to sound! We also started planning some projects of our own, such as temperature-sensitive flower made of LED lights, and writing a bit of “pseudo-code.” On Wednesday, we had tutoring and finalized the songs we would be performing for the Bella Gaia planetarium show. Our Thursday art class of we explored drawing in a cartoon style in the art section of the “Adventures in Design” section. We discussed how exaggeration, and facial expression are useful tools for getting an idea across in cartoon art. We also talked about the differences in proportion for the human body, and how they change how an image looks and feels. The average human is about 6 1/2 times as tall as their head – but fashion figures are typically drawn 9 heads high, while cartoon characters can be as small as 3 heads high. We experimented some more with portraiture and the camera obscure in photography, while geek girls, learned solder! We also learned the importance of coding through rainbow loom bracelets, and experimented with LED lights and code.
It’s been a little while since our last weekly round up, but the Girls Club has been very, very busy in the meantime! We kicked off our week with an incredible trip to the 2013 Glamour Women of the Year awards. We watched strong women present awards to other courageous, inspirational women who are actively changing the world. Recipients included Barbra Streisand , Gabrielle Giffords, Kerry Washington, and teenage activist Malala Yousafzai. We were especially excited to see Malala; her bravery has showed us that everyone has a right to speak up, no matter what your age. We can’t wait to read her book! It was truly a moving night and the Girls Club is always so grateful for the opportunity to attend.
Tuesday was yet another glamorous night, but instead of Carnegie Hall, we were right here in our own building! We had our very first Gala in our new space; over 300 people came to support the Girls Club. And we put on quite an event! Our stars were definitely the GC Chorus, who wowed us with their rendition of Alicia Keys’ “Superwoman.” They did a great job, but on Wednesday it was right back to practicing for their upcoming performance at our planetarium show with Bella Gaia! Our one-on-one tutoring program was packed, as usual! On Thursday we rotated our Adventures in Design classes, so our girls were introduced to their new art, photography, or geek girl class for the very first time! We ended our busy week by slowing down, and taking some time to reflect with the excellent author and professor Hettie Jones. Hettie helped us bring out our inner writers with clothes, of all things! She showed us some fantastic poetry written about clothes, including some of her own. It was a great way to wind down and get introspective after a long week of celebration. See you next week!
Posted: November 16th, 2013 under Girlville.
Girls Rock Mars is a weekly class being held in our new East Village Planetarium, led by Chiara, a high-school wiz-kid who interns with Carter Emmart at the Rose Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. This past week we started exploring the solar-system using the iPad application “Solar Walk”.
It’s been an exciting week of science here at the Girls Club! Friday, our partner, the BIOBUS, held a public panel discussion on “Cultivating Positive Attitudes Toward Science in Middle and High School Girls” with Dr. Deborah Berebichez, the first Mexican woman to receive a Ph.D. in Physics, (wow!) and Dr. Kamala Modi, author of the influential report, “Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” The event was packed full of brilliant women STEMists and the conversation was heated! Everyone left the event fired-up and committed to creating innovative ways mentor and engage LES girls in STEM careers.
Building upon this momentum, TZONE this Saturday was devoted to Biological and Environmental Sciences. The BIOBUS leading ladies, Sarah Weisburg, MS and Latasha Wright, Ph.D., discussed their impressive career pathways with the girls and introduced them to their work with the BIOBUS (a cutting-edge mobile microscope lab housed in a converted 1974 transit bus). In the afternoon, the girls hit the streets, visiting local community gardens in a “bioblitz”. The aim was to collect samples to be analyzed back in the BIOBUS parked on 8th Street and Ave. D. We collected worms, leaves, dirt, decomposing pumpkins, and flowers. In the BIOBUS we observed the samples using high-tech stereo-microscopes. We were even able to capture and print out beautiful images of our flower samples. The second half of our science class was all about daphnia, a small fresh-water crustacean that serves as a model organism. We observed daphnia under the microscope and were able to see its beating heart, pumping digestive tube, and twitching eye. Very cool! After printing out images of our microscopic daphnia, we investigated how these creatures respond to different types of light (white, red, green and infrared lights). Turns out, daphnia seek out warm light just like humans do!
We are all excited to have the BIOBUS as a permanent fixture of the Girls Club Center for Community. The BIO”BASE” will be a state-of-the-are community science lab, where girls will receive hands-on training from Ph.D. level scientists, nurturing their natural curiosity and critical thinking skills. From microscopic organisms to stars light years away… girls will be able explore the universe right here on Ave. D!
On this past FAB Friday girls further explored the art and craft of storytelling with the Moth. This special Moth performance included four high school seniors from across the Big Apple. These brave young ladies shared intimate, true-to-life stories that were both heart wrenching and hilarious. We were all impressed with their confident performance and storytelling skills. Lucky for us, the Moth is coming to teach a class at the Girls Club in Winter 2014… so more girls can learn the secrets of storytelling and how to breath fire into true tales of ordinary life in the LES.
This Saturday our TZONE girls started planning for their future! To gear up for this possibly stress inducing, yet ever so critical workshop, Riki led the girls in mindful body movement workshop where we practiced team building (“having each other’s back”) and confidence building (“I am stronger than whatever is in front of me”). Feeling confident, relaxed and ready to take on the world, we dove into the depths of financial literacy! In the TZONE Melissa from FLIP (the women’s Financial Literacy and Independence Program) led a discussion on the “cost of living” and smart budgeting in the big apple! Over our delicious harvest meal, Chef Sam talked with us about how to prepare a healthy meal on a tight budget. In the afternoon the high school girls participated in an in-depth College and Financial Aid planning workshop with CUNY Financial Aid officer and long-time Girls Club mentor, Rana Emerson. The tweens, meanwhile, participated in a separate workshop where we discussed the question, “what is your relationship to money” and explored the meaning behind the phrase “money can’t buy happiness.” This led to an interesting conversation on the distinction between “needs” and “wants” in life. Each girl also worked on developing her own “mission statement” and presenting it to the collective. It was a full on day financial planning and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface in providing the girls the tools they need to succeed in reaching for the stars! Onward and Upward!
Posted: November 2nd, 2013 under TZONE.
Tuesday, our older Geek Girls learned to solder and create code for button programs on their Arduino microprocessors. We learned that buttons work by opening and closing electric circuits, and then we analyzed the code we used in order to understand it better. In Animation, we worked on making some cool fall crafts that will star in our next animated film (stay tuned)! We used our giant camera obscura for some fabulous portrait shots in this week’s Visual Anthropology class. The girls used the lenses built into the camera obscura to reflect and project their images on pieces of paper, and then draw around them. Very cool! Chorus and Homework Help were both jam packed on Wednesday! Thursday marked our Halloween Spooktacular; we had some festive fun with an special Halloween photo shoot, and a ghoulishly geeky project in Geek Girls! The girls made pumpkins and ghosts out of flashing LED lights that they soldered and coded themselves! Our Friday class was FAB as usual; some amazing ladies from the fashion line Boy Meets Girl came to talk to us creatively cultivating careers in the Fashion Arts. We learned that fashion is hard work, and requires dedication and perserverence. They even brought some goodies for us!
Today we explored on the art of storytelling… the personal and the political. The first half of the day we reflected on “the stories we tell ourselves” and “telling our own stories” through the medium of poetry. We studied women who have mastered the art of storytelling such as Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou and Eve Ensler. We read a Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” as well as selections from Eve Ensler’s “I am an Emotional Creature.” We then created our own “emotional creature” poems and shared them with each other. For lunch we had our usual, deliciously healthy food to nourish our bodies, and the added delight of local honey to soothe our sweet tooth. Our lunchtime lesson in locally sourced honey tied in directly with our afternoon workshop with the one and only Beehive Collective, led by phenomenal women artists in Maine! The “bees” offered us a hands-on lesson in the art of visual storytelling as they shared with us their masterpiece “Mesoamerica Resiste” (9 years in the making!). They described how this intricately detailed drawing tells the collective history of people’s resistance to exploitation and predatory capitalism in Central America. After this serious discussion we all went upstairs to the Girls Club’s Alphabet City art studio to create some story telling artwork of our own, utilizing our “camera obscura.” We learned today that there are many ways to tell our stories and we have many stories to tell!
In the Tyra Banks TZONE this week we explored the topic of ethics and civic leadership. We talked about the “F word” (a.k.a Feminism) and reflected upon our everyday experiences of gender inequality. After a heated discussion, we ventured out to Brooklyn to check out Suzanne Lacy’s Stoop Project, “Between the Door and the Street.” This communal performance art act encompassed a city street lined with women on stoops all discussing a range of social, economic, and political issues affecting women and girls. Girls had the opportunity to hear women from diverse backgrounds converse on the stoops and relate this back to the conversations we had had earlier in the day. Moreover, Girls Club members had their very own stoop which enabled them to publicly engage in an extended conversation for passersby to overhear. We were the youngest stoop on the block, but notably the loudest and last ones standing on this chilly autumn day!]
We’ve had quite a busy couple of weeks here at the Girls Club! Programs are in full swing and the Girls Club had its official ribbon cutting last week. The grand opening ceremony was highlighted with a performance from our little girl choir, who got the crowd on their feet and singing in no time! Our Tuesday Photo girls worked on their giant camera obscura, while our Geek Girls went to work creating and testing the very same thermometers that are used on the International Space Station! On Wednesday we had our weekly tutoring program, while our Chorus girls started writing a theme song for our planetarium. We can’t give it away, but it’s going to have a very “spacey” sound, that’s for sure. This week in Animation, we continued to create materials for our healthy fruits and vegetables sequence. The girls have created beautiful landscapes, and clay versions of their fruits and vegetables, which they will begin animating in the next session. On Thursday we kicked off our writing class for Girls Club moms and friends with award-winning writer Hettie Jones. Our Adventures in Design girls were also very busy – in photography, we did a portrait shoot using omni lights, while our art class learned how to make beautiful cameo portraits with tracing paper and watercolor! The tween Geek Girls watched Stephen Hawking’s incredible film, “The Story of Everything,” which demonstrates with special effects how an explosion of gas billions of years ago paved the way for, well, us! Our teen art class, Art 101, learned about the intricacies of classic mosaic art, then made their very own mosaics with different types of dried beans. Our Friday class was FAB, as usual. We had a blast in our hula hoop workshop run by Maria, Girls Club mom and hula hoop extraordinaire!