Girls Club Week in Review Dec. 17-20

We’re wrapping things up here at the Girls Club before the holidays, though we still have a lot of festive fun in store for the next couple of days! This week our older geek girls finished up with their Arduino microprocessors; we will begin our next session with plans for incorporating Arduinos into bigger projects. Our junior animation class finished up their final project with Beck: an AWESOME winter design that will adorn our yearly postcards. Those of you on our mailing list, keep an eye out! On Wednesday, the lil girls’ chorus sang Christmas songs and presented senior citizens with handmade gifts that they crafted in their art class.  It was a fantastic event! We will definitely be working on developing entertainment and fun things for the seniors of our community to do here  at the LESGC. We would like to thank the Grand Street Settlement , and all the seniors for attending.

On Thursday we celebrated our last Adventures in Design class with a super cool music workshop! Our girls teamed up to make some beautiful NOISE using found objects with our fabulous guest instructor Kiran. We also had a evening event in conjunction with GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) screening films about art and activism. And Fabulous Friday became Festive Friday with our incredible holiday party and giveaway! We celebrated the season with delicious snacks and a ton of fun freebies. We even decorated some delicious holiday cookies, made in our very own bakery. Most importantly, we discussed what we are thankful for, and what goals we have for the upcoming year. It was very emotional to hear many of the girls say that they are thankful for the wonderful opportunities Girls Club has provided, and make resolutions to be more active members of their community this year. All of our members left with a very special gift- a gift card to Blick Art Materials, so they can fuel their creative side with some top of the line art supplies.

Happy holidays from the Girls Club, we will see you in 2014!

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Girls Club Week in Review Dec. 3- Dec. 7

Happy December! We’ve been wrapping our classes up with a ton of awesome projects and cool guest teachers. Guest artist Christina Mrozik came into our Visual Anthropology class on Tuesday, and shared her amazing website with our class. Her drawings inspired the girls to draw Christina’s portrait as it was projected on vellum by the camera obscura. Patricia from ITP returned to teach our Geek Girls class. She showed us some cool creations, like a sushi game and photo paint brush, that all started from Arduinos! We even did some problem-solving on programs that she created. On Wednesday, we had our regular homework help, while our Girls Club chorus started practicing some holiday tunes! Thursday got even more festive, with our Adventures in Design art class learning about fashion illustration and then designing some trendy holiday-inspired outfits! We capped off our class with an incredible puppet show performed by the photo class, done entirely in the camera obscura! It was a tragic tale of love and loss, based on a song by rapper Big Sean. On Friday, we had a screening of Reverend Billy’s documentary, “What Would Jesus Buy?” It’s a great film about anti-consumerism (which means buying less and spending less money). Reverend Billy Preaches the Gospel of Stop Shopping.  We are lucky enough to have Reverend Billy right here in our very own building spreading the good word! Saturday, Dec. 7th we held our Fair Trade Holiday Pop-up Shop featuring our “Made by Us” items and our collaborative partners from Nepal (Ghar Sita Mutu), Sierra Leone (Shine On), Congo (Shona), Haiti (Kouraje Design), and Chiapas, Mexico (Mujeres Sembrando la Vida/Natik).
Drawing in the Camera Obscura

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Girls Club Week in Review Nov. 19-Nov. 22

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! 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.

Animation Class

Bella Gaia planetarium show, with performance from our very own Girls Club Chorus!

Extraordinary Women in Science and Medicine, an exhibit at the Grolier Club

Meditation Circle

Hanging with our social justice champion Rosario Dawson!

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Girls Club Week in Review Nov. 11-Nov. 15

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!

[Gala Photos]

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Girls Rock Mars

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”.

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TZONE Explorers!

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!

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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.

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TZONE Financial Literacy and College and Career Planning

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!

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Girls Club Week in Review Oct. 27-Nov. 1

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!

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TZONE Literacy and the Art of Storytelling

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!

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