Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sisterhood Lessons Offer Help at Hard Age; YMCA Course Teaches Teen Girls How to Deal Better with Stress, Drama Many Find Difficult

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sisterhood Lessons Offer Help at Hard Age; YMCA Course Teaches Teen Girls How to Deal Better with Stress, Drama Many Find Difficult

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessie-Lynne Kerr, The Times-Union

Girls can be cruel.

Although they don't typically become physical bullies, like boys can, they can become emotional and mental bullies.

Around fifth grade is usually where all the pettiness starts.

The YMCA of Florida's First Coast is trying to help girls deal with the drama and stress that come with growing up and, to that end, has begun a program called "Teen Sisterhood."

The initial group of five girls has been meeting two hours a week at the Yates Y in Riverside with Genevieve Roy, family program director at the Arlington Y. They will conclude the three-week program Wednesday.

"Studies show that many women are still emotionally affected as adults by what someone told them when they were young," Roy said. "The goal of this program is to provide structured, fun, educational and self-exploring opportunities for female teens. It promotes character development, self-determination, social development and positive life choices."

Roy said girls today know much more about drugs and sex at a younger age than girls did 10 years ago. "When that type of knowledge is going up," she said, "their self-esteem is going down. And they won't talk to their mothers about it."

The topics being covered include self-esteem issues, handling stress, drug awareness, anger management, physical fitness and managing peer pressure.

At the session on drug awareness, Roy said several hands went up when the girls, whose ages range from 10 to 17, were asked whether they or a friend had used illegal drugs or tried alcoholic beverages.

Anger management was the topic Wednesday, and Roy began by asking the girls to define anger.

"It's when I feel left out," said Danielle Moyer, 10, in fourth grade at Crystal Springs Elementary School.

"I'm angry when people ask me dumb questions," said Bianca Floyd, 17, who is in 11th grade at Ed White High School.

Savannah Zuber, 12, a sixth-grader at St. Joseph's Catholic School, said she gets angry when people call her a "drama queen."

After discussing things that trigger feelings of anger, Roy gave the girls tips on dealing with the anger, including acting civilly, remaining calm, sticking to the facts, refraining from name-calling or anything physical and even putting it off with a "we'll talk about this later. …

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