As a mum to a girl, I’m acutely aware of the challenges that she may face growing up in today’s society. Life wasn’t easy when I was a teenager, and that was before the days of social media, cyber bullying and the other horrors we hear about on a daily basis.
A close friend of mine has just started working for a local charity, and the more I hear about it, the more comforted I feel that there are amazing organisations out there looking after our girls.
The Juno Project
The Juno Project works with girls aged 14-16 who’ve experienced a range of challenging and difficult circumstances; encouraging them to explore their behaviours, attitudes and responses and develop a growth mindset that will enable them to overcome barriers and achieve whatever goals they set themselves.
Their work is based on three simple words:
ENCOURAGE, ENTHUSE AND EMPOWER
The Juno Project works within secondary schools with a specially designed programme – This Is Me.
In small groups over a period of 8-12 weeks, the girls share their experiences and concerns with a trained facilitator, who helps them to develop positive strategies and move forwards from any challenges or less positive behaviour patterns. The groups explore the relationships they have with themselves and with others, plus the skills they will need post-school.
The girls are paired with a mentor at the end of the Yr 11 programme, who supports them for the next two years; helping them through their transition from school to college, an apprenticeship or a job.
When you hear some of the stories and read the feedback from the girls in the programme, it is both heartbreaking and humbling.
The Juno Project was founded by Ali Golds, one of The Independent’s 20 Extraordinary Women of 2017. Ali is an author, growth coach, and speaker. She has worked with businesses of all sizes,as well as advising awarding bodies and other leading education-based organisations on enterprise and entrepreneurship. She was appointed lead adviser on a UK government review of entrepreneurship education, ‘Enterprise For All’, in 2014.
Ali specialises in coaching female founders, particularly single mums and women who’ve experienced domestic abuse, and is passionate about empowering them to achieve economic independence.