This Girls Group Mentoring Toolkit provides the tools, resources and support to create, implement, deliver and evaluate a quality group mentoring program for girls, ages 9-13, in your community. The Toolkit is intended to be used in a range of communities, and can be adapted to the unique values, needs, strengths and challenges that each community encompasses.
It is important to be clear about the groups of girls you intend to serve through your mentoring program. You may have already considered this while writing out your Theory of Change and in Planning Your Program. Note that each of the ‘populations’ explored is not an exhaustive description, nor does it include a complete needs analysis for working with this group. It is crucial to recognize that each and every community of girls (and individual girl within that community) has a unique story with their own set of needs and interests that should be considered.
The needs of the girls in your program should be revisited when you are designing your mentor training and mentor supports. Additional information and training may be necessary for both staff and mentors who are working with diverse populations.
In learning about the girls in your community, it is most helpful to go to the source. By consulting with girls in your community, you can learn about their interests and needs while empowering them. You might also want to consider speaking with community partners. Some methods you may wish to consider include:
Focus Groups: You can outreach to a small group of girls in your community and host an informal ‘focus group’. It would be ideal to set this meeting in a familiar and accessible space (such as school or community centre), hold it outside of school hours and provide food or a small honorarium to support their engagement. You can collaborate with local teachers or community partners to engage the group of girls and be sure they are a diverse representation of the community or population you wish to serve. If your organization already runs youth programming, think about consulting with girls who have participated in other programs.
Community Research: Contact community allies—community partners, local youth agencies, schools and other local resources—and gather their insights on the needs and experiences of girls in your community.
Community Survey or Scan: Consider developing a survey of a few questions and asking community partners/schools to cast it to girls or parents/guardians for feedback. This could also be done through an online platform.
Below are some additional thoughts and questions to consider when thinking about your program population:
When considering the needs of the girls in your community, it’s critical to remember that they are the experts of their own experiences. Your program can be a place where they share their stories and gain their voices. When considering, researching and learning about the girls in your community, keep in mind that each girl is unique and not everything you read or learn will apply to each of them.