Teton Valley GAP! – $5,000
Girls Actively Participating’s grant spoke to all of the Community Foundation’s strategic pillars. The Grant Committee saw that with this grant the Foundation could simultaneously invest, empower, and enrich Teton Middle School girls. GAP! is an after-school program at Teton Middle School available to all girls. They experience topics such as developing relationships that lift instead of hurt, implementing mindful tools, understanding the power of authentic voice, embracing uniqueness, observing the impact of gender and media, and discovering personal strengths – all while learning from strong female mentors from diverse sectors of the community.
GAP! promotes success for girls through education, self-discovery, and community building. This one-of-a-kind program, offered to all 6th through 8th grade girls, was piloted at TMS last year. This year’s grant will continue the work accomplished last year in the pilot program, as well as add an assistant to help conduct meetings.
Girls in the Teton area are blessed with many sports opportunities. A missing link, however, is the opportunity to learn cultural and lifelong social emotional skills such as successfully handling conflict in a relationship, exercising voice and bravery, and implementing leadership skills and self-awareness. Also missing is exposure to accomplished female mentors eager to share their experiences in business, politics, the arts, government, etc.
According to a recent youth needs assessment, 35% of students believe that misuse of social media and cyber bullying is a problem for themselves and for their peers. The GAP! Curriculum addresses social media and cyber bulling – issues many educators and parents have not yet figured out how to handle. This is just one example of a powerful benefit not found elsewhere in the community.
GAP! has and will continue to welcome girls of any socio-economic status. Programming is offered at a cost that is at or below any other options available. Scholarships are available to those who need them, and families who don’t need scholarships are given the opportunity to sponsor a girl who does. A recent rising university student who attended three years of GAP! in middle school wrote, “GAP! was an instrumental part of my young life here, and I am so grateful to have the help in accomplishing my future’s goals.”
The GAP! program meets once weekly at Teton Middle School. A nine-week session is offered to each grade, with the hope of having a total of 24-30 girls participating. GAP! has found that charging a nominal fee creates more buy-in amongst parents and students. The fee per student is $25 per trimester,
GAP! has a 22-year success rate in Jackson, Wyoming and local parents have asked us to bring the program to Teton Valley. With today’s students maturing earlier and facing even more difficult obstacles
Healthy collaboration makes this an effective and successful program in Teton Valley. Additionally, the GAP!