Go Girls is an after-school program that takes place in Morden, Winkler, and Altona, through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). The program is for a group of 10 girls in Jr. High, and runs for seven to eight weeks.
"It's a program that focuses mostly on healthy lifestyle choices. So it deals with relationships and how to ensure healthy relationships. They talk about food and exercise, and they always present a healthy snack option every time," says Executive Director, Michael Penner.
This is roughly the third year of the program, which also takes time to talk with girls about the issues that they may face around self-esteem, cyber-bullying, and finding a support system.
"It's been very well received. We keep getting more and more requests for this program in different schools," he says. The demand is also expanding into other areas of the Pembina Valley that BBBS doesn't cover, like a school in Carman that requested the program.
Penner says the students have been able to create support systems through meeting in a safe group, and there have even been cases where bullying victims have found healthy ways to deal with these terrible situations.
"Every group has been greatly successful in its own way. We've seen relationships that have grown and been mended. We've seen healthier choices being made," he adds.
Cyber-bullying is becoming more prevalent with cell phones and electronics constantly being an arm's reach away, leaving victims with few ways to escape. This is why they are planning to expand the program by creating one for boys called Game On.
Penner says, "it is very similar to Go Girls. It's a little more activity based, so it's a little more high energy, and then, of course, it deals with the more specific issues that boys face."
Anyone interested in volunteering, or who would like to see the program in their own school are encouraged to call the office and see what resources are available.
"We're working hard at trying to grow the program and expand because we see it meets a real need that is out there," Penner says.