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Erwin Middle School program for girls

Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 6:38 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Educators at Erwin Middle School noticed a need for a program to address the challenges young girls face. Last October, they created the Aerie Girl program and they are already seeing positive changes.

Founders Timberly Hill, Junikka Howard, Latessa Dillard and Michelle Griffin came up with the name Aerie which means Always Eager to Rise, Influence and Encourage. The group of more than 40 girls in grades 6th through 8th meets once a month.

“Just kind of change the just the dynamic of the school within the girls because we saw there was a lot of girl drama and you know things that they deal with in middle school,” says Howard. “We wanted to help them navigate through that and to prepare them for once they leave us in this building to get ready for high school and whatever comes after that.”

Principal Dr. Angela Bush says she is already seeing a difference in the classroom and the hallway.

“We’ve been able to work with them and improve their grades academically by 24% for the entire group. For attendance, we’ve been able to get all the girls up to a 95% daily attendance rate. They’re very respectful. They speak. They’ll walk up to you and Introduce themselves. They’ll tell you their names. They’ll ask who you are. They have really learned how to be a leader and interact with others.”

Friday’s Pink Table Talk: A Conversation For Queens gave the girls an opportunity to meet influential female leaders in their community that are game-changers and making history.

“We wanted them to know that outside of the walls of Center Point,” says Dillard. “You can be a judge. You can be the first black city councilwoman, president of a city council. You can do pretty much anything you put your mind to. We wanted to expose them to some different things that they hadn’t seen before.”

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