Bridging the dream gap

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Three incoming Bartlett seniors host a skill-building event for younger girls

Three incoming Bartlett High School seniors recently put on an event designed to help younger girls develop personal skills and inspire them for future success.

“Bridging The Dream Gap” was a free youth-led summer event focused on equipping young girls with the skills to navigate the world around them confidently and consciously and to help them explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-oriented careers.

CAREER PATH EXPLORATION – The girls went over several examples of potential career paths, here shown going over a presentation about urban planning.

The event, hosted by Anastasia Karasev, Maliah Sackey, & Dawn Jardinico, took place at the Singleton Community Center the last full week of June, and dedicated a time and place for young girls to discuss healthy coping skills, teamwork, body image, what makes a good friendship, and more issues facing today’s youth, while also participating in art projects, crafts, outdoor activities, and fun STEM-oriented experiments.

The girls were presented with examples of successful women in STEM fields to inspire and encourage them to follow their interests with the confidence that they are also capable of succeeding.

TEAM BUILDING – One of the activities campers conducted was an exercise in teamwork, in which they worked to pass a hula hoop around the circled group while holding hands.

The event was oriented toward girls ages 10-12 years old and throughout the week enjoyed considerable participation. Twelve camp participants responded to flyers announcing the camp, with an average daily participation of 7-8 girls.

Speaking with Karasev, she expressed that she and her teammates wanted to provide younger girls with skills and experiences that they believed would help them in later school-age years and hopefully propel them to succeed as adults. She said they intended to, “give them advice we wish we had heard and tools they will need to be successful.”

The group overcame several challenges to execute their vision – its conception and development having to be balanced during exams and all the activities at the end of the school year. Another challenge was finding funding and the resources to put on the program, as well as a space to host it, although according to Karasev, it came together very well and they were able to meet their goal. Karasev further commented, “compiling the knowledge [to present] was a challenge, including finding the right sources (therapists, Ph.D.’s coaches, etc.) to explain and clarify the concepts we were discussing.” Karasev and her team were able to find a lot of useful material at careergirls.org for the representation of women succeeding in their presentations of STEM-related professions.

EXPLORING SCIENCE – A demonstration of an “elephant toothpaste” chemistry experiment is conducted as campers explore science related career paths.

“We have had good feedback from the participants,” Karasev said about the camp, “we seem to have had a good impact.”

Not only a benefit to the campers, but this leadership project has also helped these seniors gain valuable experience and build confidence about pursuing goals and achieving them.

ARTISTIC EXPRESSION – Campers show off their artwork completed during the program’s activities. Pictured here with campers are incoming seniors who put on the camp: Anastasia Karasev (far right) Maliah Sackey (far left) & Dawn Jardinico (second from left).

Laura Belyak, the mother of Anastasia Karasev, helped as an adult advisor for the team’s project and said she was very proud of the girls’ amazing work. “It was their idea, they organized the event, got the flyers everywhere, signed people up, followed up, and did everything themselves,” Belyak said.

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