Local Program Fosters Character and Camaraderie
When Melissa Jones started Girls Positivity Club, she had no idea it would grow into the community it is now, just two years later.
“It’s something I developed to teach girls positive habits, how to have confidence in themselves, and connect them in an empowering environment,” says Jones, one of Noble Crossing Elementary’s fifth-grade teachers.
The club was created by Jones in 2018 with the sole purpose of helping the girls in her fourth-grade class at North Elementary.
“In 2018 I went through a pretty hard time in my life,” Jones says.
After her father was diagnosed with brain cancer, and her mental and physical health had declined, she decided she had had enough. Jones joined a group online through a nutrition expert, and the rest fell into place. She found that change started from the inside out.
“I wondered, ‘Why not do this with my students?’” she says.
So that’s what she did.
After realizing that her own childhood had lacked a certain confidence and community that left her with a feeling of inadequacy, she saw that same struggle in some of her students.
“I decided that with my childhood experience and then going through the hardest time in my life, I could make something good out of it,” Jones says. “I took the pain I was going through and turned it into good, and I introduced this to the girls. They loved it.”
During lunch meetings covering topics such as courage and friendship, the girls would talk and do crafts, and soon students were asking for more time during recess. Before she knew it, Jones was expanding these little meetings into an after-school program that quickly grew to other schools.
From North Elementary to White River Elementary, and even to the Boys & Girls Club, Jones saw different needs throughout the community.
Then COVID hit.
“I decided that I couldn’t give up and not do it, and so I pivoted,” Jones says. “I offered those same girls, who were doing my after-school [program], Zoom meetings. Now I do all virtual – a six-week class with girls from the whole district of Noblesville, and then a 12-week program that’s a little more intensive.”
From virtual workshops to small groups and one-on-one meetings, Jones has become a confidant and mentor to young girls, giving them what she wished she had as a pre-teen.
“It can be any kind of girl who joins,” Jones explains. “We’re all coming together with a common goal of learning positive habits at a young age. My goal is that they can apply these to everyday life, and then it carries with them so when they do face the hard things, they not only have the support of our group, but they have tools.”
Jones hopes to expand Girls Positivity Club nationwide, across all age groups.
“I’m constantly investing in my program and my girls,” Jones says. “I would never take the place of a parent, or want to seem like I’m trying to parent someone’s child. I just want to offer another voice who believes in them, and give them tools that they can use with their family and a community of girls – and just support them all the way through.”
For more information on Girls Positivity Club, visit them online.