With uncertainty around what school looks like for students across the globe, Soroptimists can take steps to ensure girls feel supported however they are learning. Whether it’s in a classroom or over Zoom, Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls can provide girls with opportunities to meet professional role models, learn through career education, and explore the resources to live their dreams. Whether you've been involved with Dream It, Be It before, or you're kicking off your first season, we've compiled these top tips to help you provide an effective program in a virtual setting or in person!
First things first! Form a planning committee of members who have the passion and time to plan, implement, and evaluate a Dream It, Be It project. Work together to delegate responsibilities and take the time to read our program resources for guidance. Your team will also want to complete Soroptimist's Standards for Working with Youth form to better prepare you for working with young girls. Building a successful team takes a little work, but the results will be well worth the effort!
Once your team is formed, consider conducting a community assessment to better understand the needs of girls. This step will help determine how Dream It, Be It can provide the most valuable experience. Then, work with several of the girls directly by creating a Girls Advisory Group. By allowing the girls to help plan their own projects, they can offer greater expertise about their needs and become more invested in its success.
Now, it’s time to find the best location for your event, and right now, that may still be in the virtual space! Try exploring existing or new collaborations with schools, youth organizations, or places of worship. Many of these locations will offer a virtual meeting option, such as Zoom or Skype. Once the event location has been established, you can decide to host a one-day conference or small group mentoring event. Choose the model that best fits with learnings from your community assessment, the location of your event, member preferences, and budget. SIA offers tips for delivering Dream It, Be It virtually. You may also choose to fundraise to help meet the costs of your event.
Begin working with your planning committee and Girls Advisory Group to develop a curriculum to fit the needs of your audience. Identify speakers or leaders in the local community who may be interested in getting involved. Guidance counselors, social workers, or paid facilitators can all be a great asset in providing the girls with a motivational event. Finally, collaborate with all of your partners to spread the word and invite girls to the event.
It’s show time! Make sure facilitators and speakers have read through the sessions several times before the event and practice reading aloud the script portions. There is a chance things may not go as smoothly as expected, but focus on celebrating the successes. Making a big deal when things go right can have a tremendous effect on self-esteem and can motivate everyone involved to become even more involved!
After your event, ask the girls to complete the Dream It, Be It Evaluation Form. This evaluation measures the program goal and helps us understand the collective impact we have on improving girls' lives. Don't forget to submit your Project Report to SIA headquarters by June 1 through our online form so your club receives appropriate credit for your hard work--this also helps us count our progress towards the Big Goal!
Most importantly, continue to let the girls know you care about them. They may experience instability in their family or school life, so it is important to be a consistent presence to help the girls create a new and important routine with people who they can trust are committed to them. Following up will help maintain girls' trust and enable girls to stay engaged if they consider dropping out.
For more information, check out our complete Dream It, Be It Planning Resources. This step-by-step guide provides all the information you need to launch a successful program in your community. Get started today!