Copyright 2005
Girl's Best Friend Foundation

Girl's Best Friend Foundation (GBF) closed November 2007. 
GBF’s records are archived with Special Collections of the University
of Illinois, Chicago.  In fall 2008, they will be made public:

Elicit and support questioning

When girls ask critical questions, analyze who benefits/who loses in current arrangements, and imagine how things could be better, they're taking crucial steps toward individual and group activism to make change happen.

Here's how two organizations nurture critical thinking and action.

Center for Young Women's Development, San Francisco: Lateefah Simon is a powerful, gentle warrior in the movement to confront, challenge, and organize against the violence and oppression endured by young women who have been homeless, incarcerated, involved in the juvenile justice system, or otherwise severely affected by poverty.

She uses popular education to develop critical thinking, allowing a young woman to use her own experiences as the basis for her learning.

Lateefah modeled the use of social biography as a tool for supporting critical thinking. The bio invites girls to tell who they are through multiple lenses: their cultural/racial/ethnic heritage and identity; economic and educational history; social history; and gender identity. Over the course of time, girls working together and continuing to ask more questions about how they came to be who they are,  create deeper, richer stories of who they are, and why. 

Learn more about the Center's holistic approach and popular education as the basis for all its work for healing and social change.

Sisters in Power for Action, Portland, OR

Terenie Faison, Chirece Jones, and Elisha Williams are young women leaders who have grown up with and through their involvement in Sisters in Power for Action. Together with executive director Amara Pérez, they led a hands-on day of training for Chicago youth and youth workers.

Sisters in Action for Power uses a multilayered political education model to encourage girls and young women of color to dig deep to examine and make new meaning of their lives, history, and communities.

  • Critical questions, the practice of always asking questions (e.g., what is gender? How is gender constructed in our society? What are gender stereotypes?) is used internally, as well as in community consciousness-raising actions (e.g., Where did all the brown people go?).
  • Interactive activities, such as compare-and-contrast studies (of neighborhood grocery stores, for instance) and mock trials, help make learning fun while deepening consciousness.
  • Sisters in Action for Power also produces Critical Addition: Breaking Down the Illusions, a newspaper that combines head-on reporting and sharp editorials with whimsical features such as "Who's Gonna Be a Millionaire?," obituaries for the loss of public land and established neighborhoods, and the Critical Word Hunt (in which key jargon words for each campaign are highlighted).

How do you encourage girls to ask questions and imagine new possibilities? Contact us.

Exclusive resources for GBF grantees

If you are interested in being invited to any of the following, tell us.

Youth Worker Exchanges
GBF hosts periodic discussions on topics that cut across many girls programs.

Learning Circles
Small, focused, professionally facilitated peer groups that meet regularly over seven months, to solve work-related organizational, management, and conceptual issues.

Training & Consultation on Evaluation and Research
Girls programs find the training we offer a great way to learn and carry out girl-friendly investigation and evaluation. GBF offers one or two groups trainings a year, and also underwrites training and consultation.
Read more about our research and evaluation

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