G.I.R.L.S. Keeping It Real (Girls, Independent and Proud, Relationships on Equal Terms, Leaders Today and Tomorrow, Staying Safe and Strong) is an initiative to empower at-risk 11-15 year old females throughout the city of Wilmington, Delaware, with the knowledge and skills empowering them to make good decisions and lead peaceful and productive lives. Six monthly G.I.R.L.S. Teen Summits (Teen Summits) have been developed with the goal of reducing the occurrence of youth gang violence and related crime by: increasing positive decision-making skills, increasing capacity to resist negative peer pressure, providing girls with a healthy view of interpersonal relationships and human sexuality, coaching participants to channel anger into…show more content… These partners work together to plan and participate in each Teen Summit, so that it is of maximum benefit to the participants. Each colleague facilitates a summit based on their area of expertise. The Wilmington City Police provide safety at each Teen Summit, they have also spoken on the topic of careers in policing, gang resistance, community safety, and the importance of bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community.
A core group of girls continues to attend each summit, including girls adjudicated to a therapeutic group environment. More girls attend each subsequent summit. In one case, one of the girls attending the Teen Summit had planned to meet two older teenage boys prior to going home. As a result of the summit, she called her parents to pick her up instead. Two teen mothers attended the summit with their infants and admitted the serious hardships of teen motherhood and issues that impair their ability to continue their education. At another summit, when questioned ¾ of the group indicated that they knew gang members and one participant asked the gang prevention specialist strategies on how she could help get a friend out of a gang. Another participant felt safe enough to disclose to the whole group of girls that she had be physically and sexually abused by her boyfriend. Coalition experts immediately