Between childhood and womanhood, girls encounter a phenomenon known as losing voice, according to studies published at Harvard University. Seventy-four percent of 12 year olds surveyed by Girl Scouts of America listed "improving the world around me" as their favorite activity, but a lack of confidence holds them back from taking leadership in the areas of social change they care most about.
We believe that every young girl has the potential to create her own social change - she just needs the right tools and inspiration. That's where we step in.
Girls Driving for a Difference, founded in October of 2014, is a team of four Stanford women designing programs and educational curricula geared towards empowering middle-school girls to become leaders of social change.
This past summer of 2015, our team drove across the country in an RV for 14 weeks, visiting dozens of diverse communities (ranging from Girl Scout troops to after-school programs for low-income youth) and coaching design and leadership workshops geared towards middle-school girls. Our workshops were designed to give girls the tools, inspiration, and creative confidence to identify their skills, discover their leadership style and abilities, and craft their very own mission statement for creating social change in their community.
In total, we crossed 30 states, coached 53 workshops, and reached over 1200 girls in 14 weeks with our leadership curriculum.
watch ouR Kickstarter video to learn how it all began.
Our 'Find Your Drive' workshop curriculum was inspired by the design frameworks we gathered through our work in the Stanford d.school, where we learned that the design process served as an effective and engaging catalyst for social change. We also discovered through user research that design would be most effective as a tool in our workshops when aligned with the process of self-discovery, specifically in guiding girls to figure out the kind of purpose they were driving for and change they sought to create.
For this reason, our workshops present the design process not only as an effective process for creating external change -- i.e. innovating new systems or products -- but more importantly, as a mindset that can catalyze internal understanding. This, in turn, flips the design process inwards!
For us, this is what youth and women's empowerment looks like in the future. This past summer on the road, we were excited to be constantly testing, learning from, and advancing our materials and knowledge in this field as we journeyed across America.
WE'RE IN THE NEWS!
Press Features: FastCompany Leadership | IDEO Futures KingShip Podcast Interview | KCBS News | Ms. Magazine | Chicago Daily Herald | Chicago District 833 on YouTube | 33Founders Episode | Pulse Magazine | The Stanford Daily | Highland Park Library| Design for America national newsletter | The Stanford d.school whiteboard | Pixable | The Half Moon Bay Review | Winston-Salem Journal
Mentions and Endorsements: the Stanford d.school | New York Times | Wikipedia | SAP | Medium | The Stanford Report |Women of Silicon Valley | GoldieBlox | the Anita Borg Institute | Lean In | Experience Institute
MEET THE TEAM
JENNA LEONARDO CO-FOUNDER
recently graduated from Stanford with a B.A. degree in an interdisciplinary field of Science, Technology, and Society. During her time on the Farm, she especially explored her passions for engineering and creativity by serving as the President of one of Stanford’s top undergraduate design service groups, the Design for America studio. Since middle school, Jenna has been focused on leading a change in the world, and design thinking has given her the tools and confidence to make that happen.
KATIE KIRSCH CO-FOUNDER
is a Bay Area local and senior at Stanford studying Product Design Engineering. After attending an all-women's school for seven years, she arrived at Stanford with a passion for women's empowerment in education but a question about how to best address it. Once she discovered the Stanford d.school and the design methodology, she found her answer. Katie is an accomplished filmmaker and writer, a seasoned design leadership coach, a diehard coffee-enthusiast, and a creative designer of products, graphics, and experiences. Through GDD, she treasures the opportunity to be following her dreams by helping middle-school girls find their own.
RACHEL H. CHUNG DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
recently graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Science, Technology, and Society with honors, and is a designer and marketer with a passion for education, empowerment, and design thinking. Rachel also serves as the founder and creative director of Pair Eyewear, a team designing and manufacturing children’s eyewear. Formerly, Rachel was a concert pianist performing in venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall, but upon first being introduced to the Stanford d.school, she has immersed herself in experience design. Rachel has taught in an elementary school and township in South Africa, and through GDD, Rachel has loved the opportunity to continue traveling beyond California while empowering girls.
NATALYA THAKUR DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
recently graduated from Stanford with a B.A. degree in International Relations and is extremely passionate about social entrepreneurship and design thinking. Formerly, Natalya taught design thinking workshops for alumni at Stanford Sierra Camp and wrote her honors thesis on the ethics of social work and women empowerment/leadership in international non-profit initiatives. Her research also sought to quantify the sustainability and level of social impact that programs have on target populations. At Stanford, Natalya served as Class President for two years and worked as an English teacher and camp counselor for youth girls in domestic and international settings.
Over the course of 14 weeks, our RV traveled across 30 states in order to reach over 1200 middle school girls nationwide. We worked with a diverse range of communities, from Boys and Girls Clubs, to girls gymnastics teams, to Girl Scout troops, and beyond, and sometimes we hosted public events open to anyone in the area who signed up! Our journey was both an incredible adventure and one of the most rewarding projects we could have ever imagined bringing to life.
Along the way, we also kicked off a fun YouTube channel geared towards the middle-school girls we were working with! Check out a few of our episodes below:
HOST YOUR OWN "FIND YOUR DRIVE" WORKSHOP!
Our 2 hour-long design thinking and leadership workshop is now available as a Teaching Toolkit, which includes all of the materials and information you'll need to coach a workshop.
A SNEAK-PEEK OF OUR TOOLKIT
This Notebook Guide comes with your Teaching Toolkit and represents your parachute for teaching. It's perfect for using in the moment on Workshop Day, so you can keep track of timing and know exactly what to say!
Never tried design thinking before? Not sure if teaching is your thing? No matter what your background or experience is, we believe you have the potential to host our workshop with confidence, skill, and ease, and even have fun doing it and learn about yourself along the way. We've also created special teaching tools for you, like cue-cards, so that even if you feel nervous on Workshop Day (trust us, we know), you'll still know exactly what to say.
How much time will it take? Reading through the online tutorials (Step 1) only takes about 30m. The whole process takes about 5-8 hours.
How will we receive the teaching materials? We will mail you a box of our teaching materials all printed, organized, and ready to go.
Why should I coach this workshop? This workshop is about helping youth find creative confidence and feel inspired to become a leader and change the world. We usually coach our workshops for middle-school girls, but we believe that EVERYONE could use a little more color, energy, and motivation in their lives.
Whether you're a Girl Scout Troop leader, an athletic team coach, a non-profit leader, a STEM or design thinking enthusiast, a children's museum curator, a full-time parent, and the list goes on... as long as you believe in our mission of empowering youth to make a difference in the world, this workshop is for YOU.
I'm in. How do I get started? That's easy -- just click the button below! We can't wait to meet you!
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questions? contact us at HELLO@GIRLSDRIVINGFORADIFFERENCE.COM
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with your support, we can empower even more girls across America to become leaders of social change.
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If you would like to discuss a corporate sponsorship, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
we would also like to extend a huge thank you to all of our partners and supporters.
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