Girl(s) Rising


We made a connection to volunteer at a Cass Community soup kitchen in Detroit in December, so at our last meeting we met to prepare for our outing.

The first half of our session one of the Grandmas led, as this was one of her areas of expertise, and she did a great job leading us through the 4 basic needs humans have in order to live a fulfilling life, and how Cass Community is providing and targeting those exact 4 needs. Food, shelter, health, and jobs. We looked through their website in small groups, and each group presented on one of the areas they serve, which led to great questions and discussions on homelessness and poverty.

Next up, we watched 2 amazing videos from the movie, Girl Rising, which I highly recommend. (From their website, you can sign up and get a link to their Girl Rising Curriculum, which makes it easy to turn the short videos into great discussions.) We watched and discussed two girls’ stories - Wadley, from Haiti and Ruksana, from India.

Some of our leading up questions from the Girl Rising curriculum were:

1. Worldwide, how many girls do you think are out of school?

-13 million, 60 million, or 130 million?

2. Why is educating girls so important?

It has one of the highest returns on investment available in the developing world. When girls are educated:

-they get married later,

-have healthier children,

-and they value educating their own children.

A girl with even one extra year of education can earn 10-20% percent more as an adult.

3. Why aren’t some girls in school?

  • Educating girls is not valued in many parts of the world. In developing countries, young girls are often expected to work taking care of younger siblings, fetching water, earning income, or caring for sick family members.

  • Many times when families live in poverty, the parents will choose to send only their boys to school.

  • In more than 50 countries, an education is not free. Parents need to pay for school, books, and uniforms. Sometimes they need to pay for exams and report cards. Some families simply cannot afford the expense: often it is a choice between paying for school, or food.

These short movies brought up lots of great questions which was the perfect preparation for our outing next weekend.

We now schedule at least 3 hours for our meetings, so that girls can play together afterwards while the moms hang out. Some younger siblings were in attendance this week, since they’ll be joining us for volunteering next weekend, and from age 2-12 they played together beautifully at a cafe they invented…


So a week later we filled up two minivans and headed to Detroit! It was a remarkably hands-on volunteer experience, which is usually hard to find for this age group. But we all worked super hard for 2.5 hours cutting up chicken, husking corn, doing the dishes, and cleaning the kitchen.


Afterwards, we walked through the neighborhood looking at the tiny houses the Cass Community built as a new way to help low-income families. These four houses you see in this picture below on the left side are some of them…


And the mandatory group photo at the end… :-)