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Civic Impact

G Day for Girls connects preteen girls with strong female role models

The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is something Emily Rose Antflick has taken to heart. She’s the Toronto leader of G Day for Girls, a one-day event happening April 26 that aims to celebrate girls ages 10 to 12 as they take their first steps towards womanhood.

Also in attendance will be adults, which G Day refers to as champions: the person in each girl’s life who will pledge to support her. “A big part of this is intergenerational sharing. We show the girls a diversity of perspectives, and allow them to hear different stories,” Antflick says. Antflick, who trained as a Rite of Passage facilitator in Bali, elaborates: “We’re really trying to create the village, which is something that’s happened all over the world and throughout human history. It’s something that our culture has lost touch with, so we’re inviting the champions to come and be the village for this one day.”

G Day for Girls will host nearly 400 participants, split between youth and adults. The girls will have a day of workshops built around themes of body positivity, encouraging female friendship, the safe use of technology, and sisterhood; the workshops for adults will include teaching safe sex to teens and achieving work-life balance. At the end of the day, the champions and the girls will be reunited for a ceremony that will see the adults welcome the girls into womanhood with dance, affirmations, written words, and other elements they will create during the day.

“There are a lot of questions in families around how to support girls and their mothers during a time when the roles can become very adversarial. When these difficult times come up, it’s possible to pull up memories and have the touchstone of good memories. It creates a positive space that doesn’t always arise naturally in families.”

Antflick chose to hold the event at the Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park partly because it is already home to a number of culturally-driven organizations. “We wanted a space that was really embedded in the community,” she says. G Day will also offer a number of discounted or free tickets, “so we’re really hoping to make it accessible to the whole community.” Proceeds from ticket sales will help support AFRIpads, a sustainable menstrual product initiative in Uganda.

Mostly, Antflick hopes that the event helps support girls as they move into their teen years. “When we don’t create this type of thing for children, they start taking on themselves, and the types of things that kids do aren’t always safe or aimed at growth.” 

Source: Emily Antflick
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