Last week, I attempted to blog a bit about some of the community service I’ve done here at USC. I didn’t get to talk a lot about some of the special events that we did with the girls, as well as the inter-WYSE bonding that went on. Oh, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my last blog!
Okay, so I’m not sure how clear it was in the last blog, but every week that we go visit the schools, we have a session dedicated to some important topic, ranging from Body Types to STD’s. These are really educational, and sometimes the mentors even learn new things! But we try to keep them as memorable as possible (see the last blog about the condom relay that we did). However, these sessions are only 2 hours every week, and it really is our mission to connect with the girls. So we also hold some special events on the weekends, both for our mentees and for ourselves!
One of the greatest special events that we had my freshman year was a Self Defense session. Basically, we carpooled all the girls to USC, and told them to wear workout clothes (but we didn’t tell them much else!). We then had one of the instructors from USC’s Self Defense class come and teach the girls some cool moves for free! In case you didn’t know, USC has some great physical education classes that you can take- most of which are one or two units. I’m currently taking a Yoga class with Lyssa (not going to lie, you definitely get sweaty in that class), and it’s been so much fun. But this wasn’t a class per se- he went over some basic ways of fending off attackers.
I have some great pictures of the girls learning the cool self-defense moves, but I don’t feel too comfortable posting them, since they are all minors. But here’s some cool pictures of the mentors chilling in between self defense lessons! For some reason, I managed to make an appearance in quite a few photos from the event, but it’s mostly the back of me. We really learned so much from the event, and I think the girls really enjoyed it. I didn’t realize that you don’t necessarily have to be super strong to fend off an attacker. Woohoo! Also, check out Divya’s awesome SWE shirt from last year (v-necks rock!).
On top of these special events for the mentees, we also have some mentor events to facilitate bonding within the WYSE community. For example, we sometimes have speakers come in to talk about an experience they had, that may have been negative, and how they have recovered from it. We had a lady come and speak who had been a victim of abuse, but coped with it by starting her own clothing line of awesome jeans! We also had a nurse from the USC Health Center come in an give us a reminder on birth control options so that we were prepared to answer questions from the mentees. Obviously, we aren’t doctors, but we do try to assume the role of an educated and unbiased older sister.
So on top of all the cool weekly events we have at the school sites, we also have a lot of bonding outside of these sessions! Basically, WYSE is a network of girls all dedicated to the same goal, and we really try to educate the local community and reach out to one of the most vulnerable groups. I really like how we interact with the same group of girls throughout the year, because I think it really makes a difference. I have heard girls say that WYSE has really changed their lives, but I am being intentionally vague as to which girls I am talking about. Because it really is a two-way street. It is “Women and Youth Supporting Each other,” and I have really seen this happen. WYSE has been such an eye opening experience for me, and I am so happy to be able to know such a great network of girls. WYSE <3