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Erwin Middle School Girls Program

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Educators at Erwin Middle School have noticed the need for a curriculum to address the challenges young girls face. Last October, they created the Aerie Girl program and they are already seeing positive changes.

Timberly Hill founders Junikka Howard, Latessa Dillard and Michelle Griffin coined the name Aerie which means always eager to ride, influence and encourage. The group of over 40 girls in grades 6-8 meets once a month.

“Just kind of changing the school dynamic within the girls because we saw that there was a lot of girl drama and you know things that they face in middle school,” Howard explains. “We wanted to help them through this and prepare them for when they leave us in this building to prepare for high school and whatever comes after.”

Principal, Dr. Angela Bush, says she already sees a difference in the classroom and in the hallway.

“We were able to work with them and improve their academic grades by 24% for the whole group. For attendance, we were able to bring all the girls up to a daily attendance rate of 95%. They are very respectful. They speak. They will approach you and introduce themselves. They will tell you their names. They will ask you who you are. They really learned how to be a leader and how to interact with others.

Friday’s Pink Table Talk: A Conversation for Queens gave girls the opportunity to meet influential women leaders in their community who are game changers and history makers.

“We wanted them to know that outside the walls of Center Point,” says Dillard. “You can be a judge. You can be the first black city councilwoman, president of a city council. You can do just about anything you can think of. We wanted to expose them to different things that they had never seen before.

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