Over the past three years, the pandemic has tested everyone’s resilience through a whirlwind of anxiety, confusion, grief, and uncertainty. For adolescent girls, this experience has been especially traumatic. We are just now beginning to understand COVID-19’s lasting impacts on girls who have had their formative years interrupted by a global health crisis. And it’s clear: these girls need our help.
In October 2020, a CDC report acknowledged that spending less time outside and less time with friends would present risks to youth’s mental and emotional well-being. COVID-19 has indeed caused high rates of anxiety and depression among children, with some studies finding that girls and adolescents are most likely to experience these problems.
In the summer of 2020, in the thick of lockdowns, emergency room visits for attempted suicide rose 26% among girls aged 12 to 17.
Teenage girls, already prone to anxiety and depression, acutely experienced the mental impact of the pandemic. They’ve lived through multiple traumas, including extreme social isolation, a shattered sense of security, hopelessness about the future, and the sudden death of loved ones.
UNICEF’s Chief of Education, Robert Jenkins, said, “Just reopening schools is not enough. Students need intensive support to recover lost education… [and] social development.”
Supporting Girls After the Trauma of COVID
Disrupted education, social isolation, and an atmosphere of anxiety have left teen girls feeling uncertain about the future and their place in it. More than ever, girls need extra guidance and moral support to help get their derailed dreams back on track. This is where programs like Soroptimist’s Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls® can truly shine.
Dream It, Be It offers teen girls support in identifying and achieving their education and career goals. Soroptimist clubs work in partnership with girls in small groups or a conference setting, engaging in activities designed to help girls reflect, connect, and boost their confidence. Girls learn about topics like self-care, stress management, how to handle peer pressure, how to set SMART goals, and how to move forward after setbacks. They also meet local women who serve as role models and share their career experiences to inspire the girls to dream big.
Since 2015, the Dream It, Be It program has reached more than 84,000 girls, and 88% say they feel more confident about their future success. In 2017, Dream It, Be It received ‘The Power of A Awards’ from the American Society of Association Executives, recognizing its outstanding innovation, efficacy, and positive impact.
Programs like Dream It, Be It are well-suited to help teen girls get back on track after having their dreams derailed by the COVID pandemic.
While Dream It, Be It isn’t meant to solve the mental health traumas that teen girls may face, it is a vital piece of the puzzle, helping girls build resiliency, increase their confidence, and establish meaningful connections.
That’s why Soroptimist is determined to offer this transformative program to even more teen girls who need our support in the wake of a global pandemic.
Your Support Matters for Girls
You can help us reach more girls who will benefit immensely from our Dream It, Be It program.
Every gift of $25 can help give a girl access to the tools she needs to overcome obstacles such as the increased anxiety and isolation brought on by the pandemic.
On the cusp of adulthood, adolescent girls still need lots of love, reassurance, and positive examples. Together, we can see that they get the support they need.