Courtesy of Girlz on Fire
The transition from middle school to high school can be tough for many female students. Head of Youth Marketing and Communications freshman Skarlette Smillie and her mother Chief Creative Office and Lifestyle Coach Sophina McDaniel formed the advocacy group “Girlz on Fire” to give girls a safe place to turn to.
Smillie had a tough transition from middle school to high school and she and her mother would discuss personal issues. According to Smillie, those conversations sparked the idea to start the program around November 2019.
“The goal is pretty much to empower young girls and teenagers from the ages 12-19,” Smillie said. “To pretty much raise their self-confidence, make them feel better in their own skin and aware of their resources and how to better themselves and their lives.”
McDaniel collaborated with other women and professors from San Jose State University to get ideas for Girlz on Fire. They all brought new suggestions and collaborated together, which helped the group progress.
“I think having their input was very valuable to the program, just trying to address and have more of a reliability to different things,” McDaniel said. “What might work for me may not work for everyone else, so having those different perspectives and different ethnicities, all of that was great.”
The group holds conferences once a year, but the group is mainly program based, having programs throughout the year. For example, on their website “girlzonfire.net,” a growth and discovery program is offered that lasts for four weeks for girls throughout the Bay Area. There are creative writing projects that the girls participate in to express their passions and future goals.
Girlz on Fire is sponsored by a workout clothing brand Athleta since McDaniel is a promoter for them. According to McDaniel, their partnership offers events and programs but also allows girls in the program to see that there are really big companies like Athleta who want to see them succeed.
Smillie’s goal is to have a sanctuary for all girls to come so that they can learn to love themselves and be more comfortable.
“I feel like girls should really reach out to this program even if they are not comfortable with it in the beginning ‘cause it is just a safe space for girls to go to,” Smillie said. “There is no judgment there.”