This past week, SDRT hosted its very first Girls’ Night edition of Fun Friday! With the end of 2020 approaching, we wanted to check in with our middle and high school girls to hear about what has been frustrating, exciting, or difficult about this year and what brings hope in the year to come. We delivered a special bag of snacks to each student full of hot chocolate spoons (with halal-friendly marshmallows!), organic milk, kettle corn, shortbread cookies, roasted almonds, and fruity sparkling water. It was a cornucopia of treats!

What a beautiful night it was. While the discussion started off slowly, the girls eventually opened up and made themselves vulnerable to one another by sharing the challenges of the past year and even offering advice and encouragements. Prevalent themes included the responsibility of being an older sibling in the family, the challenges of accessing academic content online, the doubts about whether friendships are honest and true, the barriers to applying for college during a pandemic, and so much more. It has clearly been a difficult year for all of them.

One of the 12th-graders shared her advice to the younger girls that they seek good friends, ones who accept who they are without question, especially their culture and traditions. During another memorable moment, one of the 8th-graders sang a beautiful song for the group! Her peers clapped and cheered her on. It’s hard not to brag about our students!

When the discussion was over, two wonderful tutors led the group in a lesson on how to plant a mini succulent garden! They turned out fantastic, and many of the students decided to name their plants: Ariana Grande, Azul, and Bob are some colorful examples.

On her way out, one particular 8th-grade student who has had a truly challenging middle school experience sent me a private chat. She said, “I loved this. We should do this again.” And that we will.

About Mimi Lee

Mimi has been volunteering for SDRT since 2016. She met her husband at SDRT, and they live together in City Heights. She has her Master's in Education and teaching credential in English Language Arts.

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