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HAHIRA — Smith Shaw, a Valwood freshman, recently received the Service Project of the Year Award at Upper School Honors Day for introducing the Girl Talk mentoring program to Valwood School.
Shaw, who has a sister in middle school, saw a need for a mentoring program and thought that her middle school years may have been a little easier if a mentoring program had been available, according to school officials.
She heard about Girl Talk from a family friend, as it began in nearby Albany in 2002 by a high school girl looking out for her younger sister just like Shaw.
Shaw recruited fellow classmates Clancy Claire Perry and Camille Singletary and together they started the Valwood chapter of Girl Talk, according to school officials.
Girl Talk is a peer-to-peer mentoring program that offers high school girls the opportunity to mentor middle school girls during their most formative years. Meetings are a safe space for all girls to share and gain perspective on common experiences that have the potential to make a permanent impact on their lives.
“I look forward to Girl Talk every week and I am so glad that this program is available at Valwood,” said Olivia Brooks, a Valwood sixth grader.
The Valwood Girl Talk chapter meets weekly 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays in the middle school.
“It has been fun to watch the younger girls grow and learn through this program and to watch the older girls really own their leadership roles,” said Heather McLeod, faculty advisor.