“Through their participation in Unleashed, girls are empowered to make a difference in the world right now. I love the spirit of sisterhood, solidarity, and purpose this program has engendered among our girls.”
—Noni Thomas, Nightingale Middle School principal
What is Unleashed?
Unleashed is an after-school program that transforms the lives of middle school girls by involving them in all aspects of puppy rescue. At a pivotal time in their lives, girls learn to advocate for others; think critically about a complex social problem; and, most importantly, gain confidence in their ability to lead change.
To “Unleash” the power and potential in girls, empowering them to be social change agents, using animal rescue as their leadership laboratory.
What Makes Us Different?
Unleashed works with middle school girls at a time in their lives when they are struggling with their identity and often experience low self-esteem. This is a stage when girls feel powerless, which can lead to self-destructive behavior, such as eating disorders, inappropriate risk taking, defiance, and bullying. Yet, when it comes to afterschool programs, most of them focus on elementary and high school students. Middle school girls are often the “forgotten” kids. Unleashed focuses on this specific age group at a time when developing self-esteem is critical.
What we do
In the Unleashed program girls get involved directly in an issue they feel passionate about—the welfare and rescue of puppies. Over the course of the 12 week program, the girls learn about the societal issues around animal welfare and rescue. They learn to work together as a group for a common purpose and to respect, listen to, and engage with one another. As they gradually take ownership of the program, they develop leadership skills and confidence in their own abilities to advocate for others. They experience what it means to be powerful, often for the first time in their lives, and ultimately discover that their power can make a difference.