Thanks to a grant from the Wege Foundation, Mosaic Film Experience had the opportunity to partner with Grand Rapids Public School’s newly developed G-Cubed program, a four-pillared afterschool program for girls in grades 3-12 from the seven middle and elementary schools feeding into Ottawa Hills High School.

“The goal of G-Cubed is to engage students in investigating and developing their life story through learning about stories of women in history and social justice lessons,” said Maleika Brown, Director of Equity and Inclusion for GRPS. “We want to help girls uncover their untold stories.”

With this goal in mind, Mosaic Education Leads Mallory Patterson and Randy Strobl of Wrinkle Creative taught students the value of elevating their voices through storytelling and how to create digital films to share their stories.

Throughout G-Cubed’s programming, girls learned about amazing women in history who broke the mold. The lead example was Lorraine Hansberry, the first African-American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. In response to the inspiring, powerhouse women they were learning about, Patterson and Strobl tasked students to think about their role models and have conversations with people in their everyday lives.

“We challenged students to interview their family, neighbors, or community members about themselves,” Patterson shared. “Then we filmed a compilation video to use at the beginning of G-Cubed’s year-end ceremony. By pointing out the positive, amazing qualities of the women around them, we wanted girls to see they can embody those qualities, too.”

The project held themes of young women empowerment, goal setting, and so much more. Girls were challenged to find creative ways to talk about their role models. Some students used poems to share how their moms inspired them, while others utilized animation and words on paper to express why Beyoncé was their icon.

Students shared how their various role models encouraged them to follow their dreams, put in the hard work, and speak up because they have a voice.

“This project opened our students’ eyes to new opportunities and new concepts, and gave them a chance to lead, tell their story, and support each other in new ways,” said Brown. “They had to be creative thinkers and problem solvers and I love that they were able to use and hone these skills in a new setting. Just being able to see themselves and their work on the ‘big screen’ was a huge confidence booster.”

We’re grateful for the ability to walk alongside GRPS’ G-Cubed program to empower and equip young members of our community with the skills they need to think critically, collaborate, and create as they prepare to step into careers. Another inspiring Mosaic Community program is in the books!

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