Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Construction Tech Academy's girls support group a success

Ladies of Construction Tech Academy, an after-school program designed and facilitated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, just finished its first year of innovative leadership development and service learning for 30 teen girls at Stanley E. Foster Construction Tech Academy at Kearny High School.
Ladies of CTA Throughout the program, the teens coordinated a number of projects. They planned a Construction Tech Academy recruitment event for local middle school teens and applied for a grant to support the event. The girls learned about the issue of hunger in San Diego and then volunteered at the JFS food Pantry and St. Vincent de Paul. They also created a short documentary film exploring their successes and challenges on campus.

In just a year, the teens have noticed a measurable change in themselves and in the attitudes of girls on campus. One teen participant said that her favorite part of Ladies of Construction Tech Academy was “spending time with the other girls and bonding because it gives us a sense of family and security.”
Another teen reported that she loved “everything about Ladies of Construction Tech Academy! I especially grew from the leadership, group activities, motivation, confidence, self-motivation, empowerment, and all the self-esteem boosters!” Ladies of Construction Tech Academy utilizes nationally-recognized curriculum from the teen leadership department at JFS and will resume in the fall of 2013.
This unique program empowers girls on a campus where the female student population less than 20 percent. Construction Tech Academy’s unique campus offers project-based learning in construction, architecture, and engineering. While there is no shortage of positive female role models on campus (Principal Laura Bellofatto was recognized this spring by the National Association of Women in Construction as Executive of the Year), the girls were still hungry for a formalized support system as they prepare for careers in male-dominated fields. Ladies of Construction Tech Academy prepares them for the future by helping the teens to develop meaningful friendships while learning practical leadership skills, and planning projects that give back to their community.