At The Policy Center we are encouraged to reflect upon our own experiences to gain a better understanding of what we have learned and to think about how it has informs our being. As an intern at The Policy Center, I had never been exposed to the in-depth, complex issues surrounding girls. After a staff meeting in which we discussed the programs we have developed and what we need to do in the future to expand our reach, I did a reflective practice about what I learned from the meeting and how it changed the way I view the issues surrounding girls. Below are the questions I asked myself, and my responses to these questions.
What do I know?
I know there are significant differences that exist between the way boys are treated versus the way girls are treated, and the way men are treated versus the way women are treated. Being aware of an issue versus truly understanding it is the difference between seeing and doing. Based on what I have learned at my time at The Policy Center, I now realize that I need to educate myself so that I can better serve girls, women, and society. I see now that these issues are pervasive in America, and if these issues exist in America in 2015, what does this mean for the world and the girls and women around the world?
What do I need to know?
I need to expand my knowledge base about the issues surround girls and women. I need to first be knowledgeable about the research and cultural dynamics of being a girl and a woman. I then need to be given the tools to work with girls and women from different backgrounds so that I can help each unique girl and/or woman in the way she needs to be helped.
What do I do with what I know?
Once I have a holistic, comprehensive understanding of the world for girls and women, I can change the way I interact with the world as a woman to help to change the way society sees and interacts with other girls and women.
How does my doing inform my being?
By realizing, understanding, and acting, I can help girls and women and society raise and treat girls and women in the way they should be treated—as intelligent, competent, and equal members of society.
By stopping and reflecting upon what I have learned throughout my time at The Policy Center, I have been able to come to these conclusions. I have examined myself and what I have newly learned. This has allowed me to better understand what I know, what I do not know, what I need to know, which in turn guides my actions in the future. By understanding my experiences at The Policy Center and what it means to me, I have realized that I want to help girls and women. I look forward to learning and reflecting upon my experiences, which ultimately will help me grow as an individual, and as a woman, to better serve girls and women throughout the world. ¤
Stephanie Walker is the Development Intern at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. She is a Master of Public Administration from the University of West Florida, and current resident of Jacksonville, Florida. She is developing a growing love for non-profit work, especially on the development of young girls and women.