Women’s Stories for a Better Tomorrow
“Boys are jerks.”
Though Kiera is only in middle school, she and her friends have already found themselves facing a wide array of challenges as young women. Body shaming, misogynistic attitudes and comments, inappropriate advances and even abuse. What they hadn’t found yet, was a way to share their stories and inspire change. Until TomTod.
She saw that boys were harassing girls at school, and she wanted to do something. She wondered if she could have an assembly or class at school for boys to attend and learn about what middle school girls go through.
“She told everyone this idea,” Patrick recalled. “Her classmates, our guests, teachers, etc. Soon, an organically-built team of peers latched onto the idea.”
The small team of 4 researched gender based harassment, took a survey of their peers, and decided to continue their idea after What If 101 was over. Patrick invited them to continue working on their idea through What If You Could, TomTod’s idea refinement and mentorship program.
By the fall of 2021 , there were a dozen girls meeting weekly to discuss how they could tackle these tough issues. The mission adjusted from one of educating boys to creating a space for girls to feel safe, heard, and empowered.
As a group, they decided in order for middle school girls to feel truly empowered and listened to, they needed a safe place to tell their stories.
In collaboration with TomTod Ideas, Oakwood Middle School counselors and administrators, COMPASS, and Kent State Stark, the invitation-only storytelling event was created for trustworthy adults to come listen to middle school girls share their stories of adversity.
In May of 2022, more than 100 caring and supportive adults were inspired by Women’s Stories for a Better Tomorrow, an evening of storytelling, poetry and artwork created by Kiera and her team.