Girl Up Club: Empowering females in the school and the community


Maria Walters, Staff Writer

The Girl Up Club has continued to empower young females to support one another in their community and raise awareness in Grand Rapids this 2020-2021 school year. “The organization focuses on empowering girls to achieve their full potential and eliminate gender disparities in opportunities in schools,” Tali Deaner ‘21 said. Deaner and Ella Lado ‘21 introduced the Girl Up Club to East Grand Rapids after hearing about it from a friend at another school. 

The club’s ultimate goal is to “help girls use their innovative leadership to spread and ease awareness for those less fortunate,” Rashona Saydazamova ‘22 said. 

The leaders of Girl Up, at East, have made an initiative to, “make everyone feel like they belong and do whatever they like, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, or ethnicity,” Zoe-Kate Huey ‘21 said.

The club has done many fundraisers, drives, and given money to organizations to help those less fortunate through their life as girls. “In past years we have run many feminine hygiene product drives for the girl bathrooms in the high school, and for women shelters here in Grand Rapids,” Libby Chambers ‘21 said. The club has also given back to the Grand Rapids community by making “holiday and valentine cards for mel trotter ministries and Clack home residents in retirement homes last year, along with hosting many back sales to raise money for the YMCA, a women’s shelter down down,” Deaner said. 

The club leaders welcome anyone who would like to join, boys and girls, so the club can help spread more awareness and grow their knowledge about female empowerment. “We hope to promote awareness through our fundraisers and drives, through the middle school and high school, so girls can rest easy knowing that there are others thinking of them at a time they might feel vulnerable at,” Sahdazamova said. Huey, along with the other members want to emphasize that, “our club is an inclusive space for anyone from the high school to join and, even though it sounds like it from the name, it isn’t just for girls,” Huey said. 

Because leaders, such as Deaner, are graduating next year, juniors and sophomores are preparing to continue the club’s hard work in effecting change in Grand Rapids. “As the founders of Girl Up in our school are graduating next year I want to carry on their legacy and help spread awareness to grades as low as elementary,” Sydazamova said in response to her hopes for the upcoming years. Chambers also hopes that when she graduates, “our efforts will be reflected in a change in the school, and our community around us,” she said. 

Projects, conferences, product drives, and fundraising for women’s shelters are being planned out right now by these leaders. “We are planning on having a femenine hygiene product drive during the second week of October, and have more fundraisers to donate to lower income schools who cannot afford products for girls,” Huey said in response to what she has planned this year. 

“COVID-19 has made it difficult for our goals to grow, but we are still trying our best to come up with innovative ideas to spread women awareness and help those who have suffered greatly from the pandemic,” Sydazamova said. This year has been difficult to give back money to those less fortunate, but the club leaders have not given up in their efforts. 

Girl Up continues to focus on, “promoting education about moments issues and issues regarding inclusivity this year,” Huey said. The club is always accepting new people so, “if interested in joining please follow our Instagram @egrgirlup and join our Remind @egrhsg to 81010,” Deaner said in hopes of spreading awareness of those less fortunate and growing the club further in their city and community.