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New York, United StatesNew York, United States
Year Founded:
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Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

GirlsTalk/GuysTalk youth participate in various workshops and activities that teach about social awareness, health consciousness, healthy relationships, and positive self-esteem. We teach students they have choices & help cultivate well-rounded youth who make positive contributions to the world.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we teach our kids to think outside the box, to believe in themselves, to invest in themselves, to love themselves, regardless of what that status quo tells them?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We have to re-structure how we work with youth in this country. They have voices that need to be heard and it is our responsibility to listen to them, provide resources and expose them to as many opportunities as possible. That is our responsibility as ‘the village.’ Our kids are stifled amidst rigid disciplinary tactics and pointless testing. How do you expect anybody to flourish in that environment?

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

According to, positive youth development programs engage young people in intentional, productive, and constructive ways, while recognizing and enhancing their strengths. These programs promote positive outcomes by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and giving needed support. THIS IS GIRLSTALK/GUYSTALK. Martin Luther King Jr. said "People who have a stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it." The GirlsTalk/GuysTalk program was designed to encourage students, 11-21, to have a stake in themselves.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Many teens don't talk to their parents or their teachers. Many kids do not have an adult they feel they can confide in. This hinders self esteem and can lead to poor choices. Young people need a platform to express themselves, without judgement, so they may develop their voice with confidence and pride. GirlsTalk/GuysTalk is this for kids. Last year, The 8th grade Valedictorian and Salutatorian each quoted something they learned from GirlsTalk/GuysTalk in their speeches. Parents call me when their kids run away, or when their kids are pregnant. Students confess intentions of suicide. Students express their feelings about their own sexuality. Tough topics that may go unknown if not for GirlsTalk/GuysTalk being there. Our impact is clear.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Currently, GirlsTalk/GuysTalk works with 12-20 youth per workshop. Each workshop is 1.5 hours long and continues weekly during a 15 week semester. Programming takes place during after school hours, with 3 additional trips/activities scheduled on a weekend or in the evening on a school night. Workshops are separated by age and gender (GirlsTalk & GuysTalk), with an additional workshop during the week which brings both genders together, and may fuse similar age groups (i.e. 7th & 8th grade boys and girls). In the last 4 years, GirlsTalk/GuysTalk has served over 200 youth.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

GirlsTalk/GuysTalk should exist in every middle school & high school. We should be in every community, like the YMCA/YWCA. Our curriculum is standard amongst teens but can be easily tailored for every community. Teachers and facilitators will be trained to educate in this unique and special way. We train staff not just to deliver the curriculum, but to exist in the spaces where their students live in order to really relate and provide thoughtful guidance. The next 5 yrs should show growth in NYC, expanding in schools and firming up training methods. In 10 years we should exist across the USA.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Much like museums and other community organizations, GirlsTalk/GuysTalk should be sustained by grants, individual donors and grassroots contributions.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

A lot of organizations are educating young people in similar ways but no organization does it like we do it, for boys and girls, from a deeply individualized lense, with a structured format that is also constantly open to change. No organization teaches everything we do, all in one curriculum (Body Image, Anti-Bullying, Sex Education, Know Your Rights & The Police, Understanding Derogatory Language, Representation of People in the Media, Nutrition & Physical Education, Anti-Littering, Free-Talk/Free-Write, Positive Affirmations). We are revolutionizing education.


Aurora Nonas-Barnes, Founder & Facilitator.