By Shalon Maral
Outreach Manager, Got Choices
In 2012, ITVS’s Community Classroom partnered with the Girls Scouts of the USA to create the curriculum “This is a Story You Have to Tell: Women, Girls, and the Criminal Justice System.” The collection features modules from three ITVS films: Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story, Troop 1500, and Girls on the Wall. The Girl Scouts have since adapted the resource to be used as curriculum for their national programs Beyond Bars and Girl Scouting in Detention Centers, reaching nearly 17,000 women and girls around the country. This week, their program in Northern California, Got Choices, will present at the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. Here is a video portraying the project, followed by reflection from Shalon Maral, the Got Choices Outreach Manager.
I started out with Girl Scouts 22 years ago as a volunteer and I now have the most incredible job! For the last 10 years, working for Girl Scouts as an Outreach Program Manager has opened my heart. Our program, Got Choices, is a nationwide Girl Scouts in Detention Center Program. It is very strong in Northern California and continues to grow. We serve at least 660 girls a year in our council, in 18 sites in five counties.
My girls are in juvenile detention centers, on probation, and in group homes. Girl Scouts is working with girls from all walks of life. They are involved in gangs, drugs, and prostitution, to name a few of their choice activities before Got Choices… and they are Girl Scouts. We have weekly meetings where I am potentially the only person that the girls see from the “outside” for days on end. These girls are MY girls. And I know that the work we do with them matters. Continue reading