Creating a Social Contract
This activity sets the tone for all the lessons to follow. Girls should figure out for themselves the best ways to interact with others. They should discover that everyone deserves respect, kindness, and a listening ear. They should commit to living by this value system.
- Explain that the plan of Girls Unlimited is for everyone in the room to have equal power during these lessons.
- Following the discussion of power, explain that the plan is for everyone in the room to have EQUAL power during these lessons. In fact, the whole point of Girls Unlimited is to learn to not let anyone have enough power over you that they can dictate how you behave toward yourself or others.
- At the top of a piece of flipchart paper write “Social Contract.” Ask the group to tell you what they need in order to feel safe about participating in the Girls Unlimited How does the group need to treat each other in order for everyone to feel comfortable? As a group, girls will suggest such things as confidentiality, no laughing at others, respect, trust, honesty, listening, and no judgments. If the girls fail to include important items, the facilitator will coax them along until the contract is acceptable to everyone. This can happen by asking questions such as, “Is it okay for us to talk about other girls’ stories outside of this room?” or “Is it okay to call someone’s answer “stupid?” The goal is for the girls to create the contract themselves.
When complete, the contract might look something like this:
|Listen to everyone.|
|Show respect at all Times|
|Confidentiality (What happens in here stays in here.)|
|Be kind to each other.|
|No laughing at people.|
- Ask the girls to raise their hands if they are willing to abide by the contract.
- Once the contract is agreed upon the facilitator should sign it and then each girl must sign it. The contract will be posted during each lesson so everyone can see it. If, during the remaining lessons, any girl in the group fails to follow one of the rules on the contract, the facilitator can simply refer to the contract and point out that the negative behavior was not allowed according to the contract that each girl signed.
- If there is a girl who refuses to sign the contract, she may not participate in the program. Direct her to the guidance office.
|A word about confidentiality: It is essential that every girl agree to keep the personal stories or problems of others confidential. This does not mean that the girls cannot tell their parents what they do in Girls Unlimited. They can freely share the activities and discussions that occur during class. They may NOT, however, share anything any girl reports that is of a personal nature. Again, any girl who does not agree to the confidentiality stipulation may sit out the entire program in the guidance office or library. Explain to the girls that you too, will abide by the confidentiality agreement UNLESS you suspect that a girl could be harmful to herself or others. Explain that if a girl seems likely to physically harm herself or others, you are mandated by law to report your concerns.|
After everyone signs the contract, the lesson is over.