Wartburg professor and IMpower creator Jenna Haglund is now working on creating a boy’s program for elementary-aged kids in the Cedar Valley.
Haglund started the girl’s IMpower program a year ago after she witnessed an act of bullying between a sister and brother.
“I can’t change the dynamics in the home but I can give this little girl the tools so she understands it’s not OK be hit,” Haglund said.
The boy’s program has been a work in-progress for a few months and Haglund said it will be a few more before the program is up and running.
Haglund says the biggest challenge with creating the curriculum for the program is trying to break the boundaries and stereotypes society has placed on boys.
“In doing my research, it was striking to me to find out that they [boys] define their roles in kindergarten,” Haglund said.
Haglund says these roles can include being an athlete, being computer whiz or being a singer in the choir.
She says this program will work to “break those boundaries” and the program will help teach boys how to accept those differences.
A next step in the process is finding college and high school students to be navigators, or mentors, for the program.
“Boys are different. They have different strengths and different stereotypes they think they need to fill. So we are just trying to make it seem like it’s OK to be themselves,” Alicia Urbain, an IMpower student coordinator, said.
Urbain was a navigator for the girl’s program during the fall 2016 semester. She says being a navigator was a great way to be a role model for girls who may not have one.
“A lot of girls struggle with this so I try to be a light for them, a good example that it’s OK to be different. It’s OK to be unique, but to respect other who are different from themselves,” Urbain said.
Haglund said the navigators for the girl’s program have represented all types of people and to see them working together on this project has been a rewarding experience.
“It’s been really good for them to see that not everybody comes from a good place or has those role models in their life,” Haglund said.
IMpower navigator coordinator Karleigh Crepin said there was never a program like this for her when she was growing up and she thinks a program like this would have helped her from having trouble with self-confidence.
“I wish I would have had a program to teach me how to love myself and to express myself…I don’t want anybody to have to go through what I went through,” Crepin said.