Grrlz of Valley Gardens Middle School

The Grrlz of Valley Gardens Middle School.
Image: Talia Potash /Winnipeg Arts Council

The Valley Gardens Middle School Grrlz Club in Winnipeg, Canada is working to create social change – with superhero trading cards! This after school teen group meets weekly to discuss social issues that pertain to women and girls, encourages creative projects, and more. According to the Winnipeg Arts Council,

“[T]hey make crafts, play games and have group discussions on topics from healthy dating relationships to self-esteem issues. Once a month or so, they volunteer in the community or help out another organization with events. The major goal of Grrlz Club is to empower girls in their teenage years and help them realize that girls are awesome and to help them inspire, heal and transform the community, each other and the world in which they live.”

Indeed, these Grrlz keep busy in the program, which ultimately fosters self-expression and a love of activism. With this in mind, the collaboration of the Grrlz Club with self-taught artist Jennie “O” resulted in the creation of “The Craftastics: Agents for Social Change.” The Winnipeg Arts Council facilitated the creation of the girl-Agent trading cards, which feature superheroes conceived by the passionate and intellectual Grrlz Club.

One of the superheroes is called “Click,” and has the ability to “take away a gossiper’s voice for 24 hours.” She can also “make ‘uncool’ teens cool without changing anything about them.” Her mission is to eliminate gossip and make schools more inclusive.

Another superhero is “The Bookmark,” whose mission is to “end discrimination against nerds,” and to “empower teens to open a book before turning on the tv.” The Bookmark has the power to “change humiliating graffiti into compliments by waving her magic bookmark,” which will empower “nerds” in high school to be themselves.

The Craftastics project has become a way for these teens to address issues that affect them in school, as well as an outlet for creativity and a source of empowerment of young women. The Valley Gardens Grrlz Club is a phenomenal after school program that teaches girls about their own power (superhero or not), and how to create change in the world.

For more information about the Grrlz program, and how to the trading cards were made, visit the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Craftastics: Agents for Social Change page.

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