On Wednesday, November 7, the KIPP DC Smilow campus launched the first Pretty Brown Girl D.R.E.A.M program in the Washington, D.C. public charter school network. The Pretty Brown Girl club’s mission is to educate girls of color and encourage self-acceptance by cultivating social, emotional, and intellectual well-being.
The Pretty Brown Girl club originated in 2010 in Detroit, Michigan, after founder Sheri Crawley observed the lack of dolls with melanin for her daughters and their friends. Sheri then created a brown skinned doll along with a book and curriculum for an after school club because she wanted more girls of color to grow up feeling confident about their beauty, race, and uniqueness.
The D.R.E.A.M. program is an ‘instructionally-sound and fun’ program that aligns with the five modules of the Pretty Brown Girl Pledge:
- Dream big
- Remember that I am beautiful inside and out
- Enjoy learning and laughing
- Always believe in yourself
- Make healthy choices
Allison Artis, principal at KIPP DC Quest Academy, saw the success of the program elsewhere and wanted to bring the energy and insight to her students. After much planning and organizing, KIPP DC Valor and Quest Academies kicked off their Pretty Brown Girl club this week, with around eighty 3rd through 8th grade students in attendance. During the hour-long launch, the girls filled out a survey that gauged their confidence and self-awareness, attended a presentation by Sheri on the importance of being a proud woman of color, and broke out into smaller groups based on grades to get to know their group leaders.
For the next seven months, the girls at Quest and Valor will meet immediately after school on Wednesday with their group leaders. The Pretty Brown Girl club hopes to build a safe space for the KIPP DC students to feel included, excited about their future, and closer to understanding themselves as an individual as they navigate life as an elementary and middle school student.
This year, Pretty Brown Girls is a pilot after-school club at KIPP DC Valor and Quest Academies. Across the KIPP DC network, cheerleading, orchestra, coding club, and finance are some of the other extracurricular programs offered after the school day. Each principal works with students and families to decide what enrichment programs are best for their school.