Conflict resolution program mentors teen girls - FOX 32 News Chicago

Conflict resolution program mentors teen girls

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some students at Carter Woodson Charter School in Bronzeville learned some important lessons Friday that could turn out to be life savers. They are part of a group of 6th, 7th and 8th graders taking part in an extracurricular class designed to teach them how to overcome negative influences in their lives.

FOX 32 News joined them as they talked about conflict resolution, a very poignant topic, after the shocking murder of 14-year-old Endia Martin on Monday. Police say another 14-year-old girl shot Martin after a Facebook dispute over a boy.

“Did Monday change the way you thought about arguing with girls?” asked LaKeisha Grey-Sewell, founder of the Girls Like Me Project. Many of the students said it did.

“How many of you all think that is a possibility in your life, that you could be killed for a fight?” Grey-Sewell continued. A number of girls raised their hands.

Martin’s death, while tragic, provided a very teachable moment for the students. They have been meeting every Friday afternoon learning how to navigate the troubled waters that swirl around them every day, filled with violence and media messages that say bad is good. Today a big focus was on conflict resolution.

“I want you to know how to avoid that, how to get yourself out of that, and not get to that point,” Grey-Sewell told the girls.

She has been mentoring girls for the past five years, the last three at Woodson.

“I want them to be able to turn away from that thing that even though their mother, their uncles, or anybody else is doing it, that the future that they see for themselves, that it's a bigger future,” Grey-Sewell said.

For many of the girls in the workshop, the Martin incident hit home.

“When I first heard about it, I was kinda scared because sometimes I argue with people and was just thinking what might happen to me, said 7th grader Cierra Moore.

The girls are taught to walk away from fights if possible, but they know it's tough sometimes.

“I think they're afraid from walking away from the conflict because they're scared to be called a punk, or to say that they were scared of something,” said Quimaya Sewell, Grey-Sewell’s daughter who’s an 8th Grader at Woodson.

Tekia Howard, a 6th grader tried to tried to apply what she's learned to what happened to Martin and her rival.

“They actually could have worked it out, and said I really didn't like how you did that and you probably shouldn't have done that no more, my feelings were really hurt, and blah, blah, blah instead of actually shooting one of the girls,” said Howard.

For more information about the Girls Like Me Project, visit the website.

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