I support about a dozen not-for-profits, some involved in human and reproductive rights , some in the homeless community, and some that support arts, science and sports education. One that brings me a lot of pleasure is Sisters4Science, which is part of Project Exploration. The programs are the brain-children of Gabrielle Lyons, an anthropologist and educator, who created them at the University of Chicago. Both programs introduce Chicago public school kids to science, with hands on work at paleontology digs each summer, and after-school science education in 4 of Chicago’s woefully inadequate public middle schools. Project Exploration is open to kids of both sexes, but Sisters gives girls a safe place to explore science.
At the beginning of the term, the girls vote on the projects they want to do. Each session includes a science project, but also works with the girls on how to keep a journal of their scientific work and how to work together respectfully. Health issues, including issues around reproduction and safe sex, are important for these as for all girls, and are included in the curriculum.
I recently got to visit Reavis School’s program. The girls had already dissected sheep hearts, but the day I visited, they were doing a chemistry project with a woman chemist from a Chicago hair-products company. A good time was had by all.