A LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FOR YOUNG WOMEN
Peekskill High School, New York
In the last two decades there has been a growing trend amongst youth in America with regards to two phenomena that seem to appear in conjunction with one other. The first is to do with a growing delay in what could be termed ‘the age of responsibility’. Adolescence marks a new stage in life, with the onset of puberty, which calls for increasing responsibility and maturation towards preparation for adulthood. Although not true for all, some youth choose to indulge in irresponsible and destructive behaviors, whereas in recent generations, a teenager would carry multiple responsibilities, and exercise leadership within the community. This growing reality contradicts the very nature of this stage in life, wherein energies are high, and the young person is geared towards doing and becoming more mature and responsible.
The second growing trend is to do with the increase of aggression in youth. Some schools and communities have experienced a rise in aggressive behavior, delinquency, and bullying in recent years. Of significance within this is that the increased rate is higher among girls and young women. Girls also tend to engage more in cyberbullying than teenage boys and current statistics reveal that the average teen girl in America sends over 4,000 texts per month along with hundreds of photos and videos via Snapchat and Instagram. Sexting and cyber sex are also appearing in younger and younger ages. Hence, bullying related depression and anxiety are on the rise – which can lead to substance abuse, eating disorders and has even resulted in suicides.