Leadership consultant Radin’s debut book describes her after-school program that empowers middle school girls through animal rescue. The book was co-authored by health and fitness writer Goldman (Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the "Perfect" Body, 2006, etc.).
Radin realized there were no activities targeted specifically for middle school girls, and yet this stage represents a developmental crossroad in their lives. So she developed the Unleashed program based on her extensive background in psychology and coaching executive women. Radin focused on puppy rescue since women and girls are willing to take risks and use their power more effectively when they are passionate about a cause. Her model “aligns with the developmental trajectory of women, their need for community and relationships, fostering a sense of sisterhood.” The goal for young women in the program is to develop mental templates so they are equipped to manage adversity throughout their lives. “Not only do our girls need an environment that permits them to showcase their talents, applauds their success, and encourages them to persevere,” writes the author, “they must be able to fail miserably.” Strengthening emotional intelligence and empathy is embedded in the program, as is embracing their strengths and power as women and speaking their minds. Building a strong network, or “sisterhood,” is an important goal of Unleashed, allowing girls to experience collaboration, support and the strength of female kinship. Radin’s considerable research and experience informs each step in the program. Each chapter ends with power boosts, a series of exercises and questions to build on the chapter’s concepts. The author’s work is well-referenced, and she also provides a two-page list of suggested reading for further study.
A solid resource for parents and educators working with middle school girls; the program goals can be adapted to other issues.