I make healthy choices now

I make healthy choices now

"I make healthy choices now."

Since 1994, SAY has been providing counseling services in Sonoma Valley. Marina Stiefvater runs Girls Circle, a group diversion program that offers teens who have come into contact with law enforcement an opportunity to “make right” on the behaviors that got them into trouble. The girls in Marina’s group have looked at their behaviors and learned tools to make better choices in the future.

When asked about the value of Girls Circle, the participants talk about how it has helped them become less judgmental and learn respect. “We have a lot of things in common, which we never would have thought before the group,” says one participant. They all value the relationships they have built in the group, saying that “It’s good to get advice from the group. We all have the same story, but we all have different backgrounds.

In going through the Girls Circle curriculum, the girls have begun to notice changes in their own behavior, and their families have seen it too. One girl shares, “My mom was so scared for me, even though I wasn’t for myself. She didn’t hate me, she was scared and worried. When I got arrested for being drunk, I had to go to Juvenile Hall. My mom lost hope – and I never had any. She’s seen a difference in me since I’ve been working with SAY, and since I got clean and sober.”

Another girl shares that, “Before, I didn’t care who I was hanging out with. Now I’ve learned that the people who were letting me do dangerous things aren’t my friends and aren’t trustworthy.”

Peer support is invaluable in Girls Circle – the girls support and challenge one another, helping them make smarter choices: “I used to want to be a famous singer, but that’s not very realistic. So I’m going to finish my GED and take business classes at the Junior College. I want to stay out of trouble.”

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