by Lisa Tome
Although she's the mother of three boys, Rachel Barr is ready for some Girl Talk.
Barr, of Port Deposit, is working to start Girl Power, a Cecil County chapter of a national mentoring program for girls - Girl Talk.
She is being assisted in forming the club by a pair of North East teens - high school student Taylor Price and middle schooler, Brianna Price.
"I'm going to get a girl one way or another," joked Barr, who is launching Girl Power.
The mission of Girl Talk is to help young teens build self esteem, develop leadership skills, and learn the value of community service.
Barr explained what motivated her to bring the organization here. "I just feel like there is a huge problem in the community.
“We have a higher than normal (teen) pregnancy rate. We want to provide positive role models and do fun stuff. We want to make more productive females in our society," said Barr.
Barr knows about being a productive female. She's a wife and mother, and is active with Perryville Little League. She volunteers with two fire companies, works as an emergency dispatcher for the federal government, and is a substitute teacher for the school system.
Adult mentors who sign on for Girl Power need to fill out an application and provide a copy of their driver's license. "We need strong, positive role models and someone with life experiences that the girls can relate to," said Barr.
Barr feels that there are a lack of activities for young girls who don't play sports. She hopes to bring awareness to issues such as cyber bullying and provide girls with positive alternatives.
Members of Girl Power can be girls as young as fourth grade through middle school. That group will be led by the high school leaders/mentors. "The older girls are getting a mentoring role. The group's leaders are high school girls," said Barr. "Everybody has an active part."
There are no uniforms and no fees to join. The group will meet once per week. Meetings will be held at the Perryville Branch Library. But the group is open to all. Activities will include crafts and lots of talking.
Topics will include purpose, personality traits, friendship, and others.
"I have a list of topics that we will discuss. We will tie those into real life, here and now. Come as you are. There will be no judging and no bullying," Barr said.
This is the 8th chapter in Maryland of Girl Talk.
"I feel like there's hope for Cecil County. I want to try to be part of the solution," said Barr. "I wish I had this when I was in middle school. I was mean. I was the stereotypical mean girl."
She hopes to expand this program throughout the county. Anyone interested in Girl Power and Girl Talk may contact Barr at Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call and text at 443-309-5741. There is also a facebook page entitled Girl Power.
The first meeting will be held at the Perryville Library on March 13 from 3-5 p.m. All girls, from fourth grade and up, are welcome.