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Sage Circle offers safe haven for teen girls

Staff reports

Teen-aged girls who need a safe place where they can talk about their feelings and the problems they face in their lives can find a haven in the Sage Circle, a support group sponsored by the Family Support Council.

According to group facilitator, Judy Walsh, the first of three annual sessions that began in January is going very well.

“It is doing what I’d hoped,” she said. “The teens vent about personal problems they can’t do with teachers or counselors, or at least they feel that they can’t.”

Many of the girls find they can’t talk to their parents, and their parents find that they can’t talk to their girls, she said.

But venting is not all.

“They are learning respect for each other and responsibility, and are striving for better self-esteem,” Walsh said.

Through group discussion, involvement in the community and written and artistic expression, the girls are given the opportunity to explore issues that face them daily. These issues may include trust, health, anger and other emotions, friendships, positive self-expression and building self esteem.

Among the ways the girls involve themselves in a community larger than themselves is a visit to the senior center.

“At first, they say, ‘Those old fogies, I don’t want to be with them,'” Walsh said. “As soon as they got in there, they fell in love with the old people. It taught them respect for elders and (they learned that) the impressions they get from other kids are greatly falsified and they have to find out for themselves and make their own judgments.”

Sage Circle is an avenue for participants to bond with each other and the facilitator in a positive way. It gives them a chance, Walsh said, to know they are each special in their own way.

Middle school-aged girls between 12 and 15 are welcome to join the next eight-week session, which begins April 5.

For more information, call Walsh at the Family Support Council 9 a.m.- 5 pm.., Monday-Friday, at 782-8692.