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December 12, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-12-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Mentoring program aids adolescents

By Lauren Carbone
For the Daily .

Inspired by "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day,"
University social worker and mother of two Carole
Lapidos and psychotherapist Sally Wisotzkey co-
founded a mentoring program called "It's Great to be
a Girl."
The program, which is funded by the University,
promotes the positive effects undergraduate women
have on middle-school students.
Along with "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day,"
which began in 1993, Lapidos said she was influ-
enced by Dr. Mary Pipher's 1996 novel "Reviving
Ophelia." Lapidos said the novel "really scared" her
because it showed the truth behind what young girls
think about topics such as self-image.
Lapidos said the program helps young girls deter-
mine how to act in situations such as friendship, bul-
lying and sexual harassment, and felt that they
should not have to go through the heartache of grow-
ing up alone.
Two years ago, 10 to 12 undergraduate women
were asked to participate in this experimental pro-
gram. After going through recruitment screenings,
they traveled to West Middle School in Ypsilanti
where they spoke with about 20 girls about different

issues that affect every girl while growing up.
"I feel it is important for undergraduate women to
be mentors to young girls because often needs, wor-
ries and issues of adolescent girls are overlooked and
not discussed," said Margaret Lassar, an LSA senior
and mentor who has been working with the program
for the past three semesters.
"The program is essentially a prevention-based
one," Lapidos said.
Lassar agrees. "It confronts the issues before they
become a problem."
Beginning as a course for parents to learn how to
deal with the issues their young daughters face in
today's changing society, the program evolved into
involving other young women. Because undergradu-
ate women are still dealing with these controversial
matters, it is only natural that they be the ones who
give "perspective and guidance" to adolescent girls,
Lapidos said.
The mentors even have their own title: "femtors,"
or female mentors. Femtors are taught how to deal
with the problems young girls are facing today.
Much of this program aims to undo what Lapidos
called the harmful effects of television and maga-
zines on impressionable minds.
"It is very important for positive role models to be
part of society," said Jackie Weiner, an LSA fresh-

man studying the effects media has on the perception
of body image. "Society is used to seeing a negative
ideal whereas this program aims to reverse this
Not only does the media plays up the ideal body
type as a size 0, but society as a whole is used to see-
ing women in just a motherly role, such as teachers,
nurses and secretaries, Lapidos said. "It's Great to be
a Girl" promotes "dream building," Lapidos said, in
which the young girls make "dreamscapes" to show
where they see themselves when they grow up. The
program tries to expose girls to different career
The program essentially promotes a healthy body
image, raises awareness of cultural stereotypes, and
teaches girls how to effectively deal with the prob-
lems they are faced with and they are not alone in
their fight to grow up. "Its Great to be a Girl" gives
young girls the chance to see that there are others
who have to same concerns about growing up as they
The program provides a healthy and safe environ-
ment for young girls to voice concerns and know
they will be accepted for whomever they choose to
be. "Girls can feel comfortable talking with each
other about important issues ... and know they are
not alone," Lassar said.

Contirned from Page 1
"We'll see it drift higher because it's a
lagging factor" he said, noting that ris-
ing unemployment may push down
already dampened consumer sentiment.
The question now on investors' minds
is if the Fed will continue to cut rates in
the future.
"They're almost at zero, so this is
probably about it," said University eco-
nomics Prof George Johnson.
Russell said that because this cut is
lower than the three consecutive cuts of
half a percentage point each post-Sept.
11, "the Fed may be signaling that they
are close to being through."
The current rate of 1.75 percent is the
lowest since July 1961. At the beginning
of 2001, the rate stood at 6.5 percent.
A decline in interest rates commonly
leads to cuts in rates on mortgages, cart
loans, personal and business loans and
aims to stimulate the economy, which
has officially been in a recession since
March, by spurring borrowing and
Because investors' expectations were
met, stocks remained largely unchanged
at the end of yesterday's trading session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fin-

Fed trims rate to
1.75 percent
In an attempt to keep the
economy from sinking further into
recession, the Federal Reserve
cut the federal funds rate Tuesday
from 2.0 percent to 1.75 percent.


Prime rate:

5 .
2 Federal funds
2 rate: 1.75*0-



NOTE: Commercial banks were
expected to reduce their prime rates
to 4.75 percent.

SOURCE: Federal Reserve


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