Ophelia Project empowers and encourages teenage girls to increase their sense of self-worth and maximize their potential contribution to society.
Ophelia Project, a program of Healthy Family Foundation since 1998, is a comprehensive five year group mentoring program serving hundreds of girls annually in 8th through 12th grade, in all three Unified School Districts in the Coachella Valley. Unlike other mentoring programs held after school and on weekends, the Ophelia model consists of group mentoring that takes place in the schools during the school day at the invitation of the school districts. The goals of the Ophelia Project are: increase grade point averages; reduce drop-out rates; reduce absenteeism, build self-esteem; increase graduation rates; increase parent engagement in their child’s academics; promote higher education pursuing college or trade school; encourage career goal setting; and receive scholarship assistance.
The program model includes customized curriculum designed to support each school district’s goals and philosophies, and the comprehensive certification training required of all program volunteers (mentors). We utilize over 100 volunteer mentors and community partner guest speakers, who receive the training to become certified in the Ophelia model. The curriculum is designed to encourage: high school completion, college and career tutoring; goal setting; art projects designed to engage students and enhance scholastic achievement; healthy relationships; building self-confidence; teen obesity awareness; delaying having children; bullying prevention; substance abuse prevention; self-defense skills; financial planning; community service; business etiquette and provides opportunities for academic scholarships. By participating in planned activities with these volunteer mentor “role models”, teens are assisted with setting goals for their future and are guided away from at-risk behaviors and environments. Our objective is to encourage young girls to acquire the skills necessary to make their dreams a reality.
Our volunteers are adult females who come from all walks of life and have one thing in common: They are excellent role models for young girls. Mentors possess good listening skills; are responsible, objective and non-judgmental; demonstrate good leadership; are trustworthy and supportive; and exhibit positive attitudes. Our mentors strongly believe in the philosophies of the Ophelia Project and generously commit appreciable time and effort to mentoring activities as well as mentoring training requirements. All staff and volunteers associated with The Ophelia Project must successfully complete the required trainings before working with the girls of the Ophelia Project.
Most activity occurs during the school year (September – early June). This schedule is attractive to part-time residents who can participate actively during most of the school year. Mentors participate in events, assist with administrative needs as requested and attend a monthly meeting. During the school year, Ophelia girls at each school receive 2 group-mentored programs per month. Each mentor spends approximately 8-12 hours/month with the Ophelia program. Summers are spent preparing for the next school year with available mentors; time demand then is minimal.
Comments from some Ophelia graduates (both now in college)
“Ophelia helped me grow into the person I am today... it not only helped boost my self-confidence and self-esteem, but it taught me valuable life lessons that I wouldn’t have learned in a classroom… The annual trip to College of the Desert campus has opened my eyes as to what is waiting for me after I graduate”.
“Ophelia has given me skills to achieve all great things… I am a strong and empowered woman… I have confidence to be myself and to know that I can achieve anything… how thankful I am to begin my journey on the road to success
because of the help of the Ophelia Project”.