Our interest in improv techniques as leadership tools started in 2013. After conversations with a multitude of girl leadership programs and improv instructors, corroborated by groundbreaking research from Harvard, we knew the time was ripe for a formal curriculum aimed to help tween girls use improv as a tool for leadership and social and emotional development.
In partnership with the Magnet Theater and Pilobolus Dance Company, the curriculum was developed to match developmental social markers and leadership skills with corresponding improv exercises in self awareness, learning agility, collaboration, empathy, and resiliency. Our Funny Girls NYC-based pilot is an intro-level series of progressive leadership skill classes, with age appropriate improvisation materials geared toward 3rd-8th grade girls. Fifty girls participated from our Fall 2016 pilot partners, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, HYPOTHEkids at Teachers College Community School, and Riverdale Country School, giving us the opportunity to test and modify the program based on the girl’s’ input. Hey world, get ready for these Funny Girl geniuses!
The hoped-for outcome? Girls will self-identify as leaders. They will understand that they are and will be the leaders that their school and community need.
2017 and Beyond
As you know, the Harnisch Foundation’s mission is to create a fair, equitable, and inclusive world. We know that we can’t truly achieve that unless we tackle inequities related to things like race, ability, or sexual orientation in addition to gender.
That’s why our next group of Funny Girls’ partners will be girl leadership programs that take an intersectional approach, groups that chew at the roots of inequalities. Our partners will include and invest in girls who are most impacted by those injustices to lead the way to solutions. Together we will develop the next generation of vocal young women leaders who will smash the patriarchy and other obstacles of injustice in their path!
Interested in sharing your thoughts, have an exercise in mind, or have an idea for potential partnership? Please drop us a note here.
2016 Pilot Partners:
Our Funny Girls Creative Partners: