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Girls Surviving: Reflections on the Group Home Dynamic

When I was sixteen, my mom would leave on Thursday nights to teach playwriting and acting classes to a small group of high school girls at a Group Home in town.  It was a program that her and her friend Carolyn, an actress, had founded and which they called Girls Surviving.

I’m going to admit that when I was sixteen I didn’t really pay much attention to the things my mom did. As a teaching artist, she had been involved in programs like this for most of my life and I was only vaguely aware of what her actual job description was.  As a teenager I was mostly just heavily absorbed in my own life, so when  she asked me if I wanted to join Girls Surviving I said yes for mostly selfish reasons: I needed something to do since my high school sweetheart had left for college. It also occurred to me in a rare stroke of foresight that an extracurricular activity might look good on the ol’ college application that I was supposedly working on.

At the time, most of the girls involved  were residents in the group home, which automatically made me a bit of an outsider. On the surface, it definitely seemed that I could not relate to their situation, being that I lived at home with my mom who they all knew (and loved).

The truth was a bit more complicated. I could relate to their situation probably  more than they may have ...