Girls from Aquebogue Elementary School have the opportunity to participate in the nonprofit Butterfly Effect program on a biweekly basis. They are pictured with the program’s founder, Tijuana Fulford. Photo courtesy of Riverhead Central School District

25 girls from Aquebogue Elementary School were selected to participate in the Butterfly Effect Project, which aims to empower girls through enrichment activities and friendship. Now in its fifth year, the program runs once biweekly during the school day.

In the March 14 session, each girl was given the name of a strong woman and asked to impersonate her. In previous sessions, the girls drew self-portraits and participated in a talent show, catwalk and chit-chat sessions. They were also visited by a step team, which showed the value of teamwork.

Currently, the girls are working on haikus with Melissa Dolber Grappone, co-author of “Be Never Afraid to Fly,” a haiku basics workbook. The final haikus will be published in a second book Grappone is working on.

 “We offer the tools to achieve and a safe space where the girls can build their self-esteem.” said Tijuana Fulford, BEP founder.

In addition, the free program offers opportunities beyond the school day, such as dance classes and field trips.

Source: Press release issued by Riverhead Central School District dated March 21, 2019.

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