Project Working for Girls by Children of the Station was born out of youth needs

Eva Ahlström Foundation has been involved with funding Project Working for Girls by Children of the Station ever since the project started. Working for Girls is a part of the Children of the Station Walkers Program, which provides free-of-charge spaces for adolescents for spending time and interacting with others in the form of Walkers House, Walkers Bus and Walkers Cars.

Through the Walkers Program, adolescents get the opportunity to interact with one another as well as with safe adults. For some youths, the staff and volunteers at Children of the Station are the first safe adults in their life. The basis of the Walkers Program is building trust, giving time, and listening to the youth. This is also the foundation of Project Working for Girls.

Children of the Station discovered in their work that there was a lack of knowledge among youth regarding sexual health, which is why Working for Girls was set up to bridge the gap. When Project Working for Girls started, the Walkers Program got a new staff member focusing specifically on the themes of Working for Girls. The target group for the project are girls and young women aged 13-21 years old. The goal for Working for Girls is to increase girls’ and young women’s knowledge of sexual health, their own bodies, relationships, and their own boundaries.

Working for Girls aims to create a space for youth where they feel safe and where they can freely talk about issues on their minds and to get answers for their questions. Working for Girls also provides an opportunity to influence an individual’s group of friends while everyone is gathered around the same table to learn and talk about things.

Director of Operations, Christian Wentzel, from Children of the Station says that he can clearly see through his work that childhood is getting increasingly shorter and adolescence increasingly longer, which is why also issues related to sexuality are becoming relevant sooner than before.

“There are a lot of things in this world that are easier to handle when you’ve been around the block a few times. If you come across them too early, it can cause a lot of confusion and resentment”, Wentzel says. Issues like social media, the increasingly fast pace of the society, and the sheer number of possibilities also cause anxiety for adolescents: “The world is changing, and today’s youth in a lot of ways face completely different challenges than what past generations did.”

The staff at Children of the Station log hundreds of thousands of encounters with youth all over Finland. With the introduction of the Walkers Car, the Program also reaches youngsters in smaller towns.

In Project Working for Girls, the work mostly comes down to making youth feel seen in addition to just spreading information. “We ask them how they are doing, give them time, and actually listen to their answers, which is the most important part of the equation”, Wentzel states. This applies to Working for Girls as well as in everyday life: “We are all responsible for one another.”