Philanthropy Friday: Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX)
The Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX) program was designed in 2006 by Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, with funding from The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. Through extensive experience working as a counselor with girls, coupled with a rigorous review of literature on girls’ development, ROX was developed within the conceptual research framework of gender role ideology and the impact of socialization on girls. The program lessons and activities were developed by incorporating the experiences, strategies, and interventions that demonstrate effectiveness through research to promote positive change in the lives of girls.
Ruling Our eXperiences became a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization in 2010 and is currently providing programming to 15 schools in Columbus, Ohio, 15 schools in Cleveland, Ohio, and 2 schools in Western Pennsylvania.
How the ROX Program Works
ROX is a 20-week empowerment program facilitated by trained facilitators (counselors, school counselors, and educators) for girls in elementary, middle, and high school.
ROX trained facilitators deliver lessons to girls via small group interventions providing a healthy and safe place for girls to explore topics such as body image, self-esteem, academic and career choices for girls, leadership, healthy communication with others, healthy relationships with peers and in dating situations, sexual harassment, sexual violence prevention, and physical self-defense training. Utilizing evidence-based interventions that impact specific skills and behaviors, ROX allows girls to learn from one another, practice new behaviors, and consider new opportunities and options for their futures.
After equipping girls with the internal/interpersonal skills to find value and worth in themselves, and to address and confront sexual harassment and coercion, ROX then focuses on teaching girls the skills necessary to defend themselves physically and to experience their bodies as strong and powerful rather than as sexual or for the pleasure of others. This focus on building confidence from the inside out through a comprehensive and holistic approach is one of the innovative and unique aspects of ROX and there is no other similar program with the outcome data and empirical support of ROX.
ROX additionally provides workshops and professional development to educators, mother-daughter workshops, school assemblies, and community workshops.
Seeing the Benefits of ROX
To date over 1,300 girls have participated in ROX through school and community based programming. ROX groups generally meet at school during lunch or after school and involve activities, role-playing, journaling, educational games, and physical self-defense training. These programs statistically show significant improvements in general self-concept and physical self-concept while decreasing their relationally aggressive or bullying behaviors.
Additionally participants in ROX report increases in knowledge, behaviors, and skills around career development, leadership, dating and sexual violence, and healthy relationships. Girls report increased feelings of competence regarding protecting themselves from potentially dangerous or threatening situations and acquiring the skills and confidence to effectively defend themselves.
ROX implementation is supported in schools through grant funding and donations. They currently receive more requests for programming than they can accommodate throughout central Ohio and will only be able to grow the program and the number of girls who can participate if they receive additional funding. ROX is constantly writing grants and soliciting donations to continue to maintain their existing sites and to grow the programs and are always pleased to accept a tax-deductible donation.
Donations can be mailed to: Ruling Our eXperiences, 500 S. Front Street, 12th Floor, Columbus, Ohio, 43215. For more information, contact Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, Founder/Executive Director.
Donations of time and talent are also welcomed. One of the components of the ROX program involves bringing professional women in as guest speakers to talk to the girls about their academic and career journeys. ROX is always looking for women to engage with the girls and share their stories and inspiration.
They are also constantly looking for volunteers who will help with fundraising and promotion. They work with interns, students, and volunteers who are committed to the empowerment of girls. Interested in sharing your time or talent email Lisa Hinkelman.
For more information about Ruling Our eXperiences visit them on the web.
Philanthropy Friday is a feature article by Michele Savoldi that will highlight a Columbus area non-profit organization every other week. For more nonprofit information follow Michele on Twitter at @cbusimpressions and @inkindconnect.