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Girls Circle

Program Description Girls Circle is a gender-specific group model for girls and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) youths (9–18) who identify with female adolescence. Girls Circle is designed to address girls’ unique risks, strengths, and needs by utilizing gender-responsive principles and practices to build healthy connections, address challenges, reduce risks, and build social–emotional skills. 

The program’s primary goals are to 1) encourage genuine self-expression and voice; 2) develop healthy relationships and identities; 3) counter harmful gender stereotypes that distort female identity and self-worth; 4) develop healthy emotional coping and decision-making skills; 5) generate awareness and accountability; and 6) empower girls to pursue their full potential. 

Girls Circle is informed by relational–cultural theory and uses resiliency principles, strengths-based approaches, and motivational interviewing. Relational–cultural theory views relationships as central to girls’ development, shaping overall health and resiliency across emotional, physical, social, spiritual, and cognitive spheres. The strengths-based approach balances girls’ strengths and needs to increase protective factors while reducing risks. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a best practice to stimulate change and engage participants in personally meaningful change efforts. 

Core components of the program are delivered through 13 themed curriculum activity guides, each one addressing topics such as mother–daughter circle;  body  image;  mind,  body,  spirit  (this guide is in  both  English  and  Spanish); friendship; diversity; relationships; and individuality. Each session follows the same six steps, including 1) Opening Ritual: an activity that is chosen to initiate the circle process at the beginning of each session and continues for the duration of the program; 2) Theme Introduction: the facilitator identifies the themes to discuss during the session activities; 3) Check-In: a council-type format that offers each girl the opportunity to speak and express her current feelings while all other participants actively listen; 4) Activity: specific activities that are directly related to the day’s theme; 5) Sharing of Activity:   participants reflect on the day’s activities and discussions; and 6) Closing Ritual:  brings closure to the circle and offers the participants a tone of gratitude and respect as they depart.
Program Snapshot
Evidence Ratings
Criminal and Delinquent Behavior
Program Contact
Giovanna Taormina and Beth Hossfeld, LMFT
Co-Founders, Co-Developers, One Circle Foundation
734 A Street, Suite 4, San Rafael, CA 94901

Dissemination/Implementation Contact
Giovanna Taormina
Co-Founder, Executive Director, One Circle Foundation
734 A Street, Suite 4, San Rafael, CA 94901

Program Type
Mental health promotion
Mental health treatment
Substance use disorder prevention
Co-occurring disorders


13-17 (Adolescent)

Geographic Locations

Correctional Facility

American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino

Implementation materials available
Dissemination materials available