Calling All Girls: Girls’ Night Out fosters community relationships


Emma Lazarczyk

Junior Janella Corpin helps her GNO buddies put on their laser-tag vests. The group of girls split into two teams. “You feel like you can realte to them a lot and you get to see different perspectives on things,” Corpin said.

Emma Lazarczyk, Photo Editor

Neon lights and girls laughing fills the room. After a friendly competition of bowling, Girls’ Night Out Members continue to motivate one another as they begin a game of laser-tag.
Girls’ Night Out (GNO) is a community-based organization created to ensure that each girl has a place where she feels she belonged. Junior Janella Corpin joined GNO in the beginning of the school year after hearing about the opportunity from learning resource director,  Mallorie Hurlbert.
“I’m a volunteer, but I don’t really feel like a volunteer,” Corpin said. “I feel like the only thing I do as a volunteer is I start conversations, but after that, conversations usually flow and we get to do a bunch of fun activities together.”
The organization’s goal is to build a positive community for young girls.
“GNO welcomes a wide range of interests, talents, beliefs and differences,” GNO Program Coordinator Mallorey Beckloff said. “We encourage all participants, both peers and participants, with or without a developmental disability, to use their strengths to encourage others.”
Volunteers may be in the title, but everyone gains something from the group according to Beckloff.
“You get a lot out of it, not just service hours,” Corpin said. “You get social skills, friends and a good support system.”
Throughout six months, the girls participate in group activitiesacross the KC metro area to form close friendships and grow individually as people.
“We do a lot of things — it changes every week, which is another thing that I really like,” Corpin said. “We do haircare week, practice giving and receiving compliment, how to start conversations, how to order independently … that one is one of my favorites.”
GNO hosts events that allow members to grow in their self-confidence and find a sense of community.
“We go to places where we can play games, have fun, try new things, support each other and practice having genuine conversations,” Beckloff said. “Whether we are at a fitness center or an art studio, we create opportunities for participants to connect with other girls in the group.”
According to Corpin, she wants to help her new friends grow and become more confident in themselves.
“On compliment night, you got to see how grateful everyone was,” Corpin said. “I think that was my favorite night because you got to see that you were helping people and encouraging people.”
GNO allows girls 13-20 to form close friendships with other girls and try new things.
“You can relate to other people and you don’t have to worry about what they think,” Corpin said. “We talk about personal things, so it allows us to connect on a personal level. It’s important to have girls to talk to and girls your age to be friends with.”
For Corpin, GNO has become part of her life even when she is not with the girls and said she regularly checks up on the girls throughout the week.
“It is very important to me to see the girls open up,” Corpin said. “The first week they were quiet and then as the weeks go on you become more of their friends and someone they can talk to.”
GNO works to improve and change the lives of all girls involved. It is their goal to create a community where everyone can grow together as friends.
“Girls’ Night Out makes me really happy,” Corpin said. “You feel like you can relate to them a lot and you get to see different perspectives on things. It makes me grateful that I have people I can talk to.”