Fearless, Take Two

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli


"Fearless Girl" Sculpture: Kristen Visbal - Photo: Federica Valabrega



Last week I wrote about the Fearless Girl statue in New York City. I didn’t show my kids the blog, but I did show them pictures of the statue and we talked about what it represented, and what they thought it meant. Marlowe has been a guest blogger before, so I asked her if she might want to write a post about it. Sure enough, she did. But this time, so did Dylan.  So, some unedited advice on fear, from this week’s guest bloggers, my daughter Marlowe (age 8) and my son Dylan (age 5):

 First, from Marlowe:

Hi! I am Marlowe Petrelli and if you are reading this you probably read my last blog Be Yourself. Today I will be talking about the fearless girl statue in New York on Wall street. Now I want you to the think about word fearless. What does that mean to you. To me it means facing your fears to help others. I love the word fearless because of the reason I just gave and more like that. I think what the fearless girl statue is trying to tell us is that we should stand up for others and have grit, don’t give up, ect. I think the statue means there is a girl standing there proudly with a bull charging at her. But she does not care because she is fearless and strong. That is why she is called fearless girl. I also think that this statue is not only for girls but for boys as well. This statue is a reminder for everyone to be brave, bold, and stand tall.


And now, let’s hear from Dylan:

This statue on wall.st fearless girl is not just for girls. It is also for boys.

 This statue is telling you that evrytime you are afraid, shes telling you

Just let it go and don’t be  afraid.

(Dylan typed that first part on his own, but asked me to type the rest for him… so I am, but I am just typing them as he says them)

When I am afraid my mom tells me to calm down and talk about the situation with a grownup.  So tell your parents, if you’re a kid, tell your parents to do that.

Its important to face something you’re afraid of to get more good at doing it and to get less afraid.


Every time my kids give advice I am reminded that I need to hear their advice more often. I’m reminded that I need to find ways to give them a voice more often. I’m reminded that kids are amazing in ways that we don’t always highlight or nurture. 

Do you know one place where kids, not just my kids but all kids, have the chance to find, nurture, and highlight their voice? At afterschool programming. Millions of students across the country benefit every day from the time they spend in after school clubs and activities. For some, it’s the ONLY time they get to discover themselves. 

The current administration is proposing the total elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding, which is the largest source of funding for after school programs in our country. The elimination of this funding would mean the elimination of more than 10,466 after school programs that serve more than 1,660,713 children daily. Meaning more than 1,660,713 daily chances to have a young voice find itself, and be heard.

Things are rarely black and white for me, but This Cannot Happen.

Whether or not you directly benefit from the daily partnership of afterschool programming (that allows working households in our country to survive and thrive) you will ultimately benefit from a young generation that is being taught to discover their voices and their talents. You will benefit from a younger generation that is allowed the space to understand and hone their social-emotional skills. Because that generation will soon be in your workplace. At your stores. Running your community. Building our country. Creating our future.

It is your responsibility to nurture our country’s youth. Period.

And afterschool programs are a key factor in making that happen.

Don’t let this administration tell you otherwise.

Here are some simple steps you can take, over your morning coffee, to share your voice. In helping share YOUR VOICE, hopefully we can embolden a future with THEIR voice.

Thanks to Afterschool Alliance for putting this toolkit together.

Afterschool Toolbox

How will you empower young voices today?


Wings & Whimsy Challenge: Howl

Challenge: How can you stand up for the power of after
school today? Tell me about it in the comments below, or
tweet it to me @ErikaPetrelli1


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"Fearless, Take Two", The Leadership Program, 2017


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.