Know Thy Self


Pretty Girl Academy mentees will learn about the history, the struggle and the awesomeness of black women and they will learn how to deal with challenges and overcome obstacles in this year’s program. Chapters from the book The Sisters are Alright  by Tamara Winfrey Harris, which exposes how black women are portrayed throughout history and in the present day media, will serve as the foundation for each lesson.


Week 1: Stereotypes

Movies, television and the media often depict black women as sexy, aggressive and loud or as caretakers. This week’s session will explore what the Mammy, Sapphire and Jezebel stereotypes are and how they have been used in the past and in the present to portray black women negatively.



Week 4 : Who is in Your Circle?

Good friends can be a source of support and encouragement and they can fill our lives with happiness and love while bad friends can do more harm than good. The friends that we keep can influence how we view ourselves and can help determine what paths we take in life. This session will help our girls learn and understand that their circle of friends plays an important part in building a successful life as well as provide instruction on how to know the difference between a friend and someone who could have a negative influence on their lives.



Week 7-10: PREP Sex Education

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will facilitate discussions about issues relating to sexual preparedness during sessions 7 through 10. We will discuss proper contraception and the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of sexual activity. Also, a panel of men will have a heart to heart conversation with the girls about how to tell the difference between a good guy and guys who only want the “goods” and are ultimately out to harm them.


What better way is there to understand motherhood than by learning from the mothers of the girls of Pretty Girl Academy? In this special session mothers will discuss the challenges and triumphs of motherhood. This week we’ll not only learn about what our mothers go through as they raise us but also celebrate the love, dedication and hard work of Pretty Girl Academy moms.


Week 2: Team-building

Fly down a zip line, experience 3G’s of force on an enormous swing and face new and exciting challenges together in this fun filled team building session. Girls are often described as catty and against one another. This week’s session will help destroy those negative stereotypes about girls by teaching valuable lessons on effective communication and how to work together to achieve a common goal. Individual and group challenges will teach girls to believe in themselves, cheer on their peers and to face their fears.


Week 5: Movie Night- 

Hidden Figures

In this week’s session we’ll watch and discuss the movie “Hidden Figures”.


Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News / Getty Images
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News / Getty Images

Week 11: Field Trip to the National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington, D.C.

We’ll learn all about the rich and vibrant heritage of African Americans this week as we tour The National Museum of African American Culture. During our visit we’ll learn about slavery, the civil rights movement and the men, women and children who sacrificed and worked diligently to ensure that future generations of African Americans lived in a free and fair society.

Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images
Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Our biennial trip outside of Maryland is not only fun but also exposes our girls to the world outside of the boundaries of their communities. Join us as Mickey, Minnie and all of their adorable friends welcome Pretty Girl Academy to the wonderful world of Disney!

Week 3: Pretty for a Black Girl

“Black girls were never the cute ones. You could be ‘cute for a black girl,’ but you were never the pretty one.”- Heather Carper

In our society the dark skin, kinky curly hair and thick lips of black women are rarely celebrated. Women of other ethnicities, like the Kardashians, are regarded as beautiful if they duplicate the things black girls are born with naturally through plastic surgery. This week we’ll learn what it means to be black and beautiful and we’ll dissect why our looks have bothered so many people and for so many generations.

Photo by Chad Baker/Ryan McVay/DigitalVision / Getty Images
Photo by Chad Baker/Ryan McVay/DigitalVision / Getty Images

Week 6: Anger, Twist & Shout

What do people like Shonda Rhimes and First Lady Michelle Obama have in common?

No matter how successful they are or what opinions they hold they are often depicted as “angry black women” in the mainstream media. In this week’s session we’ll analyze what the term “angry black woman” means and learn how it is used to misrepresent the views of well known and everyday black women.

Photo by ronstik/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by ronstik/iStock / Getty Images

82% of African American women are overweight or obese or have failing health. In an effort to get our girls on the path to better health at an early age this session will focus on exercise, healthy eating and maintaining good mental health. Our girls will learn the many alternatives to an unhealthy lifestyle they can implement in their own lives so that they can reduce their chances of to becoming another statistic.