BEE Club Inc. began with the story of Akilah Blount, a senior student who created a space for girls from all backgrounds and experiences to advocate for themselves without fear of shame or judgment after not being accepted into a girls’ organization at Westlake High School in Atlanta. In 2013, Akilah led the BEE Club’s first meeting, welcoming 100 girls to a world of possibilities in which sisterhood, community, inclusivity, and collective leadership took precedence. Over the past 8 years, BEE Club Inc. has flourished into a Black woman-founded and primarily led non-profit, where over 300 girls have voiced their experiences, advocated for communal causes, and organized for transformative change.
Beginning in the classroom, girls receive gender-related messages that may limit their belief in their abilities, overall confidence, and confidence as leaders (Texas State University 2019). Furthermore, Black girls face unique barriers in schools, including lack of support in academic enrichment courses, subjection to stereotypes, and over disciplinary practices that can collectively lead to higher dropout rates and likelihood of incarceration (American School Counselor Association 2017). Girls’ leadership development, including mentoring and community and school support, is a proven way to address both gender and race inequities in schools and promote systemic change for all female students. Within our HIVE School Leadership Model, teen girls work alongside school counselors and school social workers, serving as peer leaders who organize and engage in meaningful, self-directed activities to further develop their skills as leaders and inspire female leaders of the future.