Every year, the Easton Community Foundation chooses six local nonprofit organizations to support as part of its Change for Charity initiative. Our Change for Charity partner for May and June is Ruling Our eXperiences, also known as ROX. ROX is an organization founded on creating generations of confident girls who control their own relationships, experiences and decisions.
To help you learn more about ROX and the opportunities it provides, we sat down with the Founder, Dr. Lisa Hinkelman.
What is the mission behind ROX?
Our mission is to create generations of confident girls who are in control of their own relationships, experiences, decisions and futures. We accomplish this by delivering a 20-week empowerment program for girls in schools, conducting national research with the girls and delivering workshops and trainings for the adults who have an impact on girls’ lives.
When was ROX officially founded and what are its biggest accomplishments since it started?
The research for ROX started in 2006 when I was a professor of counselor education at The Ohio State University. This work grew and incubated for five years while I was at the University. In 2011, when we had programs in 25 schools, I took the leap to leave my faculty role and incorporate ROX as a nonprofit organization. We have been growing rapidly since that time.
Our first year, we piloted ROX in three schools with 57 girls. This year alone we are in more than 250 schools, with over 3,700 girls. That’s more than 6,000% growth! We have been steadily scaling our programming while maintaining strong fidelity to the professional delivery model and to our evidence-based curriculum. We train and license professional school counselors, social workers and educators to deliver our program and they take our curriculum back to their school and run the 20-week program in small groups with girls. This model ensures that girls are having meaningful and relevant experiences and conversations facilitated by an expertly trained professional.
We also conduct national research with girls and recently conducted the country’s largest survey of teen girls called The Girls’ Index. We surveyed nearly 11,000 girls to learn firsthand about the issues impacting their lives — like relationships, self-confidence, social media, body image and leadership — and we are using this data to elevate the conversation about how to best support girls.
What type of work does ROX do on a day to day basis?
Our headquarters is located in Columbus, but we actually have programming operating in 14 states across the country — from Maryland to Hawaii. We support nearly 300 ROX facilitators who are running ROX programs in elementary, middle and high schools. Facilitators participate in a 3-day facilitator licensure training and then implement their programs with coaching, support and oversight from ROX HQ.
We conduct ongoing research and evaluation on the efficacy of our program and use the data to continuously improve our curriculum. We need to be responsive to the needs of girls today and we know that their needs are continuously changing.
We also work to provide education and training to the adults who teach, parent, mentor and coach girls. Through community workshops, parent symposiums and professional development in schools with teachers and counselors, we provide adults with research and strategies that help them be more effective and empowering in their interactions with girls.
What do you love about being a part of ROX?
I love that we’re adding something to girls’ lives that doesn’t exist anywhere else. We are creating opportunities and environments for them to learn new skills, create new relationships and recognize they are not alone in what they are going through. Girls are different after they participate in ROX. They are actually making different decisions because they’re experiencing themselves and their abilities in different ways, and I think that is tremendously powerful. We have an intense responsibility to make the world better for girls and I believe at ROX, we are crafting and creating the solutions for many of girls’ most challenging problems. We are equipping girls with the skills they need to move through the world with more strength and confidence, making courageous decisions for themselves and their futures.
What does it mean to you to be a part of Easton’s Change for Charity?
I was elated when we found out we were selected! Our growth over the last few years has really deepened our roots in Central Ohio. Despite this growth, many folks haven’t yet heard of ROX. This is an opportunity to share our organization and our work with the many Easton visitors.
The financial support that ROX will gain from this donation will help us expand our programming. It costs about $75/girl to put her through the 20-week program. We do not charge girls for participation—either the schools support the program fees, or we raise money to help girls participate. I always think of it like this, for each $75 dollar raised, we are able to provide a girl with 20 weeks of ROX, which I think is an amazing deal.
Other than participating in change for charity, how else can people support ROX?
We would love women and girls over age 10 to join us on Thursday, June 6 at 4:00 PM on the Easton Square, behind Brio, for a female-only safety and self-defense workshop called ROX on the Square. At ROX we believe that girls should be able to stand up for themselves in all types of situations and we want to help teach these important skills to moms and daughters as well as groups of girlfriends and co-workers.
Other ways to support ROX include providing scholarships for girls to participate in ROX programming, volunteering to serve on a ROX committee, introducing us to your local school district, and sharing our work with your employer. When people connect to the ROX organization, it’s because the work resonates with them and they believe in what we are trying to accomplish. If people have an interest or passion in the work we are doing, we have a place and a role for them to help us grow and continue to move forward.
For more information on how to support Ruling Our eXperience’s further, visit their website.