Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines – Girl Power
Des Moines, IA


Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines, in partnership with the Chrysalis Foundation and the CHI Mission and Ministry Fund developed and implemented Girl Power, an innovative violence prevention initiative serving young women ages 12 to 18. The program has been successfully implemented at five Polk County after-school programs serving elementary and middle-school age girls. Under the direction of Chrysalis staff, peer mentors are recruited from area high schools and trained to facilitate groups at each of the schools. The after-school staff and mentors help the girls identify characteristics of healthy relationships, develop skills to make positive choices, and learn ways to prevent bullying and dating violence.


Since its inception in 2014, the program has served 545 girls from a number of culturally diverse neighborhoods and lower-income schools. Program leaders are pleased with the initial three-year results and have learned a great deal on how to effectively work with the community’s young women, equipping them with tools to develop healthy relationships in all aspects of their lives. Evaluation reports are showing statistically significant results in knowledge and attitude change regarding healthy relationships for Girl Power participants. They will carry these skills with them throughout adulthood, reducing the likelihood that they will become involved in violent-partner relationships.

Lessons Learned

An important component of the program is engaging school administrators and other key stakeholders to explore organizational practices and policies as related to healthy relationships and bullying. In the past three years, program leaders have engaged more than 12 schools and 33 community organizations in assessing current policies and discussing ways they can improve practices to reduce violence in their communities.

Future Goals

Program leaders hope to expand the number of participating schools and peer mentors. In addition, they would like to host a GirlPower Summit to increase awareness of the program and to advocate for state-level policy change related to relationship violence.

Contact: Laura Wenman
Chief Mission Officer
Telephone: 515-643-8212


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