The goals developed for each program component within Demoiselle 2 Femme is designed to produce measurable outcomes which assess both strengths and weakness in program implementation as well as provide research data which contributes to programming and policy relative to girls. The signature D2F program model teaches primary and secondary prevention of at-risk behaviors. In addition to prevention, the Demoiselle 2 Femme program also teaches the importance of self-worth, life skills, sexual assault, dating violence, personal hygiene, the concept of inner beauty, social etiquette, marriage and monogamous relationships, refusal skills, dating, combating media messages, addressing peer and social pressure, and so much more. Previous independent program evaluation has demonstrated knowledge, attitude and long-term behavioral changes which reduce sexual risk-taking, drug and tobacco usage and postsecondary enrollment. The D2F Program model is grounded in three major theories:
- Ecological Systems Theory
- The Theory of Reasoned Action
- The Empowerment Theory
The theoretical framework which supports D2F?s programmatic engagement with parents is the Ecological Systems Theory (EST). The EST is a socio-ecological approach which examines an individuals' behavior within the context of their social and physical environment, inclusive of familial, relational, peer, and societal influences. The social environment is comprised of the interpersonal relationships that exist in the home, school, and community. In this framework, a girl's process of creating meaning out her social and economic context contributes to how she comes to view herself in relation to society, which is pivotal in prevention programs. As a result, the D2F program model is designed to reduce or eliminate risk factors by enhancing the protective spheres of influence that buffer youth against negative developmental trajectories.
There is significant research which supports the implementation of gender-specific programming to reduce at-risk behaviors in girls. Young women need information and skills that address their specific concerns and needs, and opportunities to participate in effective programs in order to avoid health risks. Indeed, gender expectations and roles are a strong force in American culture, and boys and girls often receive very different messages about sexuality, sex, and pregnancy. Girls need to know that they have options in life and that they can realize their potential. Gender-specific programming can work to boost the confidence, self-esteem, and skills of girls as they reach adolescencea - time of great risk for plummeting self-esteem (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention [OJJDP], 1998).
At Demoiselle 2 Femme (D2F), gender-specific programming goes beyond simply focusing on girls. It represents a concentrated effort to assist girls in positive female development. It takes into account the age-appropriate developmental needs of girls at adolescence, a critical stage for gender identity formation. During adolescence (between 12 and 18 years of age) girls acquires the ability to think systematically about all logical relationships within a problem. The transition from concrete thinking to formal logical operations occurs over time and the ability to consider possibilities, as well as facts, can influence decision making, in either positive or negative ways. Through implementation of the 3-D curriculum and program services, D2F provides girls with decision making and life skills that will assist their development into womanhood. It nurtures and reinforces "femaleness" as a positive identity with inherent strengths. Given the importance that girls place on relationships, 3-D teaches positive relationship-building skills and empowers girls to use their voice, to speak for themselves, and to recognize that they have choices.
Evaluation Snapshots (click each for more information):