The Power of Opportunity

Please use the following as a discussion guide to maximize the use of the short film here, which can serve as a tool for teachers and school staff members to better understand students’ experiences of youth empowerment.

The story told in the film is an example of students’ challenges, successes and obstacles as agents of positive change at their school. The film is not intended to demonstrate an ideal model or template for teachers or schools regarding youth empowerment in a school setting.


A student describes a project on black girls’ empowerment she led with a classmate during black history month for a leadership class, explaining its impact on herself and other students.


Encountering stereotypes and imposed limitations based on skin colour and gender can be a trap for many young black women. Expressing their pride and strength and sharing their experiences with their peers can help them confront and overcome these societal barriers while stimulating self-reflection among all students.


  • Barriers created by social stereotypes
  • Link between experiences of collective empowerment and the development of leadership skills
  • Positive benefits of pride in one’s identity
  • Power of naming and expressing experiences of marginalization
  • Importance of allies validating lived experiences of marginalization


  • Building on significant dates and events in the larger culture as opportunities to encourage students’ exploration of their identity
  • Nurturing students’ passion and interests in order to build self-confidence and self-esteem, and develop leadership skills and character
  • Eliciting positive and voluntary expressions of students’ chosen identities
  • Offering students practical opportunities to take action and realize their goals
  • Providing forums for self-expression by students who are members of marginalized groups
  • Encouraging students to listen to their peers’ experiences of marginalization as a way to develop empathy and to encourage them to become allies
  • Enabling students to make connections between social inequity and their individual experiences

Questions for Group Discussion

  1. What are some of the messages this story offers?
  2. What are the factors that may prevent many young black women from believing in themselves and their abilities?
  3. How can teachers and school staff encourage students from marginalized groups to embrace their chosen identities?
  4. What are other examples of opportunities (such as Black History Month) that occur during the school year that can prompt students to explore social issues of inequity?
  5. What are ways of ensuring that all students develop empathy and greater understanding about the impact of inequity?
  6. How did the project described in this film clip facilitate character development for all the students involved? For the larger student population?