This journey started with a circle, a small group of champions who were brought together at the right time and place, united by a desire to return tradition and culture to the classrooms for our Aboriginal students. The groups, and my work with girls is rooted in my over 15 years of front-line work with Aboriginal girls as an ally; auntie, sister and group facilitator, and finally my own journey of identity. In my 17 years in Vancouver, I created and facilitated girls groups for girls who had experienced trauma; many of these girls were urban Aboriginal and from communities across British Columbia and Canada. When I returned to the Interior of BC; I had a kitchen table conversation with my mother-in-law Donna Jules, a Secwepmec woman and a strong role model in the community. We were discussing Aboriginal girls, in particular the young women including her daughter, my sister; who are strong, resilient young women in spite of the violence, abuse and ongoing colonial legacy around them. Together we questioned what made the difference in the girls who managed to navigate adolescence and those who struggled. We both identified that in the girls we knew the key role in their health was their connection to culture, language and identity, and strong female role models including Elders. I had been reading about Rites of Passage groups in the United States with African American girls and how these groups had resulted in girls staying in school and decreased harm and risk taking. At the same time I was invited by Susan Dixon to meet with Deb Draney and others who wanted to start girls groups in the community. Together with Felix Delorme, who had been involved in Rites of Passage work through the Interior Indian Friendship Society, Deb Draney and Renee Spence from the School District Aboriginal programs and First Nations Education Council, and Susan Dixon then Stay in School Coordinator with the School District, we wrote a proposal to McCreary Foundation to fund Rites of Passage groups for boys and girls in the community. We developed the model in circle with the community, including Elders, youth, educators, parents and service providers. We now have a Grandmother's council that guides us in this work and we provide over 18 groups in primary and secondary schools in the region, serving over 150 Aboriginal girls and boys. We followed this up with a successful application to Canadian Women’s Foundation in partnership with Interior Indian Friendship Society & School District for Rites of Passage groups. This funding allowed us to expand our focus on primary Rites of Passage groups for girls in schools. The Rites of Passage model was built by listening to the community and working towards what they want. The community wants us to use a traditional family approach. This means we want to continue to weave into our program as many Elders, aunties, families and university women as we can so that we can connect girls to as many different ages and stages of womanhood as we can. In addition the essential elements of the groups include indigenous worldview through the medicine wheel and seven sacred teachings; a focus on strengths and healthy resistance; trauma-informed and cultural safety that recognizing the diversity within and between Indigenous girls and their identities. The groups take into account the development needs of Aboriginal girls at a critical stage in their gender identity formation and cultural identity. The Rites of Passage girls groups build relationships between girls and adult females including female Elders, in order to nurture and reinforce femaleness as a positive identity with inherent strengths to support healthy self-expression.