Barnum students love the American Girl Doll Club

Building friendships with the American Girl Doll Club in Barnum

The American Girl Doll Club in Barnum has been making a difference for girls in the area for over a decade.

Roxy Olsen-Hurst’s American Girl Doll Club has been making a difference for Barnum Elementary Schoolers for a decade. The community ed program puts an emphasis on reading, friendship, and creativity.

“I think it just builds confidence in them- even just on the whole friendship side of things,” Roxy explains to The Lift.

“I mean, you have second through sixth graders. That’s a huge age variety, and it’s never been an issue.”

Enrollment has been consistent throughout the program’s history.

The program got its start in 2024. Ms. Roxy and a former student wrote a Youth in Philanthropy Grant together to create a Summer camp for the American Girl Dolls.

It was so popular they shifted to a book club- with multiple sessions per a year.

Each get a copy of a book so they can sit together in a circle and read it together.

“They read aloud, but there’s no pressure to read aloud if they don’t want to,” says Mary Svendsgaard, a former Barnum teacher and assistant club leader.

“They think they’re having fun, but they’re also learning at the same time.”

During the spring March session of the club, the girls read the second book of the Corinne series.

Mary points out, “I think it’s really important for our smaller school district like Barnum to have something like this that these girls can join. They have sports- there are all kind of physical activities- but this gives an option for these girl that maybe aren’t involved in something else.”

Roxy adds, “My goal has always been, ‘What did you want as a kid? And how do you make that happen now?'”