Apr 21, 2021

March 2021

Virtual Workshop 2020
Virtual Workshop 2020

Greetings 4GIRLS Friends, 

 Spring is here, and “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”  We hope you are well and looking forward to the positive changes on the horizon to our now one-year-long global pandemic. Throughout the struggle, we find ourselves stronger than before, and even more grateful for the people who support our work. 

 After our first-ever Virtual Workshop on November 7th, we saw the need, the opportunity, and the capacity to continue our virtual empowerment endeavors.  Of course, there is nothing as powerful as our keystone event, an in-person Weekend Workshop, with two full days of inspiring speakers, engaging and fun activities, relevant educational modules and the gathering together of 100 + excited middle school girls with their high-school-aged Junior Mentors.  But until it is safe to facilitate these types of events, the Virtual Workshop, Virtual Empowerment Events, and Virtual Community Events are a powerful way for 4GIRLS organization to connect with our participants and volunteers, and deliver our mission of inspiring and empowering middle school girls to identify as valuable, authentic, and resilient. And worthy

We are pleased to announced our 2021 word is (drumroll) WORTHY.  At 4GIRLS, we believe our words are important and every year we select a word that becomes our Workshop theme.  This year, we took it from one of the girls’ affirmations after the virtual workshop, when she confidently stated: “I am good enough.  I am worthy.” This word will pervade our planning, inform our curriculum, and influence all that we do this year to deliver our mission of empowering girls.  It is a powerful message that must be heard and taken to heart, especially in these challenging times. And we have certainly challenged ourselves in adapting to the situation and finding new ways to empower girls.  Here’s what we have done lately.

We formed a Virtual Connections committee who met regularly with Junior Mentors to plan and implement Virtual Empowerment Events, as well as Social Media campaigns to deliver our message and get the word out.  Our Junior Mentors (high school girls) have been very active in posting and following 4GIRLS social media, having contests, and sharing ideas and hobbies with our target audience, middle school girls. We kicked off the year with a virtual Community event co-sponsored by our District Councilperson to celebrate the Women in America that Make the Difference.  A panel discussion with Long Beach’s own Dr. Jane Close Conoley, Michele Dobson Esq., City Auditor Laura Doud, Carmen Perez, and Debra Montalvo Layton was moderated by 4GIRLS’ very own, Kimberly Mendez.  In March, we celebrated Women’s History Month with a virtual Community event featuring three (3) young women who have demonstrated their worthiness in arts, athletics, and technology.  Aman Batra, a Punjabi American poet, Jaime Potter, Director of Sports Medicine at Cal State Fullerton, and Amber Kobold, Program Manager at Activision inspired all who participated in the event. In April, 4GIRLS is having a virtual Empowerment Event to coincide with Earth Day, in which middle school participants will be able to select one of four items to create out of recycled trash, planned and led entirely by our Junior Mentors.  Who would have thought you could make a solar oven out of a shoe box?  And stay tuned…We are also in the planning stages for another Virtual Workshop coming this summer.      

The 4GIRLS leadership team is also very excited that our board continues to grow with new and diverse talent.  Kirsten Miller was a Junior Mentor for 4GIRLS as a high schooler, then became an adult Mentor at Workshops while she attended college at CSULB, then joined the Advisory Board when she graduated, and has recently joined the Board of Directors as our youngest member and full-fledged 4GIRLS representative. As, she begins her career as one of the few women in technology, Kirsten is a perfect example of what an empowered young woman can achieve.

In closing, we wish to thank our Worthy 4GIRLS community for their support of our work, and extend our best wishes to all as “Blossom by blossom, the Spring begins.”  Stay inspired, stay empowered, Stay hopeful.

The power of words (2019)
The power of words (2019)
2019 LBWorkshop
2019 LBWorkshop
Empowerment Event April 2021
Empowerment Event April 2021
Nov 10, 2020

4GIRLS Project Report - November 2020

Brenda Villa, Keynote Speaker
Brenda Villa, Keynote Speaker

Greetings 4GIRLS Friends,

We hope that this message finds you all healthy and safe.

During the past several months, 4GIRLS has been hard at work designing and delivering our program in a new virtual format. The culmination of this effort was the first 4GIRLS Virtual Workshop ever, which was held on November 7, 2020. By all accounts, the event was impactful and accomplished our goal of inspiring and empowering the middle-school girls in attendance. The feedback received from the girls included “This is the best workshop I have ever done”, “I am ready for new ideas to come my way”, and, “Thank you so much for today!!! I haven't felt this happy and powerful ever until today.” WOW.

The theme of our Virtual Workshop was “Bold”, and one clear embodiment of the word was our keynote speaker, Brenda Villa, the most decorated female water polo player ever. She is a four-time Olympic medalist and four-time World Champion! Brenda, a child of Mexican immigrants, began playing water polo at age 8, and, in high school had to play on the boys’ water polo team because there was no girls’ team. She was the first student from her school to go to Stanford University, where she was awarded the 2002 Peter J. Cutino Award as the top female college water polo player. Through her keynote message, Brenda demonstrated to the girls what it means to have grit and tenacity and how important it is to follow your dreams. She is now helping other kids follow their dreams through the Brenda Villa Foundation (https://www.bvfdn.org/our-story), which strives to give access to aquatic sports to youth in under-resourced communities. Brenda shared, "Anything that you are the first in, make sure that you are not the last." Excellent words of wisdom. Brenda!

Some other important topics covered during the workshop included mindfulness to teach the girls how to be present in the moment, breathwork to show the girls breathing techniques to control the mind, which in turn controls the body, and a segment on mental health. The topic of mental health is always important and especially so during these challenging times in which we are living. Symptoms of anxiety and depression have increased, in some cases significantly, during the pandemic and youth are not immune. In fact, we learned during the 4GIRLS workshop discussion, that mental health issues are on the rise in youth and that girls have a higher incidence of depression than do boys. Important tips, tools, and resources for coping with anxiety and depression were shared with the girls. In addition, segments on journaling, accomplishing goals, sparking joy, and self-affirmations also provided the girls with methods to shift any negative thoughts or self-talk. Some of the powerful affirmations shared by the girls included, “I am unstoppable”, “I am a trail blazer”, “I am good enough”, “I am worthy”,  and, “I am ready to be me.” The middle school girls that attend our 4GIRLS Workshops never cease to amaze us!

The 4GIRLS leadership team and extended team of volunteers feel energized by our first Virtual Workshop and look forward to continuing to leverage a virtual platform to help drive our mission of inspiring and empowering middle school girls. We are also very excited that our board continues to grow with new and diverse talent, including the latest addition, Caryl Strong, Managing Director at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Caryl brings extensive experience in accounting to the organization and will be closely aligned with our CFO. Welcome to the team, Caryl!

In closing, we wish our 4GIRLS community joy and peace as we embark upon the holiday season.

 

Sincerely,

 The 4GIRLS Board of Directors

I am...
I am...
Virtual Inspiration
Virtual Inspiration

Links:

May 20, 2020

4GIRLS Project Report - May 2020

4GIRLS Workshop, 2019
4GIRLS Workshop, 2019

“Everything can change in an instant. Everything. And then there is only before and after.” - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

 

Greetings 4GIRLS Friends,

The quote above has never been more applicable for so many as it is during these times. The 4GIRLS leadership team hopes that this message finds you healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

In early March, a couple of weeks before California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to “stay at home” due to Covid-19, the 4GIRLS Anaheim team held our organization’s last in-person activity, an art based Empowerment Event at The Ponderosa Family Resource Center. The theme of the event was “Where Will My Feet Take Me?”, providing the 23 girls in attendance an opportunity to reflect on what path they see for themselves in their future. One fun exercise included having the girls look at each other’s shoes and acknowledging that they were all different and that that was okay because everyone has a different path requiring a different pair of shoes. It was a fun and inspiring activity and culminated with the girls making a banner for International Women’s Day 2020. And, then, everything changed.

As with most areas of life these past couple of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way that the 4GIRLS Organization is currently operating. A couple of months ago, what we would have expected to be sharing with you in this edition of the GlobalGiving Project Report, was the tremendous success of our 10th Anniversary 4GIRLS Workshop in Long Beach, CA. We would have been excited to report that we had the largest attendance of girls in the history of this organization. We would have praised the subject matter experts that contributed their time and talent to deliver a meaningful and impactful program, incorporating this year’s theme - BOLD. We would have shared inspiring anecdotes from our remarkable keynote speaker - President's Scholar, McNair Scholar and California State University Long Beach Associated Student’s “Woman of the Year”, Taryn Williams. We would have shared with great joy that Maria Shriver’s daughter, bestselling author and advocate Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, was our special guest speaker. (Maria Shriver, via the California’s Women’s Conference that she used to host, is the inspiration for 4GIRLS!) And, most importantly, we would have shared some of the transformational moments of the workshop from the vantage point of the middle school girls in attendance. Unfortunately, we do not have any of these stories to share because the workshop was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.  

This situation has prompted the 4GIRLS Organization to assess and consider new ways for delivering our program, so that girls in the communities that we serve can continue to receive inspiration and empowerment even though we cannot hold in-person events at this time. To that end, 4GIRLS recently established a “Virtual Outreach” Committee to expand our program by developing a more robust virtual presence and enhancing our impact via our social media platforms. The committee is currently actively working with our Junior Mentors to create some fun and impactful social media campaigns and develop virtual activities to keep the middle school girls, who were not able to attend the workshop, engaged. (The Junior Mentors are high school girls that help to facilitate the workshop experience for the middle school girls.) The energy and excitement among the committee members and the Junior Mentors is palpable and it is great to witness that, out of uncertainty and chaos, new ideas and creativity can flourish. What we do know for certain is that many, if not all, of the new virtual programs that are being developed will be added to our 4GIRLS “toolkit” moving forward. We will continue to leverage these virtual programs even after we are able to return to our in-person activities as they will be a great vehicle to allow the 4GIRLS mission to reach even more girls, including those beyond the geographic regions in which we operate today.

Since our last report, the 4GIRLS Board of Directors has undergone a change in leadership. Kerith Dilley, 4GIRLS Board President, resigned, and Yesmean Rihbany, 4GIRLS Board Member, was voted in as the new Board President.  In addition, Lisa Monteiro, 4GIRLS CFO, resigned, and Sharon Faustina, 4GIRLS Board Member and Long Beach Chapter Treasurer, was voted in as CFO. Having dedicated several years and many woman hours of meaningful and impactful service to the 4GIRLS Organization, both Kerith’s and Lisa’s contributions to 4GIRLS have been significant on many levels and their mark on our organization is indelible. We are forever grateful for their service! Subsequent to these Board departures, we added two members to the 4GIRLS Board of Directors - Claudia Copley, Founder of 4GIRLS, and, Janet Bittner, former Executive Director of 4GIRLS. Both Claudia and Janet bring tremendous passion, wisdom and vision to the organization and we are excited to have them on the Board.

In a period marked by a lot of change, the 4GIRLS team has been able to successfully regroup and pivot thanks to strong leadership and committed volunteers. As we look forward to the future, we will continue to build on the core strengths of the program while innovating in areas that will allow 4GIRLS to evolve in new and exciting ways so that we can continue to inspire and empower middle school girls. And, we look forward to announcing the 4GIRLS scholarship winners over the course of the next couple of weeks. Now, more than ever, these girls need to be recognized and rewarded for their resilience and hard work during these uncertain times.

Wishing our 4GIRLS community, donors and business partners continued health and safety.

 

Sincerely,

The 4GIRLS Board of Directors

"Where Will My Feet Take Me?" Empowerment Event
"Where Will My Feet Take Me?" Empowerment Event
Banner for International Women's Day 2020
Banner for International Women's Day 2020

Links:

 
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