Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA

by 4GIRLS Organization
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Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA
Empower a Girl in Long Beach and Anaheim, CA

Greetings 4GIRLS Friends and Supporters,

Inspiration and empowerment are alive and well in the 4GIRLS organization, and it’s been a busy summer! Worthy is the word and our Middle School Girls and High Schoolers proved us right as they participated in our 2nd Annual Virtual Workshop on July 17th.  Our 2021 Scholarship program was a success, as we awarded $9500 in July to colleges and universities for graduating high school seniors and middle school girls to support their summer enrichment programs.  4GIRLS also kicked off a new Junior Mentor Program to provide continual support our organization’s mission of empowering and inspiring middle school girls to identify themselves as authentic, confident, and resilient, preparing them for real life success.  

The 4GIRLS principle event is a weekend workshop, where we provide two full days of empowerment with fun activities, inspirational speakers and program presenters in a safe, inclusive environment.  After cancelling our 10thAnnual workshop scheduled in March 2020, we transitioned to a virtual platform.  Once again, with the in-person restrictions and spike in Covid-19 infections, we decided to hold our 11th Annual Workshop event virtually, as well.  On Saturday, July 17th, we hosted a 4 ½ hour online workshop with 58 registered participants, 7 Junior Mentors, 5 presenters, and a Keynote speaker, Aman Batra, Punjabi American poet.  (You might remember her from our Community Event celebrating Women’s History Month.) Workshop Topics included Mental Health, Mindfulness, Affirmations, Vision Journaling, Poetry, Health and Wellness, and Social Justice.  Of course, all of this was at no cost to the participants.

4GIRLS Organization awarded four (4) $2000 scholarships to past workshop participants who were now graduating seniors.  All four of our high school applicants had inspirational stories, and two had overcome difficult family challenges and experiences in the Foster Care system.  They all had impressive resumes of community service, extracurricular and academic excellence, and have been accepted to colleges and universities like Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and the University of Michigan.  Two applicants are starting at community colleges, one in Seattle to establish residency, and one at Fullerton with the goal of transferring to UCI in 2023.  They all gave credit to 4GIRLS workshops for empowering them to make positive changes in their lives.

The three middle school applicants are pursuing enrichment opportunities such as music, art, and surfing as they prepare for their high school experience.  Their involvement with 4GIRLS Workshops has empowered them to excel in their personal achievement and have confidence as they create goals and dreams for themselves.  They are testimony to what can be accomplished by a little inspiration for girls in their middle school years.

Finally, in June we kicked off our Junior Mentor Program which is now a year-round program to support the 4GIRLS mission.  While continuing to develop their leadership skills and confidence, our high school girls are active in workshop presentations, empowerment events, fundraising, and social media.  We are very proud of these young women and look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future.

As we say goodbye to summer, we wish you all a healthy and safe Fall. We remain grateful for the time, talent, and treasure you provide, and thank you for finding us worthy of your support.

Sincerely,

The 4GIRLS Board of Directors

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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
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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

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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

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4GIRLS Gala - Yareli and Claudia Copley
4GIRLS Gala - Yareli and Claudia Copley

Greetings 4GIRLS Friends,

This past quarter was a momentous one for 4GIRLS in a variety of areas - we exceeded previous records with regards to the number of 4GIRLS Workshop attendees and in our fundraising efforts, we participated in a fun, new experience and, we announced some significant changes within our organization.

We are proud to announce that, as the Orange County chapter continues to expand its reach, 90 middle school girls were empowered at the 4GIRLS Workshop that took place on October 12th and 13th, at the Ponderosa Family Resource Center in Anaheim, CA. This is the largest group ever to attend the Orange County event! In addition, there were 14 high school girls who served as Junior Mentors and 14 adults who served as Mentors. And, there were approximately 20 female volunteers throughout the weekend helping to ensure that the event ran smoothly. We are so grateful to all of the individuals that gave of their time and energy so selflessly! The theme of this year’s conference was “Resilient” and the girls in attendance had the opportunity to learn from a number of subject matter experts who incorporated the theme into their sessions, such as Girls Inc, Resilience OC, Power of One (Self Defense) and many more. The event was clearly impactful as is evident from some of the feedback that we received, including:

Thanks to the 4GIRLS Workshop, I want to show the world who I am.” - Beyonce, a 7th grader

Tomorrow I am going to make one change to my life, and it will be to never give up.” - Scarlett, an 8th grader

One new thing I learned about myself during the 4GIRLS Workshop was that I am capable of helping these girls.” - Ana 12th grade Junior Mentor

We never cease to be awed by the transformation the girls experience when they participate in this program!

Over in Long Beach, the 4GIRLS team was immensely busy preparing and executing on their biggest 4GIRLS fundraiser to date! The Long Beach Annual Gala took place on November 1st at the Recreation Park Golf Course in Long Beach, CA. The theme was “Noche Para Las Niñas” (English translation, “A Night for the Girls”) – and was a play on the Día de los Muertos theme. Everyone got into the spirit of the event with festive face painting, terrific Folklórico dancers and a delicious Mexican feast. The highlight of the evening was our guest speaker, Yareli, a 9th grader who attended the 4GIRLS Workshop throughout middle school. She spoke from the heart as she shared:

Another thing they manage to talk about at the workshop was about bullying. I was picked on my whole entire school life and it affected me so much. Being bullied gave me the false impression that I needed to be what the bullies wanted me to be. People are always going to criticize you no matter what and you can never seem to satisfy them. Though it is hard having to go through it, I had to remind myself just to be me. I come to school to continue my education and increase my chances of a brighter future, not to subject myself into what others want me to be. I came into the workshop nervous and afraid, but I left feeling good about myself and aware that I am worth everything.”

Powerful words from a young woman who now realizes she is powerful!

And, speaking of powerful, 4GIRLS participated in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade in Long Beach, CA on December 7th. Our float was adorned with empowering words, which were themes from our past workshops – including the word, “powerful”. This was the first time most of the girls (and adult volunteers) had ever been in a parade and it was an experience they will not soon forget. It was a great opportunity to showcase our organization and give the community an opportunity to see and hear from us in a fresh new way. One of our Junior Mentors, Sion, mastered the microphone and enthusiastically shared with the crowd about our organization and our mission. It was great for all the girls to witness Sion using her voice with such confidence! And, we all used our voices as we sang inspiring songs from our 4GIRLS playlist proudly and loudly – and, many in the crowd sang right along with us! It was a memorable evening and we are already thinking about next year’s parade!

In closing, we have some announcements to share. First, the Samueli Foundation donated $10,000 to 4GIRLS Orange County! The Samueli Foundation is a philanthropic organization that provides financial support and services to local nonprofits and we are so appreciative of their generosity! This gift will allow the Orange County Chapter to further expand their reach and perhaps break their workshop attendance record again next year!

And, we have important leadership changes to report at both the Board and Chapter levels. With regards to the Orange County Chapter, we are excited to announce that Hadela Sanchez will now serve as the new Orange County Chapter Director and Angie Gomez, former Chapter Director, will now serve as the Associate Director. At the Board level, Janet Bittner has decided to step down as Executive Director, but will continue to contribute her time and talent to the Long Beach Chapter. And, our Founder and Board President, Claudia Copley, has decided to step down as Board President after 10 years(!), but will continue to be a 4GIRLS leader and visionary as the Long Beach Chapter Director. Kerith Dilley is our newly elected 4GIRLS Board President and we are honored to have her level of non-profit expertise and leadership taking us into the next decade of 4GIRLS!

Wishing our 4GIRLS community, donors and business partners an empowering and inspiring 2020!

Sincerely,

The 4GIRLS Board of Directors

4GIRLS Gala - Folklorico dancers
4GIRLS Gala - Folklorico dancers
Belmont Shore Christmas Parade - 4GIRLS Float
Belmont Shore Christmas Parade - 4GIRLS Float
Orange County Workshop - Sharing Your Word
Orange County Workshop - Sharing Your Word
Orange County Workshop - Group Pic
Orange County Workshop - Group Pic

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Organization Information

4GIRLS Organization

Location: Long Beach, CA - USA
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Project Leader:
Maria Gugerty
Long Beach, CA United States
$34,301 raised of $50,000 goal
 
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