October and November were busy months for the 4GIRLS Organization with several events, including two marquee events – the Anaheim, CA Annual Workshop and the Long Beach, CA Annual Gala. On October 13th and 14th, the 4GIRLS Anaheim chapter held its annual workshop and it was the largest one yet with 80 middle school girls in attendance! The theme was “Courageous” and the keynote speaker, Sky Gaven, exemplified the theme well. Sky is a Latin-American entrepreneur and award-winning filmmaker who has been making courageous and bold moves throughout her relatively short career. In addition to filmmaking, Sky has experienced success in the music industry, launched a one-of-a-kind creative agency and helped to kick start some successful YouTube stars. Her passion and energy resonated with the girls and her drive and entrepreneurial spirit were great to witness. In addition to the keynote, the girls had the opportunity to experience and learn from a variety of “courageous” subject matter experts including Tara Van Deusen, 6th degree black belt and the president of the Power of One Martial Arts and The Power of One World Leadership (http://www.po1kids.org/index.html). Exposing girls to strong powerful role models that can inspire and empower them – like Sky and Tara – is one of the key tenets of the 4GIRLS Organization, our annual workshops and our ongoing quarterly Empowerment Events.
And, speaking of Empowerment Events, the 4GIRLS Long Beach Chapter held one in October which was facilitated by Kellie Walters, PhD, and co-founder of Smart Fit Girls – a program that teaches adolescent girls how to love their bodies by embracing their own strength (http://smartfitgirls.org). Kellie taught the girls the basics of nutrition, anatomy and resistance training. And then they participated in a workout with weights and a fun “Twister” nutrition game. It was an informative and fun afternoon and the girls were able to take home elastic exercise bands so that they could immediately put their learnings into practice! The Orange County chapter, led by Angie Gomez and Kerith Dilley conducted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Empowerment Event in November. The girls enjoyed an afternoon of hands-on STEM based activities. The activities included the opportunity to build volcanos and learn about why and how they erupt and also to construct towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows – as tall as they could make them – while ensuring they remained structurally sound. The exercises encouraged the girls to use critical thinking skills and to work collaboratively to accomplish their tasks.
And, finally, also working collaboratively (and tirelessly!), the 4GIRLS Gala Committee planned and delivered the best 4GIRLS Annual Gala to date. The Gala is the primary vehicle for raising the funds that are needed to support all of the programs and activities that are offered to the girls at no cost. On November 3rd, the Long Beach Yacht Club was the site of a nautical night to be remembered – an amazing evening of food, entertainment and fun! The most memorable moment of the evening was the authentic and heartfelt speech delivered by former 4GIRLS workshop participant and now a 10th grade Junior Mentor, Aneth. Her moving speech garnered a standing ovation and clearly illustrated the positive impact that 4GIRLS is having in the communities it serves. Aneth shared, “…being a teenager is difficult, we are always worrying about our presentation around others, following in a pack was safer… 4GIRLS helped me to identify and strengthen my character… manage my own insecurities and that changed my life in school and everywhere around me. Being a participant then becoming a junior mentor was inspiring for me. There is a powerful surge of satisfaction when you help impact someone. Joining 4GIRLS has taught me tons. I have learned that helping people gives me a force of willpower to push my shy and timid ways to the side. My goals have changed, not only to be a doctor but to follow in my adult mentor’s steps, volunteer, help, serve in any way I can to any girl I can reach”. Bravo, Aneth!
As 2018 comes to a close, we look back with pride at all of the things that we were able to accomplish and all of the young women and girls that we were able to inspire and empower. And, we have already begun to look ahead to 2019 and have started our planning for the coming year. The next big event on the agenda is the Long Beach Annual workshop, which is taking place on March 23rd and 24th. We had to secure a new venue for the upcoming event because we have outgrown our old space – a great problem to have! We eagerly await the new group of girls that will be attending the 2019 workshop and look forward to seeing their 4GIRLS evolution.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity!
The 4GIRLS Board of Directors