Inspiring and Empowering Middle School Girls

4GIRLS New Board Member

4GIRLS is excited to introduce our newest board member, 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, Sharon Faustina . Welcome to the team, Caryl!


Global Giving November 2020 Update

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


4GIRLS Participation in Long Beach Gives

Dear 4GIRLS Community,

4GIRLS is excited to share that we have been selected to participate in the Long Beach Gives campaign, the city’s annual day of online giving. The 24-hour online fundraiser takes place on September 24, 2020. This opportunity means a lot to our organization, as this year, due to COVID-19, 4GIRLS will not be holding our annual fundraising gala. The Long Beach Gives campaign will be the primary source of funding for our 2021 programs, so please mark the date and help support our organization if you are able.

Though we haven’t been able to hold any in-person events, for several months, our Virtual Connections Committee and Social Media Committee have been very busy at work delivering virtual empowerment events and social media campaigns designed to keep the girls engaged, inspired and empowered! And, one of the best outcomes of this new way of delivering our program has been the leadership skills that our Junior Mentors (who are high-school aged) are honing as they develop and lead many of these activities.

4GIRLS will continue to innovate with how we deliver our program and we will continue to expand our reach virtually so that we can inspire and empower even more middle-school girls. As most, if not all of you know, we are a 100% volunteer organization and everything that we do is provided at no cost to the girls. Please help us to continue doing the good work into 2021 and beyond by contributing to the Long Beach Gives campaign on September 24, 2020. For more information about supporting 4GIRLS through Long Beach.

Gives please visit https://donate.longbeachgives.org/4girls-organization. Early donations will be available starting September 17th, 2020.

Thank you all for all that you do to support this program! We wish you continued health and safety.

Sincerely,
The 4GIRLS Organization


4GIRLS New Board Members

4GIRLS is pleased to welcome several new Board and Advisory Board members to our organization!

Joining our Board are Gail Schwandner, retired Dean of Career and Technical Education at Long Beach City College, and, Tamara White, Group Manager and data analytics architecture expert at Avanade, Inc.  

And, joining our Advisory Board are Stephanie Seecof, Educator for the Long Beach Unified School District, Kimberly Mendez, Social Media Advisor, and, Sion Charles, student at California State University, Long Beach.

All have contributed either their time, talent or treasure to 4GIRLS in the past, whether as a general volunteer, adult mentor, junior mentor, committee member (or a combination thereof!) and we appreciate their ongoing commitment to 4GIRLS and are really excited to be working with them in this expanded capacity. 


4GIRLS Response to COVID-19

Dear 4GIRLS Family,

4GIRLS writes today to convey our hope that you and your family are healthy and safe, express our gratitude for your engagement with our mission, and share a couple brief updates and reflections.

In some ways, our mission has never been more relevant. We will continue to empower middle school girls with confidence – even as we adjust our methods, which have always relied on the large and small group interaction of girls who do not know each other.

Because the health and safety of our girls are paramount, we postponed our Long Beach Workshop, scheduled for March 21 and 22.

With Californians living under the State’s “Stay at Home” order until at least April 19, we are evaluating when and how to hold our 10th Long Beach Workshop and assure safety and health of all who participate.

We’ll be in touch with you, our valued community, when we make any decisions.

Our mission has always struck a balance of our individual inspiration with collective responsibilities. Alumni of our Workshops have shared how they now stand up for victims of bullying, share food with classmates who have less and take leadership roles within their school, sports teams, families and communities. The impact of our work has significant implications for our local communities in the years ahead.

Thus, our mission remains:  we empower the next generation with self-confidence, authenticity and resilience so they’re equipped to navigate through the uncertainty and respond to the complex challenges they will face as adults.

In closing, we’d like to ask each of you:

Since we’re now living in an era of social distancing and economic uncertainty, let us focus on social solidarity—not just within our families and immediate communities, but also with those who are most vulnerable and most marginalized. When individual girls are empowered, they effect positive changes on everyone around them.

Again, we are continuing to explore strategies of adjusting our empowerment models to an online world. Please be in touch if you have ideas on that front.

Warmly,

4GIRLS Board of Directors, Advisory Board and Chapter Leadership


Long Beach Workshop 2020 POSTPONED

It is with a sad heart that 4GIRLS announces to our community that, due to the ongoing health concerns related to COVID-19, 4GIRLS has decided to postpone the 2020 Long Beach Workshop to a future date. The workshop was originally scheduled for March 21 and March 22.

We are monitoring recommendations from the state and local public health agencies and the CDC. We will work with our volunteers and stakeholders to find a new weekend, as it becomes clear that the new date is both helpful and time-appropriate related to the outbreak.

Thank you for your understanding. Please feel free to contact us at administrator@inspiration4girls.org


Global Giving Report

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!

Sincerely,
The 4GIRLS Board of Directors


Graduating from Google: Lessons in Leadership

4GIRLS Organization is proud to partner with author Linda El Awar on the launch of her first book, Graduating from Google: Lessons in Leadership.

Linda El Awar is a former Google employee who has published a piece of narrative non-fiction that describes her time with the company. Linda hopes to inspire others along their own personal leadership journey through her book, and she has been impressed with our efforts to aide middle school girls.

As a result, 50% of all proceeds from her book will be donated to our organization!

The story appeals to a broad audience, anyone from a young college grad finding him or herself to a Fortune 500 CEO trying to establish culture.

In Linda’s own words, “I understand how awkward and frustrating the middle school years can be on both an academic and personal level. That’s why I want to help middle school ladies embrace this time as a positive opportunity to experience new things and develop confidence for life.”

We are honored to have others such as Linda share our message and support 4GIRLS! If you know of others who love to read, please let them know of this entertaining and educational story. And if you love the story as much as we do, we encourage you to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes & Noble.

 


2016 Expansion

After serving girls in Long Beach, CA and the surrounding communities for the past 5 years, 4GIRLS is proud to announce that in 2016 we will be expanding our program! Middle school girls in Santa Ana and Anaheim will now have the opportunity to participate in the 4GIRLS program in Orange County. Due to this exciting growth of our organization and because 4GIRLS will be hosting two workshops in 2016 rather than one, we are in need of your help.

Unlike previous years, we will not be holding our annual fundraising gala in the spring and instead will be holding it in the winter of 2016. As such, we have looked at alternatives for raising the necessary funds to cover all of the expenses associated with our program (you may recall that all 4GIRLS participants attend our workshop and ongoing empowerment activities at no cost to them). We have decided to pursue the GlobalGiving program as the primary means to fund most, if not all, of our 2016 activities.

GlobalGiving is a global crowd funding site that will allow our organization to connect with donors and companies worldwide. In order for us to be granted a platform with GlobalGiving we need to raise enough funds during their upcoming “open challenge” to demonstrate to their organization that we have community support before they give us access to global support.

Our timeline to raise our goal with GlobalGiving is from Dec 1st – 31st. Please consider donating (no contribution is too small) by visiting the following link:

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/inspiration4girls/

Your generosity will make a difference to our organization and to the hundreds of middle school girls that we hope to inspire and empower in 2016 with our mission that they are inherently valuable, beautiful and powerful.

Sincerest Gratitude,

The 4GIRLS Board of Directors


Global Giving

4GIRLS is now officially registered and accredited by Global Giving, a global crowd funding organization, providing additional fund raising avenues and corporate donation matching opportunities.