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.
The 4GIRLS Board of Directors