These are just a few of the issues that are facing our girls today. Growing up in today’s society, it is harder for girls to gain that empowerment and self-esteem than ever before. There is a greater amount of self-mutilation, eating disorders, significant depression, or serious consideration of suicide and acts of physical violence among girls, as well as struggling with hatred of their bodies, obsessive dieting, sexual confusion, and the persistent sense that they just aren’t good enough. Isn’t it time to celebrate why we are girls? This is why we love the real message of real inspiration that Girls Empowerment Network is determined to pass along to our next generation of Texas girls.
Girls Empowerment Network (GEN)
Girls Empowerment Network actually was started 20 years ago by 12 Texas moms who read a book called Reviving Ophelia by Dr. Mary Pipher. Reviving Ophelia talks about the “girl-poisoning” culture, which is the root cause of so many issues our girls face, and these moms could see their own daughters suffering from what this book was talking about, so they decided to take action. Going to Ann Richards, they sought help to get the Ophelia Project going, and it very quickly became quite successful. There were so many girls suffering from the same feelings that they were not good enough.
Ophelia Project changed their name to Girls Empowerment Network (GEN), but their mission of supporting and guiding girls to make wise choices as they navigate the unique pressures of girlhood, has stayed the same. The basic principles, or building blocks, that Girls Empowerment Network rests on are:
- Individuality – each girl is unique and should be true to yourself.
- Diversity – be open-minded, understanding and respect individual differences.
- Inclusiveness – all girls are welcome.
- Unbiased – we are multi-cultural and multi-faith.
- Holistic – we foster individual development, including social, emotional, cognitive and physical growth.
- Self-knowledge – be a creative and critical thinker about what is right for you.
- Engagement – express your opinions, contribute ideas, and provide active support and leadership and learn from your peers.
- Community – families and others working together to create a positive impact on your life.
- Empowerment – your personal power will be found to help you make courageous, responsible choices and to help you stand by those choices with confidence.
We Are Girls Conference 2015, Houston
For the past 8 years, Girls Empowerment Program has been putting on the We Are Girls Conference. The conference, traditionally held in Austin, is being expanded to include Houston this year, and the theme for this year is ‘Tell Your Story’. On November 14, 2015 from 9 am – 3 pm, at Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy, girls from grades 3 – 8, parents and educators are invited to attend this event that will empower and inspire and help set them on a path to healthy relationships, educational discovery, and creative self-expression.
The keynote speaker is Karen Walrond, who is a successful blogger, mother, speaker, photographer and best-selling author. There will be several break out sessions during the day, that focus on education, giving back, loving yourself and telling your story and how much your story matters and counts. This is going to be an historic event for our city and one that we are very excited to help to bring to all of you!
Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy is a very special HISD school to hold this event. The school opened in 2011, in partnership with the Young Women’s Preparatory Network. The Young Women’s Preparatory Network has opened six other schools in Texas that are recognized as offering the most distinctive high school leadership programs in the nation. Located at 1906 Cleburne St. near the Texas Medical Center, the Museum District, the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and Rice University, Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy opened with grades 6 and 9, and in 2012, the campus added grades 7 and 10, grades 8 and 11 were added in 2013. In 2015 YWCPA graduated its first class of seniors, achieving 100 percent high school graduation rate and 100 percent college acceptance rate for its 44 graduates. 2015 graduates were awarded of $5.8 million in academic and merit scholarships.
The girls from YWCP will be volunteering at the event and acting as leaders and hostesses to the 600+ people expected to attend the first We Are Girls Conference held in Houston.
J-Vibe is so happy to be the official media sponsor of GEN’s We Are Girls Tell Your Story Conference 2015 on November 14 from 9 am – 3 pm at Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy and we hope you will join us as we empower the next GENeration of girls!