Annual Girl Power event to focus on unleashing possibilities

Speakers to give advice on setting goals for life

By Kristen Oliver
koliver@gainesvilletimes.com

Being a girl in middle and high school can be tough, but a Northeast Georgia organization wants to offer support to these young women.

WomenSource will host Girl Power 2015, a free half-day workshop for middle and high school girls and the women in their lives, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Brenau Downtown Center.

The event will include a general session and breakout groups, as well as a catered lunch and door prizes, and its theme is helping girls “unleash the possibilities.”

“We have so many exciting events in store for our participants,” said Valerie Simmons-Walston, Brenau University dean of students, WomenSource president and Girl Power chairwoman. “Our theme this year will highlight long- and short-term goal-setting with the hopes that participants will walk away motivated, energized and prepared to ‘unleash the possibilities’ regarding successful goal-setting in their life.”

This year, author, speaker and trainer Tammy Washington will serve as the keynote speaker. Washington is known for helping lead individuals, teams and groups in the disciplines of successful people and groups.

“Girl Power began with the idea of empowering young women,” said Katie Dubnik, event co-chairwoman. “The mission of the organization is empowering and educating women in Northeast Georgia, obviously starting with our youth and giving girls self-confidence. Empowering them to succeed is only going to help better and improve our community.”

According to Dubnik, Washington is one of a “dynamic program” of speakers who will be present Saturday at Girl Power, including Kathy Mellette from North Hall Middle School, and motivational speakers and life coaches AnMarie Martin, Karyn Lisk and Jackie Brewton.

“She is going to talk with the girls about social goals,” Simmons-Walston said of Brewton. “In middle school, your social life is the most important thing. So she’s going to talk with them about the type of friends that you make and the influence they may have on you or you may have on them.”

Simmons-Walston said the speakers will also address goal mapping, academic goals and the importance of long- and short-term goals.

“Girl Power is a tremendous resource for female youth in our area,” said the Rev. Ruth Demby, First Baptist Church Gainesville’s associate pastor of missions and Read Learn Succeed coordinator for United Way. “Each year WomenSource brings outstanding speakers and breakout sessions that equip girls to find their own voice, their own strength.”

The event is funded with the help of a United Way of Hall County Community Investment Grant and is open to anyone who would like to attend. Due to seating and catering limitations, preregistration is required by noon Friday online at www.WomenSource.info.

Simmons-Walston said the event is important because it will help combat the negativity teenage girls sometimes face at school and among their peers.

“This event is just a firestorm of positivity,” she said. “They get all these free gifts and everything from short-term to long-term goals. They’ll get to interact with positive role models and women. And this program is so important because, if you’re going to get to the root of the problem of why a student isn’t successful, you have not only have to talk to the student, but you have to educate the parent as well.”

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