By McKenna MIDDLETON
May took on a new title this year as the La Crescenta Library hosted a series of events to celebrate Girl Empowerment Month. From a coding class to a public speaking seminar, the overarching theme of girl empowerment resonated throughout the diverse activities held this month.
“Our vision was to just empower and enlighten and educate young women in all these areas that are sometimes areas they have no knowledge in or are highly dominated by males,” La Crescenta Library Teen Librarian Fiona Reimers said.
Over 60 girls attended the month’s grand finale workshop day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day was filled with activities led by finance experts, local businesswomen and fitness professionals.
“We wanted a mix of things for the girls so they were moving around and not just sitting still all day,” La Crescenta Library Manager Marta Wiggins said.
The idea for the workshop emerged when extra special funding from Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich became available for the Fifth District, which includes La Crescenta. Reimers and the former Children’s Librarian teamed up with Wiggins to plan and coordinate Girl Empowerment Month.
“The goal of it was to have tweens, which is kind of a crossover between children and teens, [attend],” Reimers said. “My idea was to do public speaking and Marta wanted to do leadership and entrepreneurship and it all came together with the three of us. We knew that it was going to be too much to pack in one day so we spread it over a month.”
Participants at Saturday’s event varied from ages 12 to 17, a diverse demographic that the layout of the workshop catered to and encouraged. While the workshop was geared toward girls, boys were by no means excluded from the festivities.
“I didn’t want it to be restrictive,” Reimers said. “Even though girl empowerment was on everything, we didn’t exclude [the event] from boys. They need to see this stuff, too.”
The day began with fitness expert Jesus Mejia leading the attendees in exercises and stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Later in the morning, a panel of local businesswomen, most of whom work in male-dominated careers, shared advice and life experiences with the young women in attendance. They stressed the importance of public speaking and organization.
“It was really cool to hear about life from people who have already experienced everything, because we have to figure everything out now,” CVHS freshman Carol Sheen said. “They’ve already been through it, so it’s kind of like a weight lifted off.”
The CVHS Robotics Team 589 visited the workshop (with their latest robot, of course) to share some of the possibilities in STEM fields. The dress for success exercise stressed the importance of looking both professional and dressing for the occasion. In addition, Clarke Crane spoke about finance and health expert Lara B. presented on living a healthy lifestyle that focuses on a healthy mind along with a healthy body.
“Remember that success lies within you,” Wiggins said as she later handed each girl an old-fashioned key fastened to a ribbon to symbolize a key to success.
At the end of the day, participants also received notebooks to write their dreams and goals in as well as invaluable knowledge, advice and empowerment.