Guided by the International Women’s Day movement and Women’s History Month, Empower Her is BGCWPA’s annual event to inspire the next generation of women to advocate, reflect, and take action around empowerment for young women all across Western Pennsylvania and beyond. Empower Her will be a month long event, with weekly sessions filled with fun & educational activities, influential speakers, caring & strong female role models, and meaningful lessons to encourage confidence, body positivity, healthy lifestyles, and personal growth.
In a year of so many firsts; Kamala Harris took office as the first woman vice president, Kim Ng was named the first female GM for a men’s team in a major professional sport, Katie Sowers with the 49ers became the first female to coach at the Super Bowl, and Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber was named the first Black woman to serve as U.S. Naval Academy brigade commander. Our Empower Her theme this year is “shattering glass ceilings,” a metaphor for the invisible barrier that prevents young women from recognizing and achieving their full potential, and why we believe that glass ceilings can be shattered by each and every one of the young women who will participate in this program.
All Empower Her participants ages 8-17 will have the opportunity to participate in four live weekly sessions, and receive two contactless deliveries right to their doorsteps free of charge. The first delivery will include supplies and resources needed to participate in each weekly session and activity, and a “fab box” with sweet treats and healthy foods in collaboration with our partner, Fifth Season, for a celebration event in conclusion of Empower Her! Weekly synchronous sessions will be held beginning March 8th, on each Monday throughout the month from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Participants will be broken up by age group, and given time to complete activities and socialize freely with one other and mentors. Activities and topics include art, dance, exercise, body positivity, making slime, creating your very own ID badge or a life budget for a future career, and engaging with female doctors, engineers, athletes, dancers, biologists and business owners.
This Year’s Guest Speakers
More exciting speakers & mentors coming soon!
Jessica Kern is a mother, coach, motivational speaker, and philanthropist from Milwaukee, WI. Her mission is to educate and empower others to follow their dreams. She is a champion athlete committed to help teams/organizations achieve greatness through infrastructure management, positive reinforcement and the facilitation of promoting organic growth.
She has navigated an unconventional upbringing and a likewise unconventional sports path, both to create a culture of positive womanhood, women’s empowerment, and the dynamic leadership that women can embrace to support each other. She is spirited, energetic, and engaging presenting her message in a manner that captures the audience and maintains their engagement. Find out more.
Ta’lor L. Pinkston
Ta’lor L. Pinkston created The Heart Advocate to help all individuals, no matter their ethnicity, gender, or sexuality, choose self-love as a coping skill for mental health and healing. The Heart Advocate provides individual virtual self-love therapy, group workshops, and speaks about the importance of self-love in mental health. Ta’lor manages a virtual support group, Healing Over Everything (H.O.E.), a safe-space and community that supports its members to build self-worth, cope with mental health, and choose healing. You can find The Heart Advocate on social media where she is sharing what self-love looks like. Visit The Heart Advocate.
Dr. Filitsa H. Bender
Dr. Filista H. Bender, MD is a nephrologist—a doctor who specializes in kidneys—and a medical educator at UPMC. Born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece, she overcame many obstacles in her youth to go to medical school in Greece at a time when the medical field was even more male-dominated than it is now. After migrating to the United States, she continued her studies, eventually becoming a nephrologist who treats patients and also helps medical students and young doctors to learn about kidneys. She has a special interest in helping patients with kidney disease to live longer through a process that “cleans” the blood in the same way that the kidneys do. Her message to girls today is to remember that even “traditional” roles for women, like the village midwife or healer, involved a lot of STEM, so never let anyone tell you that women don’t belong in STEM!
Although this year’s Empower Her event may look a bit different, BGCWPA is more excited than ever to offer our young females the opportunity to connect, reflect and encourage each other to shatter our own glass ceilings!