With the pressures and challenges facing adolescent girls, an event was held to empower them to be confident in who they are and make the right choices.
The second annual Level Up Girls Empowerment Conference was held Jan. 9 at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts. It’s a concept that came together thanks to the work of MISD counselors Marcie Thomas and Candace Minor-Chism.
“They understood that our girls were needing some extra assistance with how to regulate their emotions and understanding themselves as young ladies,” said Dr. Kisha McDonald, director of social-emotional learning. “I am very proud of them for seeing this need. It is one of the five social-emotional competencies, which is social awareness.”
“Flawsome,” which means to embrace your flaws and know you're awesome regardless, was the theme of the event.
The girls attended a keynote session and then rotated through different workshops that taught them about their worth, how to understand their thoughts and how to manage their emotions. Attendees said it opened their eyes to see someone else’s perspective.
“I learned that many people go through a lot of things, and you’re not the only one going through something,” said Jayden Baldwin, a sixth-grader at Cross Timbers Intermediate School. “And be kind to others because there’s a lot going on in people’s lives.”
Dr. Skeetora Taylor, one of the speakers, is a medical director at John Peter Smith (JPS) Health Network who oversees 4,000 patients. She said that the conference is probably the most important events on her agenda for the entire year because being able to mentor the young girls is that high on her priority list.
“The youth of today are going to be our future,” said Dr. Taylor. “And the better they are, the better our future is, so I think it’s really important to give them the tools they need to be successful.”
Approximately 100 girls from Cross Timbers Intermediate School and T.A. Howard Middle School attended the conference. Dr. McDonald added that the healthy habits learned there will improve their life at school, home and beyond.
“It is very important they understand and present to our ladies that they can be leaders in our society and they can make a different in world,” she said.
The sixth- through eighth-graders who attended the conference were chosen by the school counselors, referred by other staff members or showed great interest in the topics being discussed. Organizers plan to hold another Level Up Conference next year.