Photos from “Survivor: Middle School”, the 15th Sister-to-Sister Conference, March 9, 2014
From top: registration; brunch yogurt bar; panel of “survivors”, front row of attendees; adult leaders/ committee; our presenter Kathy Magistri instructs participants in self-defense moves; girls prepare for defense; our presenter Brooklyn, center, with Rape Crisis Center reps. Payne and McClain; fabulous teen facilitators.
Photos from “Building You Best Future”, 2013
Medina County Branch AAUW is proud to be the lead group—and founding organization—of the long-standing and successful Sister-to-Sister Girls’ Summit of Medina County, a conference for girls between the ages of 11-14.
The conference is planned and sponsored by a coalition of service organizations, non-profits and businesses in the area. The organizations support representatives on the coalition team which meets throughout the year. Young women from the numerous high schools in the area are selected to serve along with the adults. These teen facilitators are all active in their respective schools as well as in 4-H and service organizations. The program is offered at no cost to the attendees; expenses are offset by contributions from the community.
The adults act as mentors to the teen facilitators, who in turn mentor the younger teens attending the conference.
S2S is a dialogue for girls that was initiated by AAUW as a national project in 1997 to address personal issues that schools often cannot address.
- To give girls a chance to be heard and talk about their dreams, ideas, fears, and frustrations – sister to sister
- To help girls positively change their lives and enable them to transform their thoughts into a platform for action
- To help girls learn how to “network” with their peers from other schools, with older teen facilitators and with adults in the partnering organizations
- To provide a positive atmosphere for developing self-esteem, healthy decision making and empowerment.
Empowerment begins with a show of solidarity by all attendees wearing the T-shirts designed for the day’s event. The half-day session features ice-breakers and activities designed to get the girls acquainted with each other, several presenters relating to the selected theme, chat room sessions led by teen facilitators, healthy snacks and light lunch, and a wrap up with “action steps” that groups prepare. As they leave, each girl receives a goodie bag of items donated by area businesses.
A concurrent “Parent-to-Parent” session is held in an adjoining room during the last hour and a half of the program. This gives parents a chance to discuss the topics covered by the day’s presenters.
With an average of about 50 attendees each year, this program has reached out to over 700 young women over its history. Many of the girls return a second and third time, and when they reach high school, join the planning team as facilitators.
Organizations participating in 2013 included: the Medina County District Libraries, Ohio State University Extension and 4-H, Medina Hospital–a Cleveland Clinic Hospital, Cornerstone Wellness Center, Solutions Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., Zonta Club of ABC (Akron-Barberton-Cuyahoga Falls), and AAUW, Medina County Branch. In the past, the YWCA, the Girl Scouts, the Battered Women’s Shelter, the county auditor’s office, the Medina County Health Department, a local bank, and Stop ‘N Go have been part of the planning coalition.
We look forward to continuing this program in the years to come.