Maryville Brings Girls Together with Sister to Sister

July 20, 2011

This is the fourth post in a series featuring the 2011 Breaking through Barriers Award winners, which were announced in June at the AAUW National Convention.

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  This is part 4

“Take the boulders off your shoulders; stay true by being you!”

These were the words of wisdom that middle and high school girls shared as part of the plan of action they developed at the 2010 Sister-to-Sister Summit, the 10th annual conference organized by the AAUW Maryville (TN) Branch. This free event took place at Maryville College, bringing together girls from schools across Blount County, Tennessee, to discuss a wide variety of issues such as peer pressure and body image. Other pieces of advice included “One size does NOT fit all!” and — about dating and relationships — “Take it easy, take it slow. Make sure he’s not just an average Joe!”

At the 2010 summit, girls also had the opportunity to participate in yoga, kickboxing, and other activities. Local media covered the event, spotlighting the contagiously fun atmosphere and uplifting message. Organizers noted that by the end of the event, girls often form relationships across school districts, bonding over issues common to them all. Additionally, selected girls received training to lead discussion groups, providing them with hands-on leadership experience. Two co-leaders facilitated each of the small groups, where the girls set out their plan of action, which is sent out to the media following the conference.

“We are so honored to have received this recognition … for our 10 (soon to be 11) years of organizing and holding Sister-to-Sister Summits,” said Harri Ropp, president of the Women’s Equity Foundation, the organization supporting the Maryville branch.

Members of the Maryville branch used especially creative fundraising means to support the summit — in 2007 a local restaurant started selling a Sister-to-Sister sandwich, the proceeds of which benefited their cause. The money goes to good use: 110 girls attended this year’s conference, the biggest summit yet, made possible by additional support from community donations reaching $1,350 and assistance from more than 39 volunteers.

To find out more about this exciting event, contact the Maryville branch.

This post was written by AAUW Communications Intern Ann Baum.

AAUWguest By:   |   July 20, 2011

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