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Girl power

Conference at Kensington High School aims to empower female students.

Students at Kensington High School prepare for the conference. Front row (from l): Lisandra Ruiz, Leticia Norton and Suehaley Santana. Back row (from l): Jessmaire Massa, Lemiya Shaat, Daisha Avila, Tyshira Mills, Edilin Baez, Daviana Collazo, Deloresanne Bickel and Jamilette Mendez. PHOTO: JAMIE CLARK

By Melissa Komar

Female students in Kensington will receive a powerful message this weekend: Be courageous, be independent, be victorious.
That’s the slogan for the Bold and Beautiful Conference, which will take place at Kensington High School, 2051 E. Cumberland St., on Saturday, June 3 and it’s all about empowering girls.
The free event geared toward African-American and Latino students in the Kensington and North Philly regions will feature keynote speakers, make-and-take activities and workshops all focusing on everything female.
Debora Carrera, a superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia and pastor at the nearby Urban Worship Center, wanted to continue a tradition from her time as principal at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, 1901 N. Front St.
“We held what was known as ‘Shero Day.’ It was a day for all the girls,” Carrera said. “We would always have a conference for the girls featuring keynote speakers and performances. The girls all came together and really let their guards down. It was amazing to see how the conference affected them.”
Carrera is on the steering committee for the upcoming conference alongside Bridget Bujak, principal at Linc School, 122 W. Erie Ave.
Staff from The Linc School, along with Kensington High School, Kensington CAPA and Kensington Health Sciences, 2463 Emerald St., are organizing the conference.
“These girls experience drama in their day-to-day lives,” Bujak said. “Just getting to school, or helping support their families. We want to show them it doesn’t have to be about drama and that it can be empowering for young women to come together.”
The day’s activities will kick off with a keynote speaker and journaling session.
The girls will receive a free T-shirt, a photo booth will be on site for the day and lunch will be provided courtesy of Gear Up.
Additionally, girls will be able to participate in “make-it-take-it” workshops and create everything from homemade facials, to charm bracelets, to vision boards.
“We really just want to give them an opportunity to relax and be a girl,” Bujack said.
Other keynote speakers will present throughout the day, including a 14-year-old female filmmaker and women in office throughout the city.
Girls will be able to choose from 10 workshops.
Workshops include Financial Literacy; Domestic Abuse: Recognizing the Signs; I’m a Girl Boss! (a panel of women working in male-dominated jobs); Get Schooled (a panel of college students); Healthy Connections & Social Media Best Practices; NamaSlay: Stress Management; Fashion Is My Passion (How to build a fashionable and appropriate wardrobe); Healthy Eating and Fitness Habit; Self-Esteem, Self Respect, Self-Image; and From the Hood to Doing Good: Women Sharing Stories.
Select girls will also present a fashion show, with donations from the Urban Worship Church and a focus on outfits for different occasion such as a college interview and meeting a significant other’s parents.
The message of the conference is simple: Dream big.
“The ultimate goal is to inspire the girls to dream beyond their circumstances,” Carrera said. “We hope by putting women in front of them who went through similar experiences really makes them see how successful they can become.”
The Bold and Beautiful Conference will be held on Saturday, June 9, at Kensington High School, 2051 E. Cumberland St. Doors open at 9 a.m. The event will begin at 10 a.m. To register for the free event, visit eventbrite.com/e/bold-beautiful-girls-conference-tickets-34112093189. Donations welcome. To donate, visit gofundme.com/boldandbeautiful2017. For more details about the conference, visit facebook.com/BBGC2017/.

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