Empowerment Day Helps Our Young Women Build Confidence

Empowerment Day Helps Our Young Women Build Confidence

Though lack of confidence can be a problem affecting young people as they hit adolescence, it is one that can especially impact young women. By the age of 12, most girls report a serious decline in self-confidence, noting that they feel self-doubt and a pressure to be perfect and please others, according to a poll conducted for 2018’s The Confidence Code.

Mercy Home’s Leader Council, a group of accomplished professional women, aim to combat this confidence gap through its Empowerment Day for our young women. This year’s second annual event was held on Saturday, April 30, at our Walsh Campus. Twelve volunteers gathered in Walgreen Home’s living room with 24 of our young ladies to talk about building confidence.

Using activities from The Confidence Code journal, our volunteers and young people broke off into small groups to talk about times when they were stressed and worried as well as times when they were relaxed and confident. They also discussed things that are hard or scary and things that they are good at or that make them happy. This exploration culminated in celebrating things that make each of the participants unique and special.

“I am always so impressed by our youths’ ability to participate and share in these activities,” Amy Schulz, the associate vice president of the Walsh Campus, said. “[They are] truly working to better themselves and each other.”

As part of the celebration of what makes each participant special, our volunteers and young people created shields representing important parts of themselves. Becca Bowlin, coordinator of our Craft Cottage, provided support and encouragement as participants got to work on their shields. Each took Polaroid selfies to tape in the middle of their shield, which was a favorite part of the activity. Some of our young women proudly shared their shields with the group, discussing the parts of themselves they felt were most important.

Bowlin provided washi tape and stencils of images that represented things like African culture, Mexican flags, indigenous patterns, and zodiac signs, which our kids used with neon paint dabbers. The shields were a huge hit among the group, and Bowlin noted that she carefully planned the project to resonate with our kids.

“I have learned to pay attention to what is important to the youth,” Bowlin said. “Art projects are a partnership. They have to trust I am listening to them and will deliver, as much as I trust them to follow directions and work with us. And above all, everyone has to trust the process. When you do, art magic happens.”

Food for the event was provided by All Aboard and Afro Joe’s, as well as juice from Bani’s Beets—all diverse, local small businesses whose owners stopped by to share their stories with the group. Another local business owner, Morgan Martin, also led the group in some inspirational movement and dance. It was a fun and meaningful day for everyone in attendance!

“We had a great day together and I am grateful to all of the Leader Council members for their involvement in the planning and execution of the day,” Schulz said. “We are excited to have this as an annual event and are looking forward to next year!”

Thank you to our Empowerment Day chairs Susan Golden and Liz Evans, along with committee members Emily Cole, Bridget Gibbons, Kathy McCabe, Maureen Gainer Reilly, Mary Lee Schneider, and Susan Tomilo for their hard work putting together this event. 

Another very special thanks to Bridget Gibbons for securing funding for this incredible day from Ed Smith and Ullico. 

And thank you to Maureen Gainer Reilly for connecting us with great local businesses that were so inspiring to our kids. 

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