Nuestras voces/Our Voices: Wise Latinas en la lucha



Previous Girl Empowerment Festivals and Partners:


School Collaboration in Wyoming to Prevent Violence Against Girls
Girl Empowerment Festival model implemented in Douglas, WY

Douglas, Wyoming – On Saturday, April 17th Douglas Middle School was host to a unique girl empowerment event. The half-day “Be the Creator of Your Own Sunshine” seminar had 41 girl attendees and offered five distinct sessions that addressed personal safety, positive self-image, rights and responsibility:

The Power of Color - an empowering art session
that reaffirmed each girl’s worth

Beauty and the Girl in the Mirror - a session on
body image and media literacy

Wyoming Law: Know your Rights - offered information regarding legal right of harassment, assault, and teen dating violence victims

I’m Worth It! - addressed healthy dating relationships

Think Before you ‘SEND’ - a session on the risks of sexting

The girls received a wealth of information from dedicated volunteer presenters who offered repeated sessions in order to assure that all girls were able to attend each session. The presenters included representatives from Douglas High School, the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, a Deputy County Attorney, and other volunteers.

This unique event was made possible through an inter-agency collaborative model that included the following partners:

  • Converse County Coalition Against Violence
  • Converse County School District #1
  • Douglas High School BEAT students
  • Human Resource Council
  • Memorial Hospital of Converse County
  • Safe and Drug Free Schools
  • Converse County Public Health Nursing
  • Wyoming Department of Education

The Arte Sana Connection

In September 2010 Arte Sana Director, Laura Zarate offered a workshop segment on the Girl Empowerment Festival at the National Sexual Assault Conference and encouraged all attendees to develop their own customized events. Douglas High School nurse, Jean Schroeder just happened to be one of the workshop attendees.

Long story short - only seven months after attending the workshop on Girl Empowerment Festivals, Jean made sure that Wyoming would host its own event! Arte Sana is honored to have supported this event with the creation of a presentation and accompanying handout on sexting.

Unique aspects of the Wyoming girl empowerment seminar included an event logo design by Sonia Sieg, Douglas High School art teacher and a PSA developed by Mick Wiest, who teaches English at Douglas High School and Eastern Wyoming College. The organizers managed to get local radio air time for the PSA to help get the word out.

Thanks to the effective coordination of a small planning committee headed up by Jean Schroeder, the Douglas community was able to offer 41 young female residents empowering messages to help them, their friends and families stay safe.

Girl Comments:

"I thought it was very VERY great!!!" "
Thanks! Everything was perfect"

Re. favorite session:
"The body image session, it just told me I was not alone"
"They should have a class for guys on how to treat other people"

Organizer Comments:

"We decorated the area in festive colors with a bouquet of tulips on each table (that we gave away) we had a raffle prize for each girl, and were able to offer them a fabulous lunch!  I have heard so many positive things from the girls. 

It was a great experience and I thank you for the inspiration to do this!  Had I not been to your session in Virginia this would have never happened!"
–Jean Schroeder

Girl attendees shared recommendations for future workshop topics and organizers have already begun to plan a second girl empowerment seminar in 2011!

Girl Empowerment 60-Second Spot
by Mick Wiest

(Ad begins with Aretha Franklin singing . . . “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.”)

Girl 1: What on earth are you listening to?

Girl 2: Aretha Franklin.

Girl 1: That’s like from the Middle Ages, right?

Girl 2: Sorta. It’s from an old record album of my Grandma’s, but the message is cool. I saw it on a poster about this Girl Empowerment thing that’s gonna happen right here in Douglas.

Girl 1: Girl Empowerment?

Girl 2: Yeah. It’s a free conference at Douglas Middle School to help girls become strong and confident and to show them how to have healthy relationships.

Girl 1: I think I could use it. I’m feeling really uncomfortable about the way Todd’s been treating me lately.

Girl 2: Any girl 8th through 12th grade can come, whether they are in a relationship yet or not. Why don’t you come with us. (beat) Free lunch and cool workshops. Meghan, Jenny, and I are all going.

Girl 1: Count me in.

Girl 2: Awesome. We’ll pick you up at 8:15. Check-in and a light breakfast are at 8:30.

Girl 1: See you on the 17th.

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