August 29, 2021
As families head back into the school year and in-person learning, we want to offer our gratitude and respect for everyone who is working so hard to make this happen in the times we are living through; teachers, school administrators and support staff, parents and the kiddos!
It is a daily balancing act.
Hearing from one mother who's children already are back to in-person school, the lift in spirits is obvious for the kiddos, even as the "normal" challenges of understaffed, over-crowded, under-funded schools and programs become more apparent with each school opening and each school day. Oh for the days of normal challenges.
Meanwhile, weighing the benefits to the mental and emotional health of school children with the potential of community spreading of COVID19 and it's known variants is an everyday risk analysis and management issue for families and school districts everywhere. There's so much to learn, so many ways to grow, change and adapt, so much unknown and unknowable. We hope the resources offered here can provide support and guidance for families in our community, in staying healthy, safe and engaged in learning, growing and rebuilding together the relationships and systems that have suffered since early 2020.
If you know of more resources we'd love to add them to this post, so please get in touch using our contact form or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
note: underlined text links to outside resources
Health and Safety for Families
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction COVID19 Resources to Support Student Well-being and School Safety
Puberty, Sexuality and Gender Expression
Amaze - Age appropriate discussion resources on the web
Fosters resilience in LGBTQ+ youth in Olympia
Stonewall Youth Olympia
Events and peer support for youth - listing of doctors and therapists who are supportive of LGBTQ+ youth
360-888-4273 (call or text)
Emergency - Trevor Hotline
24 hour suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth
Compassionate, Effective Communication
Communication is a lot more work than talking; telling each other how we feel and what we think, expressing our dreams, desires and disappointments. It requires deep listening, observation, personal reflection, and action based on understanding the truth as it is, not how we want it to be. With these practices we begin to open more fully to what others are expressing in conversation, as we strive together for a better understanding of ourselves, each other and the world, that together, we are creating and sharing. This article from Creating The Future offers tips and resources for learning and practicing compassionate listening; a skill we all can use some help with throughout our lifetimes.
Our Week Long Empowerment Camps offer 9-16 year old girls an opportunity to deepen their unique character, cultivate self confidence, develop core life skills and implement daily self-care through an innovative journey toward self-discovery. Empowerment Camps are theme based and have a different theme and Guest Educators each day!
August Empowerment Camp Includes: ice breakers, art projects, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, positive affirmations, wellness tips, All About Me Collages, self care tools, sound healing, dance, health lectures, talking circles, theme based guest speakers, outdoor activities, organic snacks/lunch, cultivating sisterhood and lots of fun!
Monday, August 16: Self Love
Kristen Rubis: Self Love is an essential part of our wholeness. We will discuss the importance of self love and ways we can incorporate it into our daily lives. We will learn about positive affirmations and other ways to shift our minds towards the positive so we can manifest our dreams and create a balanced, healthy life. We will create our own Self Love Mobile to remind us how awesome and empowered we are!
Tuesday, August 17: Self Responsibility
Kelli Mae Willis: Yoga is a powerful tool to awaken your inner knowing. We will use yoga, mindfulness, and reflection to deepen an inner calm, grow our self awareness, and explore the most true part of who we are. We’ll learn about neuroplasticity and how the mind prefers to hang on to the negative, and practice ways to tip the scales back toward balance.
Kate Steward: Design your own circuit flower that lights up with an LED diode. After designing and wiring your flower, create a beautiful flower pot to take it home in. You are both an electrician and an artist in this STEAM activity.
Wednesday, August 18: Self Expression
Nancy Hull: We will explore self expression and self awareness, how to get out of grabs, and boost our self confidence. I teach traditional taekwon do with an emphasis on self-defense and self-empowerment. I am a 6th degree Black Belt and have been involved in taekwon do for over 25 years. I own and operate a school in Chehalis, Washington.
Miriam Hathaway: Through playful prompts, we will explore the many ways we can express ourselves! We’ll be making fun lists, doodles, brainstorms, and maybe even an animal or two…We’ll learn what self-expression means and why it’s important in our relationship to ourselves and others.
Thursday, August 19: Self Empowerment
Drea Steele: Learn to connect with your heart through different yoga shapes that will build your confidence and empower YOU to be who you are!
Jennifer Murtagh: Oddly, your brain is not the best decision maker within your body... your gut is. Together we will learn and practice strategies to help us tap into our intuition, tell it apart from fear or doubt, and practice talking in ways that show others (and ourselves) that our gut is worth listening to.
Friday, August 20: Self Accountability
Jihan Grettenberger: Where does our drinking water come from? Build an edible aquifer and then enjoy your tasty treat. As we talk about water, start thinking about your role in protecting our local water resources.
GIRL POWER ROCKS!
Conscious Minds Conscious Bodies™ Week-Long Camp: Body Awareness for Empowered Choices for girls 9-16 years old. Our Intentional Sexuality Education Camps provide: anatomy/physiology, puberty, menstruation and body changes, consent and boundaries, gender identity and sexual orientation, building healthy relationships, and social media awareness.
CMCB™ Camps Offer:
•Develop Healthy Body Image
•Promote Positive Relationships
•Enhance Social Skills
CMCB™ Camp also Includes: art projects, yoga, meditation techniques, breathing exercises, body awareness techniques, self care tools, sound healing, ice breakers, health lectures, talking circles, theme based guest speakers, outdoor activities, Q & A, organic snacks/lunch, community building and lots of fun!
Monday, July 12: Anatomy, Puberty and Menstruation
11:00-12:00 Dr. Jessica Rose
Campers will learn an embodiment practice that supports rebalancing of the nervous system while amplifying self-awareness, relaxation and presence. This practice supports participants the recognition of the power of their own presence as they directly experience how their body responds.
1:30-3:00 Michele Drake
Girls will learn about the anatomical names and roles of internal and external reproductive organs. We will discuss the journey of the egg and the role of menstruation while we make our anatomy collage.
Tuesday, July 13: Consent and Boundaries
10:45-11:45 Kristen Rubis
Inner Navigation Guide: We will learn to tap into our own intuition as a path towards awareness and safety. We will talk about healthy boundaries and having a clear sense of how to recognize what alignment and trust feels like in our bodies. Where do we receive our intuitive information? In our hearts, minds, guts or somewhere else in our body?
1:30-3:00 Lily Campbell & Simone Symonds
We will be exploring consent, boundaries, and bodily autonomy. We will think about questions like, what is consent? How can we communicate boundaries to those around us? and what do we do if a boundary is broken?"
Wednesday, July 14: Self Image and Social Media Awareness
10:45-11:45 Linda Terry
Grow your garden: Build your focus, memory, and thinking speed through fun activities and games.
1:30-3:00 Elizabeth Swanson
We will cover various terms in regards to body image; body positivity, body negativity, body neutrality. We will discuss what shapes our body image and how social media can play a part. There will be a partner activity and then we will have an art project where we decorate mirrors with empowering words and art.
Thursday, July 15: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
10:45-11:45 Cindel Tobias is a local high school teacher who is passionate about helping young people develop tools to be advocates for themselves and their greater community. Through movement practices such as Qigong, we hold our bodies in aligned postures, develop strong stabilizing muscles, and move our joints through their full ranges of motion. In a world where it is easy to be hunched over a phone or computer for many hours, movement practices are essential for not only our physical health but also our mental health.
1:30-3:00 Sara Kukkonen
Gender and sexuality are a beautiful spectrum. We’ll explore the difference between gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, as well as sexual and romantic orientation. We’ll also discuss where our ideas of gender roles come from and how we can all work together to create a safe community.
Friday, July 16: Resiliency, Relationships and Self Care
10:45-11:45 Amber Jenson
Meditation is a great way to help us calm our minds and tune in to the present. We will start by doing a meditation that engages our senses so that we can let our worries go and be focused on the moment. We will also do an Emotional Freedom Technique meditation, otherwise known as Tapping, focused on self-acceptance. Tapping helps our body move energy and feel more balanced. Tapping actually helps our brains change our thoughts and emotions so that we can move past challenges and see things differently.
1:30-3:00 Amber Jenson
We will learn what resilience is and how to build it so you can face challenges feeling empowered and capable. You’ll explore ways to improve your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing so that you can recover more quickly when you experience challenges, focus on problem solving, and keep a positive outlook. You will recognize how positive connections with yourself and others can enhance your resilience and support you through challenging times. By the end of class you’ll have a plan to help you thrive and tackle tough situations and bounce back!
Join us for a virtual evening of Art, Fire Dancing, Music, Hip Hop, Comedy, Poetry, Bollywood, a Sing-a-Long, Community, FUN and Empowerment! Community FUNdraiser Variety Show: Come be Entertained and Empowered! Saturday, June 19, 7-8:30 pm pst.
Variety Show TICKET Options:
$10 - Individual
$25 - Family/Friend Group of 3-5
$50 - Family/Friend Group of 6-10
Enjoy an "ADD-ON” of locally made wine, a regionally sourced Happy Heart Tea Blend, Champagne, Gelato & Brownies to add to your ticket sales!
$30: Building Earth Farm: Red Wine Blend or Grand Vin Wine Merchant Champagne
$10: GRuB: Happy Heart Tea Blend (Thanks Elise & Ingrid)
$10: Blue Heron Brownies
$10: Sofie Scoops Gelato
$25: Delivery of Add-Ons
$100: POWER UP for Scholarships
Thank YOU to Our Event SPONSORS!
Olympia Federal Savings
Holistic Home Group
Olympia Waldorf School
Thanks to Our Friends for Your Acts!
Rebecca June: Fire Dancing
Alison Lewis: All Roads Lead You Home
Yet Untamed: Hunter's Moon
Kelly & Christopher Cole: Mojave
Tanya Mote: What If We Believed
Kelli Mae & Friends: Bhangra
Sarah Walz : Hip Hop
Sadye Osterloh: Opera Silks
Lisa Templeton: Each Moment I Abide
Sadye Osterloh & Della Moustachella: Hot Dogs
Mr. Nick Davio: Stealing Summer Feeling
Live Music with The Painted Toenails: ending the night with a Sing-a-Long & Dance Party!
Join us for an evening of Information and Empowerment!
Saturday, April 17, 5:30-7 pm pst!
We will share about our Two different curricula, what it’s like to become a Volunteer, how to be a Community Sponsor, ways to become a Guest Educator, how to earn Community Service Hours and other ways to support our mission!
Where: Online on Zoom
When: Saturday, April 17, 5:30-7:00 pm
Register Now: https://www.empowerment4girls.com/events.htm
~ By Jennifer Johnson, Empowerment 4 Girls Board President
Left to right: Claudia, Grace, Jennifer, Iris
Women who danced just enough...
I come from a long line of womxn that did what was needed to survive and thrive in the times that birthed them. Womxn that planted trees for shade, grew flowers to attract pollinators, harvested grapes before making wine. Women who danced just enough while the soup simmered all while caring for their neighbors’ children so that other women could thrive, nourished by the salty soup of community.
These humble heroines marked their houses in secret as safe places for travelers needing food, while humming a little gospel under their breath. They dressed their salads with eggs and salt, smelled of rising bread every Sunday, held my green eyes with their green eyes, honoring the power and pain that a woman must endure in her lifetime, no matter the time of life. They talked about God as an active force for good, healing, nature and compassion. They talked about God as he but allowed all of the questions from a child certain that god is a she and a me and a we.
Power with the softness of warm bread...
The womxn of my lineage wielded their power with the softness of warm bread, powdered cheeks and moistened lips. They led their lives as leaders of their families and their communities and though I may be the only one that remembers their names as we celebrate Womxn’s Herstory, they are my herstory, and I am a continuation of their generous lives, mighty and small. Viola, Grace, Roberta, Gertrude, Paula...they lift me on their backs, ancestors to my kin, holy in their simplicity.
My womxn taught me that prayer is an act of love, that abuse can be forgiven but never tolerated and most importantly to read, rest and listen as though my life depended on the ability to read, rest and listen. Their creative life force continues to feed my own creative life force and I teach my daughter that abuse bears no responsibility but to the abuser, that forgiveness is an act of love that is given only by free will and that reading, resting, listening and feeding oneself is self-care. Self-care is the way that we as womxn, descending unbroken from this long line of hard-working, gospel-humming, hip-swaying womxn, survive and thrive.
Everyday of our lives, may we give thanks to the womxn that birthed us, raised us, become us.
Image by jmanuelito from Pixabay
Shifting Toward Greater Equity for All
The entrenched patriarchy we are working to shift away from, towards greater equity for all people, even shows up in the word for our collective past; history. We’ll refer to it from here on out as Womxn’s HERSTORY Month, to help reframe the importance of womxn in building our past, present and future societies. In keeping with our commitment to recognize all people who identify as female, we use womxn, in place of woman/women, to free us from the externally imposed position as sub-man, and to acknowledge and uplift our LGBTQ+ sisters, past, present and future, who have done (and sacrificed) so much to re-direct the narrative from a binary view of the world to a pluralistic reality best represented by x.
We are living in unprecedented times; from our first womxn of color as Vice President of the nation; to a deadly pandemic; to violent suppression of people’s rights to peacefully assemble and address common grievances with our government; to the rise of white supremacy and violent assaults against the people and institutions of our government. As difficult as the challenges are, these are exciting times to be a womxn, and we are presented with a great opportunity to build on the work Empowerment 4 Girls is doing to affirm the self-worth of all girls.
Sharing Herstory and Shaping the Future
Womxn’s Herstory Month began as a project of the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women, in 1978. Hundreds of students from dozens of schools across the county participated in an essay contest, presentations at schools, and culminating in a parade through downtown Santa Rosa, California with marching bands and thematic floats to celebrate Womxn’s Herstory Week. This project sparked a movement as communities across the country started adopting Womxn’s Herstory Week as part of their public celebrations. With the advocacy and efforts of women led by the National Womxn’s Herstory Project, the US Congress was pushed to recognize these events with a proposal for a resolution to declare a National Womxn’s Herstory Week. President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation on February 28, 1980 declaring the week of March 8th, 1980 as the first National Womxn’s Herstory Week. The National Womxn’s Herstory Project further urged the US Congress to declare March as National Womxn’s Herstory Month, in perpetuity. With bipartisan support in 1987, National Womxn’s Herstory Month was voted into existence, and since 1995 every US president has issued an annual proclamation designating March as Womxn’s Herstory Month.
Womxn have continued to struggle for acknowledgement for our contributions to all aspects of our development as a species, and we continue that struggle today. Taking a single month out of the year to focus on and celebrate the stories of womxn who’ve led the way or stood out in the fight for equity, respect, and acknowledgement still seems like a small drop in a vast ocean of stories that are male dominated. It’s an important month though, and we’ll be keeping the appreciation and excitement for the transformational power of womxn present in our daily social media posts, even as we keep the recognition throughout the years to come, that we are standing on the shoulders of all womxn as we do our daily work to educate, nurture and empower all girls as they grow to become drivers and participants in the ongoing shift to a more conscious and compassionate world for everyone.
Join us for this FREE ONLINE EVENT!
Gratitude Gathering, December 5, 4:00-5:30 pm pst
Every year we gather in community to express our gratitude to all the individuals and businesses that support our work in affirming the self-worth of all girls as we lead toward a world where all youth are confident, resilient and resourceful.
This year, in light of COVID19, we are holding our Gratitude Gathering online and combining it with our year-end fundraising auction. Our Silent Auction begins at 9:00 am on Tuesday, Dec 1 at 9:00 am and ends during our Live Gratitude Event on Saturday, Dec 5 at 5:30 pm.
Registration is Free: https://www.empowerment4girls.com/events.html
In the midst of all that’s been challenging about 2020, Empowerment 4 Girls was blessed this summer with a large bequest from the estate of Ina Fennell. I did not know Ina, nor did anyone else in our organization. We are deeply moved by this tangible expression of encouragement and appreciation for our mission to affirm the self-worth of all girls.
Ina worked for Olympia Parks and Recreation until retiring due to cancer at the end of 2017. Her battle with cancer ended on April 17, 2018 and it was her wish that her estate be shared among 5 local nonprofits, including Empowerment 4 Girls. This thoughtful estate planning shares Ina’s financial legacy with the organizations in her community whose work she believed in and that she wanted to support, even after she was gone. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for Ina Fennell.
In planning for this gift in her estate, Ina couldn’t have possibly known how important it would be, arriving as it did, in the middle of a pandemic. This gift came at a critical moment for our young organization as we quickly worked to adapt our in-person programming to on-line and socially distant camps, to ensure our girls stay socially supported and connected during this time of physical distancing to reduce community spread of Covid19.
I am 10 months older than Ina. She and I could have been school mates if we’d grown up in the same rural part of America somewhere. We both became legal secretaries after high school, and moved away from our hometowns after graduation to forge our own paths. She and my mom shared a distant and unknown bond as members of the Rainbow Girls. Ina and I grew up in different parts of rural America somewhere and although we didn’t know each other, we could have been friends. Yet, even without knowing each other Ina and I personally touched each other’s lives through this organization. These small connections build on each other and support the positive changes we all want to see in our small, shared world.
It’s September 2020. Pandemic rages across our planet; fires are raging across the American west; earth’s children are yelling, crying, dying for justice and equality; our mother earth is under assault by those who would enrich themselves, ignorant of the cost to people or planet. Antiquated systems of social order are being laid bare for us all to see how badly it all needs repair, so we can get on with the work of attending to those repairs. We ARE rising to this challenge! Humanity is surging and shifting to make way for a more conscious, compassionate world. Ina’s planned gift to Empowerment 4 Girls is a beautiful expression of the shift of trust to womxn and girls to guide the way forward in the face of our history, to a more just, equal and empowered world for everyone.
Ina’s generous spirit and gift of grace will carry Empowerment 4 Girls through these dark times and beyond as we continue our work to help create a world where all youth are confident, resilient and resourceful.
Blessed be and blessed rest, Ina Fennell.
In deep respect and gratitude,
Empowerment 4 Girls
Ina Davidson Fennell
Born in Brooklyn, NewYork 12-12-1961. She was the third child and her parents were much older (Father 54 and Mother 43) when she arrived. Her Father worked for RCA Radio. She lived in Florida, Kansas, and Roy, WA. Graduated from Yelm High School and attended Capitol Business College to become a legal secretary. Soon after graduating she started working as a secretary for the Olympia Parks & Recreation Department. She would always light up the room and the customers loved her. She retired from the Parks Department 12-31-2017 due to cancer. On 4-17-2018 at the age of 57 she passed away of pancreatic cancer.
In high school Ina belonged to the International Order of the Rainbow Girls and was their Worthy Advisor. She has always been an advocate for girls to be independent and respected. She was independent, owned her own home and two other properties. As a young woman she tragically lost her husband in a quad accident (he drowned trying to cross a river) after being married only a short time. Although she moved on to another longterm relationship it eventually ended. She did not have any children of her own, but loved kids. She herself struggled with some of her relationships. She read many books about relationships and sought counseling to help her understand them.
I think she picked Empowerment for Girls because she felt it was important to build strength and self esteem in girls so they are able to recognize and be empowered to make decisions on what a good and bad relationship looks like.
Ina had many friends and acquaintances and loved her many pets she had over the years. She volunteered helping to put on and decorate at many events at her work and for Senior Services which are both in the the Olympia Center building. Her mother had patronized their services before her passing.
Ina registered kids for activities at the Olympia Center and generously willed money to a program that pays for kids who cannot afford to attend the programs.
She was an avid antiquer and loved collecting anything useful, unique, or beautiful to decorate her home. She was a dreamer full of ideas clipped from magazines in her dream book for gardening and remodeling her home to incorporate all her treasures and antiques.
She was generous and thoughtful ... giving cards, small gifts or flowers to her friends as a thank you or just to brighten their day. She was always up for attending gatherings and social events. She was a beautiful person...kind, funny, and serious.
Monday, August 24: Self Awareness Day
Guest Speaker: Emily McMason 1:30-3:15 pm
“Living in a Social Media World” — It can be a great way to connect. It can also disconnect us from what’s important. We’ll talk about some cool research—the bathing suit test and the kitchen table test. We’ll look at some not-so-little laws—how old do you actually have to be to have a Snapchat account? We’ll dive into brain-behavior—what happens inside your head when your device buzzes at you? And talk about how to decide what to share on social media and with whom.
Tuesday August 25: Self Expression Day
Guest Teacher Andrea Mikita 10:45-11:45 am
Andrea is a Blue Belt Nia and Moving to Heal instructor. Nia is a holistic movement blend of dance arts, healing arts and martial arts. Connect body, mind and emotions through a journey of self-discovery, awareness and connection with the JOY of movement.
Guest Speaker: Marie Poland 1:30-3:15 pm
Heartfire Astro Renaissance: We will utilize Astrology to take a closer look at who we are. Each of us was born with specific characteristics, including the various ways we think, feel, act and who and what we are most drawn to. We will look at the location of the planets at our birth to support a greater acceptance for ourselves and our path.
Wednesday, August 26, Self Responsibility Day
Guest Teacher: Annette McQueen 10:45-11:45 am
Our world is becoming more and more complex with more and more people experiencing anxiety, stress, and apathy. Our youth have unprecedented challenges. This YOGA class will offer some movement, breathwork, and meditation to strengthen our bodies, reset our nervous system, and calm our minds. We will learn some techniques which will empower us to take responsibility for our own wellbeing and perhaps the ability to extend some guidance to others.
Guest Speaker: Jennifer Johnson 1:30-3:15 pm
Learn how to use your knowledge to clean, sanitize and make your house smell good, safely! We’ll learn how to read labels on common household products to be responsible shoppers. Learn to use, store and dispose of household products responsibly to create a healthier home. We’ll play bingo to learn about safer products and make a green cleaner to take home.
Thursday, August 27: Self Love Day
Guest Teacher: Kelli Mae Willis 10:45-11:45 am
Know thyself. Yoga is a powerful tool to awaken your inner knowing. We will use yoga, mindfulness, and reflection to deepen an inner calm, grow our self awareness, and explore the most true part of who we are. We’ll learn about neuroplasticity and how the mind prefers to hang on to the negative, and practice ways to tip the scales back toward balance.
Guest Speaker: Jennifer Dawn 1:30-3:15 pm
During our time together, we will deepen our dive into the notion and practices of Self-Love. Each of the girls will have an opportunity to write a letter to either an empowered aspect of themselves or to an aspect that was particularly challenged at some point in their life. We will write to ourselves from the wisdom, grace and insight that we really wished we had received in those moments. The girls will also have a chance to create some Post It Love Notes of kindness, encouragement and compassion to themselves and to those they hold dear to be distributed as touch stones of Love shared inward and out.
Friday, August 28: Self Empowerment Day
Guest Speaker: Sarah Meyer 1:30-3:15 pm
Building our own personal resilience is something that takes practice and attention. We never know what life is going to throw our way, so it's important for kids and adults to have a resilience practice. Much like taking a vitamin daily to make sure we have the nutrients we need, a resilience practice is very similar. In this "I Am" workshop we will explore different tools for building resilience through games, group discussions, and quiet reflection.
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