Texas’ First Conference for Girls Celebrates Fifth Year in Austin and Tackles Bullying, Body Image and the Challenges of Being a Girl

Featured experts include Dr. Robyn Silverman, nationally-recognized expert on teen development and author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat

Over a dozen Central Texas community experts offer engaging activities and workshops for girls and parents

Austin – October 29, 2012— Over 1,200 girls and parents will meet in Austin on Sat., Nov. 3, 2012 for the fifth annual “We Are Girls” Conference produced by Austin nonprofit organization GENaustin, The Girls Empowerment Network. The day-long conference is headlined by keynote speaker Dr. Robyn Silverman, author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat, and includes activities and workshops that just for girls (grades 5-12), just for parents and for both. Other keynotes include Fran Harris, author of Girls Who Mean Business, and Adrien Paczosa, The Food Teacher. GENaustin offers Spanish translation for all keynotes.

This full day of activities, workshops and speakers helps girls improve body image and self-esteem, prevent bullying, build friendships, express creativity, understand sexuality, and be safe in a social media world that’s increasingly connected. At the same time, parents may attend workshops especially for them given by experts on teen development and parenting.

“The We Are Girls Conference extends the environment and community that our GENaustin programs cultivate all-year round, which help girls and parents face the challenges of girlhood,” says Julia Cuba, executive director of GENaustin. “We don’t dwell on the negative issues facing girls. We focus on the possibilities and potential in each girl and give her role models she can relate to, especially the support and community of other girls.”

Girls and parents also choose from over a dozen workshops led by Austin area businesses and community organizations such as Girlstart, Latinitas, Ballet Austin Butler Community School, Money U, Lifeworks and many others. Topics include how girls use social media; how to start businesses and manage money; how to cope with stress; how to exercise and make healthy choices; dating safety; the language of friendship; science and creativity; underage drinking; and more.

Austin middle school student Solana O. has attended with her mom for the last three years and finds something new and inspiring every year.

“No one teaches you about friendship in school. We Are Girls does that,” Solana says.  “My favorite workshops are where we get to talk to women about their careers. Before that workshop, I didn’t know women in real life who were detectives or part of the police, and I could never talk to them and hear their experiences. You learn that girls are afraid to go into fields where men dominate, but that even though it’s hard, women can make it.”

In two workshops especially for parents, Barb Steinberg addresses how to empowering girls to withstand the pressures of being perfect and how to talk to teens about sex.

“We Are Girls is designed especially for girls and the adults who care about them,” says Cuba. “We know that parents and daughters leave feeling inspired, connected and empowered.”

Another Austin area eighth grader, Tatiana, says that the We Are Girls conference and clubGEN meetings have helped her personally and socially. Her friends turn to her for help when they see girlfriends being bullied or facing other struggles. “Usually you go to things where you just have a bunch of people lecturing you, and you don’t have any choice about what you’re learning about. But I think having options like We Are Girls gives you is really cool because you get to explore more and you get to expand your thinking, and have the option to try something you’re really interested in and want to learn more about.”

Wristbands for this day-long event are $30. Scholarships may be requested at http://genaustin.org/WAG/wearegirls-scholarship.php/

About GENaustin and the We Are Girls Conference

Through after-school clubs, programs and community workshops for girls and parents, GENaustin (The Girls Empowerment Network) supports and guides girls to make wise choices as they navigate the unique pressures of girlhood. GENaustin created We Are Girls in 2008 to expand its services that empower girls and their parents to navigate the challenges of girlhood. 2012 Honorary co-chairs are the First Lady of Texas Anita Perry and University of Texas women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt. We Are Girls is sponsored by many supportive Central Texas individuals and businesses. For a complete list, please visit http://genaustin.org/what-we-do/we-are-girls-conference/sponsorship-opportunities/sponsors/. To learn more about GENaustin, please visit www.genaustin.org.

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Vanessa Wright