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POWER UP Luncheon inspires local young women to achieve their dreams

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

New program at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids teaches young women to believe in themselves and continue to dream.

P.O.W.E.R.  U.P. (Providing Opportunities for Women to Empower young women to Realize their Unique Potential) came to life last fall when Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids' board member Michelle Wickens approached the Clubs' Director of Programming about creating a program to inspire young women to reach for their dreams and realize that they are beautiful and capable if they believe in themselves. 

This year, with the support of local sponsors and Boys & Girls Club staff members, Michelle's dream became a reality.

On July 14th, nine female Club members (ages 14 and up) participated in the first P.O.W.E.R. U.P. Luncheon. The girls underwent a selection process in which they had to write an essay about what made them feel beautiful, to highlight that beauty comes in many forms not just superficially. The essays had to answer these three things: 1) Describe someone who is beautiful. 2) What characteristics do they have? 3) What makes you feel beautiful?

The nine young women selected took part in an amazing day of beauty, etiquette, and shopping/budgeting education thanks to Crown Jewel Spa and Salon of Ada, Cumulus Radio, Todd Wenzel Automotive, and Amway. The day ended with lunch at The River House in Ada where the girls heard from positive role models within the community who have come from backgrounds comparable to theirs. This year's luncheon keynote speakers were Eva Aguirre Cooper, Community Affairs Director at WOOD TV 8, and Candace Matthews, Regional President of the Americas at Amway. They discussed overcoming life's challenges, following their dreams, and never giving up.

"These young women have challenging futures ahead of them, and it's important for them see that people from backgrounds similar to theirs have done astounding things with their lives," said Michelle. "I started this program to show them that it is not about a pretty face or what labels are on your clothes. It is about self-confidence and the beauty that comes from within when you believe in yourself. I always tell them that they are responsible for writing their own story, so they better make sure it's a good one."

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids plans to implement this program annually and hopes to grow it into something making even more of a difference in the lives of their teenage female Club members. If they are able to secure the funding, they would eventually love to add a scholarship portion to the P.O.W.E.R. U.P. program.

For more information about this program, please email Erin Crison at [email protected].

To see more photos from this year's event, please click here!


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