Pop music, laughter and confident shouts of, “Hey, girl!” filled the 110 Student Center of Green Acres Baptist Church on Saturday morning, as more than 250 sixth-grade girls from 18 area middle schools attended the Girl Power event put on by the Junior League of Tyler.
The event, which is in its sixth year, has a goal of empowering young girls of Smith County through education, Amy Brocato Pearson, event co-chairwoman, said.
“It is a program designed by the Junior League of Tyler that empowers, encourages, inspires and promotes volunteerism and leadership.”
The theme of the event was “Movies, Magazines and Making a Difference.”
The lesson of the day was to accept and appreciate true inner beauty, and to ignore what the media often portrays as beauty.
“Today’s goal, specifically, is to boost self-esteem and have them realize that beauty comes from within, and not from media’s image of what we are. If they leave with that message today, I’ll be happy,” Ms. Pearson said.
Gina Moers, co-chairwoman of the event, echoed Ms. Pearson’s sentiments.
“I want these girls to come out today (being) empowered, and knowing that what the media says is not necessarily 100 percent accurate; the images they see in magazines have been doctored quite a bit,” she said. “That’s not real life, and those aren’t real bodies. They just need to love who they are and not aspire to what’s in the magazines.”
The conference, which also emphasized making a difference through volunteerism, allowed the girls to participate in making fleece blankets for Project Linus, a local nonprofit organization that provides comfort to children who have been traumatized in various situations.
Ambulances, fire trucks, the Children’s Advocacy Center and CASA are the recipients of the blankets.
The keynote speaker of the morning was Meghan Goad, girls’ middle school minister at Green Acres Baptist Church.
Ms. Goad talked to the girls during a segment called “The Meg Show.” She delivered a message of self-esteem and living a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s a talk show with a purpose. She reaches these girls like I’ve never seen,” Ms. Moers said.
Ms. Pearson stressed that this program is aimed at sixth-grade girls for a reason.
Sixth grade “is a hard year for girls,” she said. “It’s a transitional year, and they have a hard time with self-esteem; they struggle with it. I think if they start hearing the message as early as possible, maybe the effects of peer pressure and media pressure won’t be as intense for them.”
The next Girl Power event is scheduled for Jan. 25. The theme of the conference will be “Fit and Fab” and will emphasize a healthy lifestyle. Girl Power events are open to all sixth-grade girls in Smith County.
Students wishing to participate should preregister through their school or online at www.juniorleagueoftyler.org .