My name is Erica Yeung, and I had the opportunity to job shadow at YWCA Edmonton under Gini Beaumont, Girls’ Program Coordinator, as part of the U of A’s Job Shadow program. For this, I got to attend the Power of Being a Girl Conference – a free one-day event for girls from schools throughout Edmonton and area.
The most talked about workshop of the day was internet safety information presented by SAFFRON. The presenter discussed how to protect yourself online, especially when using social media, and what to do when you are a witness or victim of cyberbullying. Workshops were also presented by the Canadian Mental Health Association, and YWCA’s YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Centre and Rebecca Lappa, a local singer-songwriter, performed a few of her very own songs for the Girl Empowerment Song Session.
The keynote speaker was Gold medalist, Viviane Forest, thanks to RBC’s Olympian program. Viviane has won multiple medals over the last 14 years including Gold in Alpine Skiing and two Golds in Goalball! She brought her gold medal from Vancouver 2010 and passed it around for all the girls to see. Viviane is legally blind, with only 4% vision remaining. Everyone was amazed and inspired by her achievements, and the girls were left star struck. Viviane is an exemplary role model for girls, showing how far you can go with humility, passion, and perseverance.
Various organizations set up booths that the girls could engage with. Organizations ranged from the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, WISEST (Women In Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology), Camp fYrefly, Money Mentors, and many more. The students were exposed to the diverse opportunities and resources available to girls in our community.
To cap off the day, Carrie Doll, longstanding news anchor for CTV, gave an inspiring talk about her life and chasing your dreams. The girls received journals from YWCA Edmonton, and Carrie encouraged them to write about their goals. One activity had the girls write out their worst experience in life, rip it out and throw it away, allowing the girls to release and forgive themselves. She inspired the girls to dream big, work hard, and to never give up on their dreams.
It was a fun-filled day of activities and information! The girls were exposed to success and inspirational stories of women whose enthusiasm and passion will help them all become empowered girls in our society!