On October 15, Antioch Rotary Club and the Antioch Unified School District hosted a “Day of Empowering Girls” at the Contra Costa County Event Park for all 8 th grade female students in the City of Antioch, approximately 680 girls. After 500 girls arrived by bus and the other 180 walked from the nearby middle school, the girls were assembled in two of the large buildings at the Event Park. The program started by showing the documentary “The Empowerment Project” about 5 women movie makers traveling around the USA interviewing amazing professional women. The Empowerment Project documentary featured a number of role models including: a Four-Star Admiral in the U.S. Navy, social entrepreneur, pilot, NASA astronaut, chef and an architect. After the movie, 10 (5 in each large building) local, successful and positive female role models discuss their careers and held a Q&A session. Each Panelist gave a short talk about what they did to achieve all they had. The students then asked questions of the panelists. Our panelists had a number of different careers: Doctor, Dentist, Lawyer, Chemical Engineer, Automation Engineer, High School Principal, Probation Officer, Social Entrepreneur, School Board member and a Director of Marketing. After the Q&A, the students broke into groups of 15 where they were facilitated by school staff, Girl Power Leaders from the high schools, and a group of 66 amazing women volunteers brought in by Rotary. The break-out session allowed students to discuss their future ambitions while interacting with female students from other schools.
After the break-out session, all of the participants gathered in bleachers that had been set up on the lawn area. There they were given a short focus moment and then a very inspiring talk by Principal Phyllis James, about the importance and impact of the women’s empowerment movement. She then introduced our very motivational Keynote Speaker, Tracie Berry-McGhee, of “I Define Me” fame. Antioch Rotary and AUSD were pleased to bring Tracie back again this year because of the amazing and stirring message she delivered last year. Tracie again knocked it “out of the park” inspiring the girls to want to do great things. The students then broke for lunch and most of them danced to the music that was playing as they gathered around and talked to the panelists, staff members, volunteers and, of course, our Keynote speaker, until their buses arrived to deliver them back to their schools.
This was the third year that the,”Day of Empowering Girls” was held as a full day program at the Contra Costa County Event Park. Previously, the program was 90 minutes long at each Antioch High School with the movie played followed by Q&A session with local women panelists. By popular demand, the program was expanded into a larger all day format. Now after the last two years with the large format, Principal Phyllis James says the first thing the new 8 th graders asked when they started school this year was, “when do we do the Day of Empowerment?” It truly was a wonderful day for our young ladies.
This is the fifth year of the Empowerment Project Program sponsored by the Antioch Rotary Club and Antioch Unified School District. Our Club works closely with leadership from all of the Middle Schools to develop and implement the program. It has been developed to promote confidence building and to expand our young ladies potential career options in the future by exploring miscellaneous career choices for young women. Antioch Rotary has reached over 8,000 students in the last 5 years connecting with students from Antioch, Pittsburg, and Brentwood. We could not do this costly program without a group of outstanding sponsors willing to put forth their money to see our young ladies given an opportunity.
Last Years Program: