EAST LANSING, Mich. — The fourth annual empowHER Leadership Retreat [empowherretreat.com] takes place this weekend (April 26-27) at the Breslin Student Events Center on the Michigan State University campus. The immersive two-day program targets fourth through ninth grade girls from all backgrounds, inspiring them to develop strong self-confidence, passion and purpose through a variety of interactive sessions.
Michigan State Women's Basketball Head Coach Suzy Merchant and the Eli Broad College of Business collaborated to create empowHER in 2016 as a grassroots initiative, reaching girls at a critical time in their development. Merchant was inspired to create empowHER after she and her team experienced the sudden and tragic loss of a highly touted recruit in 2015.
“Our mission is to encourage these girls to embrace their strengths and differences,” said Merchant. “This weekend we will make positive strides to remind them that they matter, and they have the strength and resiliency to make a difference for themselves and their communities.”
Through highly interactive, age-specific workshops, empowHER also teaches self-confidence and self-defense skills they’ll need to take on personal and professional challenges and pressure they face in school and life. These include combatting bullying, loving themselves, being an authentic friend, and giving back to their community.
Participants will also hear a keynote address by motivational speaker Mimi Brown and others relate messages of resilience and inspiration. At the conclusion, girls will take home journals, tee shirts and books they created to that help remind them throughout the year of what they learned at empowHER.
The empowHER Leadership Retreat has grown in each of its four years, with this year’s attendance of 450 tripling that of the inaugural event. In fact, the 2019 event will be observed by leaders from other states interested in modeling the empowHER mission.
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