A LETTER TO THE PARENTS
Like many of you, I have long anticipated watching my daughter mature into a self-assured young woman, eager to chase her dreams and make the world a better place. While I’m happy to say that my wish is coming true, I certainly never expected the journey it would take to get here.
At first, I didn’t see a problem. Brianna had lots of friends, did well in school, and seemed happy pursuing her acting goals. Secretly, however, she was harbouring self doubts, questioning her choices, struggling with toxic friendships, and was trying hard to hold on to her sense of self as she worked to find her place. Soon, my strong, smart, confident baby girl was in a full-blown crisis. Only then did I realize that I missed the warning signs. It broke my heart.
Her father and I tried our best to get through to Brianna, to help her work through her emotions and her anxieties. But we couldn’t “fix it” for her. We found a great therapist and explored the programs offered by local youth organizations, which helped … but something was missing.
Desperate to find something to help, we discovered an overnight conference for young women hosted by I AM THAT GIRL. After doing some research and talking with staff, I decided to go for it. I packed her up and drove her to a local campus. I'm so glad I did. It absolutely changed OUR lives. When I picked her up, she was beaming! She told me about her inspirational experience and the incredible young women she’d met and whom she now calls her sisters. Brianna had found her missing piece, and she wanted to spread the message.
That day, she asked if she could create a similar conference for girls her own age. You see, she had been the youngest attendee at the event, and many of the topics were geared toward late high school girls and college-aged women. She knew that if she blended key elements she'd learned in therapy with the lessons she took from the conference, she could design a program that resonated with 10- to 16-year old girls. That’s how the Youth EmpowHERment Sleepover was born. I am so proud of Brianna, and so grateful for the chance to be involved in her project.
Your story may be different from ours, but I know that many parents empathize with how worried and helpless we felt when we recognized that our daughter was struggling in ways that we couldn’t resolve on our own. There is clearly something magical about what a group of “sisters” can do for one another -- both in the serious business of the workshops, and in the fun bonding in sleepover fun.
I want all parents to experience the joy of seeing their daughters break through to a new appreciation of themselves and eagerness to chart their place in the world. It is our hope to encourage and inspire other young girls to spend the weekend together focusing on their authentic selves and then return to their own communities with the energy and enthusiasm to make a difference in the lives of others.
Thank you for considering YES for your daughter. Please refer to our FAQ or contact me for more information. I'd love to hear from you!