On Jan. 26, 2015, the second annual “Girls Empowering Girls” Symposium will be held at the Liberty Building in downtown Elkin from 6 to 8 p.m.
The first symposium began last year and was entitled “Ladies Encourage Young Girls to Succeed.” During the event, speakers were encouraged to share their experiences and trials to a group of young women and their mothers.
The same format will be followed this year to an audience of women from ages 10 to 16 years of age. Emphasis will be on success, careers and also body image, said organizers.
The symposium became a reality after the idea originated from two local mothers with young daughters, Misty Matthews and Vicky Roberts.
People are so excited about it, said Matthews. “It was so beneficial, we saw it could be very successful.”
Matthews and Roberts said they met recently at the Liberty to brainstorm about more ideas and speakers for this year.
In the meantime, organizers have created a Facebook page where information on planning and speakers may be found. It is located on the internet at http://www.facebook.com/girlsempoweringgirls.
One of the factors originating the first symposium came when Matthews, who works for the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at Royall’s Soda Shop and Elkin Mayor Lestine Hutchens was present.
Matthews said while at the ceremony, she realized an amazing community of women resides in Elkin. She said it occurred to her that others need to hear about it.
She said Roberts was the friend that said, “Go ahead and roll with it.” Now together, Matthews said she and Roberts hope to continue the symposium for many years to come.
Matthews said when she first approached the mayor with the idea she told the women to bring their daughters to discuss the idea, and supported them.
Hutchens was a guest speaker at the first symposium and is donating a rental of the Roth Room at the Liberty Building for this year’s symposium. Hutchens was elected as the first woman mayor of the town of Elkin in 2007, and begin her second term in 2011.
Chris Cartwright of Prisms Medical Products sponsored the symposium and agreed to pay all expenses again this year.
Roberts and Matthews expressed gratitude for his generosity and support.
In the first year, team efforts brought speakers Amelia Patton, Theresa Knopps, Sarah Martin Byrd, Kimberly Selpel-Parks, Lestine Hutchens, Angela Oliver, Mendy Peles and Dr. Adrienne Classen.
After speakers spoke about their journey as women, Matthews said she realized how many people make a difference while on the journey to reach dreams, though not easy.
Matthews has personally fought through shyness and said she realized while at the symposium, so have many others.
“I would never have imagined so many women being so shy,” said Matthews.
By learning other women — both younger and older — struggle with similar issues, Matthews said it underscored why talking about such issues are necessary.
“It is very important that other girls know that everyone has their journey and their desires,” said Matthews.
In addition, mothers were re-inspired, said Matthews. She encouraged mothers also to participate with nieces and granddaughters this year.
Roberts said having a young daughter was the starting point for her to become involved with her friend Matthews.
Roberts said they found themselves wanting to make an event that would show young women that they can be anything they wanted to be and discuss the importance of being positive role models.
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.