This free event – inspired by CCFWG’s award-winning Girls Advisory Board and its grantmaking and leadership program – brought together high school girls from across Chester County to learn about varied needs in their communities and take action through education, advocacy, and philanthropy.
The day began with a word from State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, who encouraged attendees to use their voices and catalyze change around issues that matter to them by speaking with local decision makers and pursuing their passions. This call to action led directly into a Young People in Action panel discussion featuring five young women making a difference in their local, national, and global communities. Topics discussed included global aid, climate change advocacy, mentorship, STEM, and more.
Following the panel, participants broke into small groups to hear from five local nonprofits working to uplift women and girls in Chester County. Representatives from Coatesville Youth Initiative, The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, La Comunidad Hispana, Mom’s House of Phoenixville, and West Chester University’s Community Mental Health Clinic spoke with girls about the programs and initiatives their organizations run to address community needs.
Finally, all girls discussed what they learned with their peers, talked about problems in their own schools and communities, and explored ways to take action that included awarding two mini-grants of $500 to two of the five nonprofits at the Summit.
Ultimately, participants came to group consensus and awarded funding to La Comunidad Hispana and Coatesville Youth Initiative. In a final reflection on the day, all girls wrote down action items that they would take away from the Summit experience. Notes included “Get more involved in my community” and “Speak up! Enact change!”
“I enjoyed learning about different nonprofits and what they do,” said one Summit participant. “It made me more aware of what is happening in our community. Additionally, I liked the panel in the beginning because it showed me how to become involved in my community.”