Becoming Phenomenal Women – Celebrating Women’s History Month
Posted by SWSG Mentor Mar 3, 2013 AmeriCorps, Community, Current Events, inspiration, mentors, South Florida, Women's History Month, Women's Issues
Mentors from the University of Miami spent Women’s History Month learning about phenomenal women, and becoming phenomenal women themselves through the Women’s History Month Opening Ceremonies, Strong Women Spotlight Panel, and a service day at the Lotus House in South Florida.
At Women’s History Month Opening Ceremonies women were given a chance to share their voice during this month’s celebration. Each woman expressed why she’s phenomenal on a banner, which has been hanging during the last two weeks of the month in hopes of reminding all those who signed and provoking thoughts in others. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Phenomenal Woman,” inspired by the moving poem written by Maya Angelou. The keynote speaker, Rhea Beck, Executive Director of the South Florida Strong Women Strong Girls, shared stories of her childhood and her interactions with the phenomenal women in her life who helped shaped her into the woman she is today. The night of celebration ended with an anonymous sharing of the states written on the banner by the phenomenal woman in attendance.
Mentor Ajiah Daley expressed, “One message I took away from the event is that ‘Phenomenal Woman’ is not a poem of inspiration. It is a poem of relate-ability. It tells my story and many others. I will not read it and hope to be that woman, I will read it and remember I am that woman.”
Two academic leaders spoke at the Strong Women Spotlight Panel on March 21st. Dr. Koren Bedeau, the Assistant Dean of the University of Miami Graduate School, and Dr. Helena Solo-Gabriele, a professor and the Associate Dean for Research Environmental Engineering, took time out of their busy schedules to come share some pearls of wisdom with us college women. The panel discussion began with both of them giving us a cursory overview of their academic and career histories before opening the room up for student questions. What stood out the most was learning how their past adversities are nothing more than distant memories in light of the amazing lessons it taught them and skills it developed within them.
Lastly, on Saturday, March 23rd mentors served at the Lotus House, a women’s shelter in South Florida. Mentors spent the afternoon dying Easter eggs, decorating cookies, and face painting. It felt like an integral part of community service that mentors had as much fun as the women and children we came they came to serve. Mutual empowerment and recognizing that when we women give to one another we also receive, is fundamental to SWSG’s mission and effectiveness.
This day reaffirmed that the power and beauty of a woman need not come from grandiose actions or expensive places, but rather can be weaved into the very fabric of life filling every moment with the potential to be a phenomenal woman.