‘Sisters Empowering Sisters’ Focuses on Helping At-Risk Girls

March 21, 2008

Fourth Annual ‘Sisters Empowering Sisters’ Conference Focuses on Helping At-Risk Girls Reach Higher Expectations

March 19, 2008

“Sisters Empowering Sisters,” a conference hosted at Syracuse University for young women between the ages of 13 and 18, will explore how education and mentoring can inspire and empower young women in underserved populations.

The two-day program includes panel discussions and workshops on such various topics as the importance of education, positive self-esteem, health and wellness, and conflict resolution. About 100 female students of color from the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) and local community centers have been invited to attend the conference, which takes place March 28-29 on the SU campus.

The theme of this year’s conference is “I.M.A.G.E: Imagine Me Achieving Great Expectations,” and the conference begins on Friday, March 28, at 9 a.m. in the Winnick Hillel Center on the SU campus. Saturday’s events will take place in Rooms 304 A, B and C in SU’s Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Students will be transported by bus from SCSD high schools on Friday and from local community center locations on Saturday.

This year’s conference will feature two nationally renowned keynote speakers, in addition to the following speakers/topics:

  • Sheila Aird of Empire State College and Nodesia Hernandez, an SU graduate, will talk about part-time and online educational opportunities.
  • Yasmin Shiraz, author and youth expert, will conduct a conflict resolution workshop.
  • Lucia Castillejo of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and celebrity fitness expert Chariesse Griffin of CG Studios, will conduct a session on healthy lifestyles.
  • Empower Federal Credit Union’s Kelly Sherman will facilitate a workshop on financial literacy.
  • Tracey McGheee, Julia Singleton, Angela “DJ Moonbaby” Jollivette and Quinn Conyers will lead an entrepreneurship panel discussion on the hows, whens and whys of having your own business.
  • Additional workshops include self-esteem- and empowerment-themed sessions.

    The conference is a collaborative venture among The Image Initiative Inc. — a collection of professional women of color from diverse fields — and a number of SU departments and local community organizations.

    “Each year our goals change in terms of providing our young women with resources and opportunities that they normally may not have access to,” says Nicole Jones, conference chair and founder of The Image Initiative, Inc., “resources and opportunities that bring them closer to their goals.” As a graduate student at SU, Jones developed the idea of an organization for the benefit of young women of color in the City of Syracuse. As a class project, she created the Image Initiative and later the Sisters Empowering Sisters Youth Conference, which today is in its fourth successful year.

    Principal collaborators and sponsors of the conference are the SCSD; SU’s Chancellor’s Office, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Division of Undergraduate Studies; National Grid; the Boys and Girls Clubs of Syracuse; The Rosamond Gifford Charitable Corp.; Empower Federal Credit Union; Onondaga County Department of Health and Human Services; Walt Disney Volunteers Program; and ExxonMobil.