Hundreds of young women from 35 Kings County schools gathered in East New York on March 22 as part of a monthly series on strengthening female voices.
The Girls Empowerment Movement, made up of elementary and middle schoolers in Southern Brooklyn’s District 19, aims to provide support and guidance to young women, according to organizer Abbe Berger.
“The program provides incredible mentorship. It gives these girls role models to look up to,” Berger said. “We want them to feel confident, to aspire to, and achieve self love.”
Berger volunteered to be the mentor for East New York’s PS 273 Wortman, where she has worked in various roles for 28 years. Currently serving as the school’s guidance counselor, Berger took on the mentoring role this year as a way to further help her students.
“Another teacher started as a mentor in our school last year, but she left, and nobody took over her position, so I decided to become a mentor,” she said. “I have a super busy schedule, but I take it all on because I am very interested in girls’ empowerment and I love my students.”
School mentors meet each month to organize performances, panels, and guest speakers for the monthly convenings, each aimed at the exploration of a different core value. The March installment of the program centered on the theme of individuality, featuring dance productions, spoken word concerts, panel discussions, and a keynote speech from educational and racial equality strategist Darnisha Amante, according to Berger.
“We had these different woman who explain their stories, and talk about their individual journeys,” she said. “It’s a vulnerable place. They share their personal stories, and many of them are from the inner city, so it can be rough sometimes.”
Past installments of the program have focused on beauty, strength, and confidence. The April 12 convening will be held as PS 202 at 982 Hegeman Ave., and will spotlight the concept of voice, aiming to provide young women with guidance for the future, according to Berger.
“It gives the girls good outlets. Promoting opportunities and visions for the future,” she said. “It’s like a sisterhood.”