In response to the Status of Girls in Indiana report, Saint Mary’s alumna Molly Bell, class of 1997, created the Bloom for Girls seminar, an opportunity for mothers and daughters to celebrate the gift of womanhood in a fun, open environment. The event will take place on Saint Mary’s campus on Sunday, July 13.Bell said she introduced the idea for Bloom for Girls, aimed at young women between the ages of 10 and 19, in the summer of 2012 at a reunion weekend at Saint Mary’s.“I was invited to present a lecture on the inundation of ‘pink’ into the marketplace targeting girls,” Bell said.After discussing the effects of the messages and images to which girls are exposed daily, Bell said she suggested moms start discussing this issue with their daughters before they enter high school.“Bloom for Girls workshops were the solution,” Bell said.Saint Mary’s contacted Bell six months after her discussion and asked if she would like to launch the program on campus, Bell said.“There could be no better fit to launch this program than a campus that supports women and where I spent four years building and harnessing my own power and voice as a woman,” Bell said.Bell said after graduating with a degree in communication, she spent ten years working as an advertising executive, an experience that showed her how companies market to young girls.“I became ingrained in the retail landscape for moms and tween girls when I worked with OshKosh B’Gosh on their national advertising campaign to launch a sub-brand called Genuine Girl,” Bell said.Bell said after attending focus groups, listening to moms all over the country and completing intense research on competitive brands, she thought she understood the market ⎯ that is until she had her daughter six years later.“I began noticing aisles of pink toys, sexy dolls, purple Legos themed with dog grooming and fashion shows and countless princess images, toys and books,” Bell said.Bell said she began to research this change in the market landscape and was able to justify her concerns with several books on the topic, in which she said she found terrifying statistics about the self-esteem and depression rates in American girls.“According to a study by NYU Child Study Center, the average American girl’s self-esteem peaks at age nine,” Bell said. “This was further reinforced by the Status of Girls in Indiana report compiled by Saint Mary’s College that showed Indiana girls have higher rates of depression and suicide attempts than boys.”Although the Bloom program is not connected to the Status of Girls in Indiana report, the event does promote a positive and action-oriented experience to counteract the high rate of depression among young girls.“Raising my daughter in an educated, upper-middle-class community, I naively thought my friends would be aware of these issues,” Bell said. “I quickly decided there was a need to start talking about some of the challenges our daughters are facing and to give our daughters the tools to maneuver through the pressures of technology, body image, friendship, stereotyping, gender biases ⎯ and the list goes on.”Bell said through art projects, interactive activities, skits and journaling, girls and moms are given the tools and conversation starters to build self-esteem.“Studies show that no matter how much extraneous ‘noise’ from the media peers and society surrounds our daughters with, it is within the family that a girl first develops a sense of who she is and who she wants to become,” Bell said. “A parent armed with knowledge can help her daughter reach her full potential.”Bell said the event starts with a few fun group activities that focus on the goals of the seminar. Participants also have the opportunity to share personal experiences in the workshops.Following the discussion, Bell said participants break for a catered lunch and then participate in a workshop called “Love Your Body.”“This workshop will address media images of our bodies versus a healthy body, inner beauty rather than outer beauty, a mother’s influence on a daughter’s body and our power over our own bodies,” Bell said.Bell said she hopes moms and daughters will leave the seminar with new knowledge and tools to spark conversation when friendship crises, bullying and other self-esteem challenges occur.“I’m thrilled to bring this program to my alma mater and to a place that offers countless empowering opportunities for women that extend far beyond Bloom for Girls,” Bell said. Tags: Bloom for Girls, Indiana report, moms and daughters, ndsmcobserver.com, seminar, SMC
Update 2:10pm 5/8/17Nebraska authorities have arrested an Emerson man suspected of assaulting his wife.22 year old Joe Saufley is charged with first degree assault.Emerson Police Chief Charles Chinn says officers responded to a 9-1-1 call from a man saying he needed law enforcement and an ambulance as he had just tried to kill his wife.Police say they found an injured woman who was treated in Pender and then taken to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha with traumatic non life-threatening injuries .The investigation is continuing and more charges are possible in the case.Photo courtesy KMEG/KPTH————————————————————Nebraska authorities have arrested an Emerson man suspected of assaulting a woman.Officers were sent early Sunday morning to an Emerson residence to check a report about an attempted murder.Police say they found an injured woman who was treated in Pender and then taken to Nebraska Medical Center.Police say her injuries are traumatic but not considered life-threatening.The 22-year-old male suspect has been arrested on suspicion of felony assault.He hasn’t been identified or formally charged yet.AP
The soft tone of the room, in shades of blue, pink, grey, purple and green, is highlighted by the mural, which depicts a nature scene with trees, flowers and butterflies. There are beanbags instead of chairs, and books, dolls and other toys. Adorned with a beautiful hand-painted mural, and outfitted with age-appropriate toys and furnishings, the new therapeutic playroom at the Office of the Children’s Advocate’s downtown Kingston offices will provide a safe and comfortable space for youngsters who have suffered traumatic experiences. Its mission is to promote and protect the rights and best interests of children through vigilance, strategic partnerships and the provision of timely, efficient and quality service. She said with this room, children being catered to by the OCA “will be able to open up as best as possible about the very difficult circumstances to which they would have been exposed”.Mrs. Gordon Harrison noted that the play area is extremely important in advancing the work of the OCA, which was relocated to the 11th floor of the Air Jamaica Building in 2016.She said it was ensured that space was identified to accommodate children within the retrofitting plans for the office.The Children’s Advocate said that having a comfortable setting will facilitate easier communication with children who are hurting and find it difficult to speak about what they are going through.“We see this playroom as really providing that space that would (help children to) relax a little bit more, find some more ease with disclosing what is a very painful experience as opposed to being locked in an office where they are sitting around a desk with somebody who is merely recording a statement,” she noted.Manager for Public Education and Special Projects at the OCA, LatoyaMinott-Hall, expressed gratitude to the “committed students who understand and have a drive and passion and a desire to help with the (children) whom we serve here”.Through the partnership with the NCU, students from the institution are serving as interns at the OCA. The first group started in April and another group came on in June.Mrs. Minott-Hall noted that the assistance of the students has helped to alleviate staff constraints and lighten the workload of the agency.Kemar Daswell, who assisted on the therapy room project and is serving as an intern, told JIS News that the students are pleased with the outcome and the positive impact it will have on the beneficiaries.The project was carried out with support from Berger Paints, Food For The Poor and Do Good Jamaica/Crayons Count.The OCA is mandated to enforce and protect the rights and best interests of children. The office was established in 2006 under the Child Care and Protection Act (2004).Its mission is to promote and protect the rights and best interests of children through vigilance, strategic partnerships and the provision of timely, efficient and quality service. Story Highlights Adorned with a beautiful hand-painted mural, and outfitted with age-appropriate toys and furnishings, the new therapeutic playroom at the Office of the Children’s Advocate’s downtown Kingston offices will provide a safe and comfortable space for youngsters who have suffered traumatic experiences.The playroom will be used by the OCA’s Investigations Unit to treat and counsel children aged two to 18.The soft tone of the room, in shades of blue, pink, grey, purple and green, is highlighted by the mural, which depicts a nature scene with trees, flowers and butterflies. There are beanbags instead of chairs, and books, dolls and other toys.Such rooms encourage healing through play and provide an environment of physical and emotional safety for children.Transformed through partnership with the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), the room was officially handed over on October 18.The initiative was in fulfilment of the community outreach component of a Group Dynamics and Leadership course being pursued by four NCU students – Kemar Daswell, Acoya Rademari, Chandrika Campbell and Leon Ffrench.Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, said she is grateful for the assistance from the students, who converted an empty room into a calm and relaxing space where children can be interviewed.