Saint Mary’s alumna creates summer seminar for girls

first_imgIn 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, SMClast_img read more

Swim and dive places third at Pac-10 championships

first_imgAfter a week of competition, the USC men’s swim team took home third place at the Pac-10 men’s swimming championships in Long Beach, Calif.The No. 7 Trojans finished behind No. 1 California and Pac-10 champion No. 2 Stanford.Youth served · Sophomore Charlie Charlesworth helped propel the Trojans to a strong showing, as he finished in second place in the 1650-yard free during the Pac-10 championships over the weekend. – Daily Trojan file photo After the first day of competition on Wednesday, the Trojans were in third place behind the two Northern California teams.As the meet progressed through to Saturday, USC kept that  spot while Stanford remained in control of first place. With its win at Pac-10s, the Cardinal won its 30th consecutive Pac-10 title.“We did not really match up with those two teams [Cal and Stanford] because they have so many more people, so many more seniors,” said freshman Vlad Morozov. “By next year we will match up with them better than this year.”Several young USC swimmers displayed strong performances that helped bump USC past Arizona for the third place spot. Sophomore Clement Lefert was awarded medals in three events, taking first place in the 500-yard free and third in both the 200-yard free and 200-yard fly.Sophomore Charlie Charlesworth took second in the 1650-yard free, while freshman Dimitri Colupaev won his first Pac-10 title when he took first the 200-yard free. Morozov finished second in the 50-yard and 100-yard free, barely being beaten by Cal’s senior Nathan Adrian in both.“I got second in the 50-and-100 free, but I didn’t think I would be that close to Cal’s Nathan Adrian, a 2008 Olympian,” Morozov said. “I don’t think anyone thought I’d be that close, so at NCAAs I’ll keep my head up and see if I can beat him.”Despite not taking home first place at the Pac-10 championships, the Trojans did well based on the goals they had set for themselves before the meet.“We knew Cal and Stanford were out of our reach so our focus was on beating Arizona and taking home as many individual medals as we could,” Lefert said. “We haven’t finished third in Pac-10s since 2005 so it was a good job. We have a young team — a lot of freshman and sophomores — and they stepped up.”Looking toward the NCAA competition at the end of March, USC is focused on its next goal: placing in the top five.“Our relays are going to be a major factor in reaching that goal,” Morozov said. “At NCAAs we are going to break some records.”last_img read more