Girls Leadership Summit: Leadership Through Activism

Girls Leadership Summit: Leadership Through Activism

by Ruby Lyon, all photos courtesy of  STARS Citywide Girls Initiative

On April 12th Row New York’s middle and high school girls decided to spend their spring break a little differently – they chose to embrace girl power, success and developing their confidence by attending the STARS Citywide Girls Leadership Summit. The summit is a nonprofit collaborative funded by the New York City Council and put on by PowerPlay. This year’s theme was “leadership through activism”.

Girls from across the city met at the High School of Fashion Industries in Manhattan. The summit boasted a full day of speakers and seminars in career awareness, college access and leadership development – all ran by nine of the city’s leading nonprofits. Row New York put on the workshop titled, “I Woke Up Like This,” which focused on generating positive self-affirmations.


Our middle school girls waiting for the summit to kick off. Photo courtesy of STARS Citywide Girls Initiative.


Jamar St. Rogers performs with the Lower Eastside Girls Club choir. Photo courtesy of STARS Citywide Girls Initiative.


Bailey Griswold of Row New York’s academic team teaches the “I Woke Up Like This” workshop. Photo courtesy of STARS Citywide Girls Initiative.

The keynote speaker was Stacey Tisdale, a financial journalist and the CEO and President of Mind Monday Media Inc. She kicked off the summit by discussing the intersectionality between money, race, and gender and explained the history of financial injustice against black Americans. Her talk was invigorating and inspiring. Additional women panelists discussed entrepreneurship, breaking through fears, and promoting women to speak their fullest truths.

More about the STARS Citywide Girls Initiative:

The STARS Citywide Girls Initiative helps girls and young women of color overcome barriers to success, grow emotionally, academically and physically stronger, and develop as leaders in their communities. In its first year, the Initiative created over 1,400 new after-school and summer program slots for girls and young women across NYC, allowing the non-profits to serve more girls and serve them better. In the Initiative’s second year over 4,000 girls were served throughout all 51 City Council districts.

The nine partners—Girls Write Now, Groundswell, Lower Eastside Girls Club, PowerPlay NYC, Row New York, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, The Armory Foundation, Figure Skating in Harlem and Girls for Gender Equity—all leaders in the out-of-school time space, will create 2,200 or more new program slots for girls in all five boroughs by June 2017.

With support and funding from the New York City Council, the STARS Citywide Girls Initiative will develop the life and leadership skills of NYC girls through after-school and summer sports, academic enhancement, STEM, college prep and the arts. In 2017 STARS CGI will expand and address girls’ needs in the immigrant youth community and explore avenues in programming to address topics like violence in relationships, health, trauma and social activism.

For more information on the initiative, please visit PowerPlay’s website here