'Beat Out The Boys,' All-Star Chicago Women Tell Girls at West Ridge School
March 21 2016

By Linze Rice

Originally posted in DNAinfo

WEST RIDGE — A new campaign aimed at harnessing “Girl Power” from elementary schools across the city hopes to remind girls that anything is possible.

“We have a lot of girls who have a lot of social justice ideas, who just don’t know what the starting point is,” said Jill Carey, who co-founded Mission Propelle with Annie Warshaw. “Like … I have an idea, how do I get this off the ground?'”

On Friday, about 200 female students from Rogers Elementary School in West Ridge united for the organization’s first “Girl Power Panel” as a kickoff to the new Campaign PropelHER.

True to its mission, the Campaign PropelHER event was completely planned, organized, decorated and facilitated by girls and women.

Mission Propelle typically provides yoga-centered classes and after school programs that seek to empower girls through exercise, reading and mentoring, but Warshaw and Carey said they often hear girls say they have ideas with no way to produce anything from them.

“We put our heads together and asked that question — how can we be the force that is really making the difference between ‘I feel good about myself,’ and ‘I feel good about myself and I’m going to be a leader and help other people feel good about themselves’?” Carey said. “Campaign PropelHER was about giving girls specific ways that they can take the lessons they learn in our afterschool program and apply them outside of the classroom.”

Friday’s kickoff event for the new campaign in the elementary school’s auditorium saw a house packed with students in kindergarten through eighth grade, all buzzing with excitement.

Included in the all-star panel was Chicago Sky forward Tamara Young; U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th), a Rogers Elementary alumna; K. Sujata, scientist and president at Chicago Foundation for Women; Patricia Maza-Pittsford, consul general of El Salvador in Chicago; and Tribune reporter Alison Bowen.

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