The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Empowering Young Women in the Upper Valley

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Link Up's annual Sister-to-Sister conference allowed hundreds of young women all across the Upper Valley to feel connected and supported by their peers.

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Various female student groups perform for the students attending the conference. 

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Female Dartmouth students facilitate discussions at each table. 

We learned so much through planning Sister to Sister 2017 and it was an invaluable experience for all involved. First, we learned about the various logistics involved with planning a conference of this size and magnitude. The key to the success of the conference was starting to prepare very early on by noting what was and was not successful from Sister to Sister 2016. Link Up has already began to talk about Sister to Sister 2018, which will be essential to making next year's conference even more successful than this year’s.

Further, it was so important that we were able to receive input from so many different people involved with the conference. We sent out surveys to the facilitators asking for feedback and we used the 2016 feedback to improve this year’s conference. Additionally, all of the Link Up executives edited the schedule for the conference. All of this collaboration ensured the program was reviewed from a variety of perspectives and therefore we could do our best to cover all important topics for middle school girls.

The conference itself was incredibly invaluable and the benefits were huge for all involved in Sister to Sister. Middle school is a period charged with emotion, confusion, and feelings of loneliness, and our conference attempts to inspire confidence and empower the individual students. This year we had the program of the day centered around empowering seventh grade girls. 

Moreover, we hope to create something sustainable—a network of hundreds of young women all across the Upper Valley from eight different schools that feel connected and supported by their peers and want to provide that same support in return. In order to do that, we encouraged the girls to sign one another’s t-shirts, that we provided, and write letters of self-reflection about the conference, which they will receive next year as eighth graders. We’re creating a community that, hopefully, will follow them into the years past their eighth grade graduation.

In addition, we invited a multitude of Dartmouth students to participate and give back to the Upper Valley community. At the actual event, we had several Dartmouth students dressed in flair greeting the girls and guiding them to Alumni Hall, where the conference took place. We also invited 20 female Dartmouth students to lead the event as facilitators, and their role was to guide discussion at their tables of seventh grade girls throughout the day. We had three Dartmouth female students share their experiences through a panel, which was followed by a highly interactive question and answer period.

Link Up is so grateful to the Rockefeller Center for providing us with a mini-grant to support the conference. It is so important to us that Sister to Sister comes at no cost to the girls and the schools involved – thank you Rocky!

-Submitted by Dale Li '18, Rockefeller Center Mini Grant Recipient 

The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.

 

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