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

Be Loud, Be Proud: Middle School Mentorship with Link Up

"This year, our theme was “Be Loud, Be Proud.” With this, we hope to inspire confidence, selfempowerment and feminist values." 

"Our goal is to create sustainable values as well as a sustainable network of hundreds of young girls from all across the Upper Valley."

"The key to success is early preparation with consideration of the failures and successes of previous Sister-to-Sister conferences."

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I learned so much from planning Sister-to-Sister 2016 and interacting with the counselors and middle school girls involved. First, I learned about the logistics involved with planning a conference of this size and the true meaning of “attention to detail.” The key to success is early preparation with consideration of the failures and successes of previous Sister-to-Sister conferences. Every year, we develop and pass on a manual for the conference that changes, as processes are made more efficient. We have already began preparation for next year through this manual with the consideration of input from different people involved with the conference such as Link Up executives, speakers, panelists, facilitators, counselors, and of course the middle school girls. All of this collaboration ensures the program was reviewed from a variety of perspectives for future improvement.

The conference itself was also a great learning experience for all those involved. Middle school is a period charged with emotion, confusion and isolation. This year, our theme was “Be Loud, Be Proud.” With this, we hope to inspire confidence, selfempowerment and feminist values. Our goal is to create sustainable values as well as a sustainable network of hundreds of young girls from all across the Upper Valley. In order to do that, we encouraged girls to write letters of self-reflection during the conference, which they will receive next year as eighth graders. All of the conference’s activities add up to create a community that, hopefully, will follow them past their middle school years.

In addition to Sister to Sister’s lasting effects on the middle school girls, we feel the same can be applied to the multitude of Dartmouth students involved. Prior to the event, students participated by assembling goodie bags consisting of t-shirts, an inspirational quote book, a bracelet, a sticker and candy. At the actual event, we had several Dartmouth students dressed in flair greeting and guiding the girls into Alumni Hall, where the event was held. We also invited twenty Dartmouth women to lead the event as facilitators. Their role in guiding discussions at individual tables was invaluable. While facilitators shared their experiences with their tables, we also had four Dartmouth women share their middle school stories as panelists. After the panel, we had a performance from the all-girl acapella group, the Subleties, which the middle school girls could not stop talking about as they left the venue.

Link Up is grateful to the Rockefeller Center for providing us with funding that allowed us to purchase the t-shirts that we gave the girls for free. It is so important that Sisterto-Sister comes at no cost to the girls and schools involved to allow for inclusivity and accessibility for all communities.  Thank you, Rocky!

-Submitted by Dale Li '18, Rockefeller 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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