Local service organization Soroptimist International of Oakdale recently hosted 18 seventh, eighth and ninth grade girls at its “Dream It, Be It” conference held in the library at Oakdale High School. Annalise VanderVeen, Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman, served as keynote speaker and encouraged the girls to always talk to their family, friends, and teachers about things that are bothering them rather than stress about their worries or problems. She also encouraged the girls to consider participating in the Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale program in their junior year for the fun experience and chance to earn college scholarships. Oakdale High School seniors and Distinguished Young Women alumni Laci Blount, Anne Homer, Autumn Neal, Makenzie Phillips, and Elizabeth White served as facilitator helpers mentoring the girls during the sessions and activities throughout the day.
The girls participated in four sessions facilitated by Soroptimist members. The first session, Discovering Your Dreams, included making a “dream” collage of their future goals and aspirations. The second session, Creating Achievable Goals, taught the participants how to develop clear, reasonable goals and map out small action steps to achieve their goals. Turning Failure into Success, the third session, addressed the fear of failure and introduced the idea that experiencing a failure is a key step in the process of learning and growing. Autumn Neal spoke to the girls about resiliency relating some personal failures and how she had recovered and turned them into successes. The fourth session, Balancing Your Stress, provided the girls with breathing and relaxation techniques as well as Yoga exercises to help relieve their stress and bring calm to their busy lives.
An informative presentation on Internet Safety by Oakdale Police Officer Chelsea Stilwell proved very popular with the participants.
As the concluding activity, the participants were provided with “Dream Pillows” in which they wrote their dreams and goals on index cards and inserted them inside their pillowcases as reminders of their aspirations for the future.
Dream It, Be It and Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women are the “Soroptimist Dream Programs” created to provide sustainable, measurable change for women and girls, and ensure they have access to the education and training needed to reach their full potential and live their dreams.
Oakdale is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a cause-related philanthropic federation of clubs improving the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment. To learn more about Soroptimist International of Oakdale, visit www.oakdalesoroptimist.org or follow them on Facebook at Oakdale Soroptimist.
Article and Photos Courtesy Of Nancy Lilly