Hartford, Connecticut, November 28, 2016 – Undergraduate members and alumnae of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority hosted a GIRLS Academy weekend at East Hartford Middle School on Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13. The overnight program promoted a sense of empowerment for young women through activities, breakout sessions, and roundtable discussions, while providing an opportunity to connect with the community. Kappa participants included 12 undergraduate students from the Trinity College chapter and two alumnae from the University of Connecticut chapter.
The Girls Inspiring Respect, Leadership, and Service (GIRLS) Academy is modeled after a successful Kappa Kappa Gamma Leadership Academy and employs a values-based curriculum. During the day-and-a-half-long retreat, middle school-aged girls discuss challenges they face, write journals about their dreams, and participate in a community service project while being mentored by Kappa members and alumnae. Kappa Kappa Gamma has a national affiliation with GIRLS Academy, and the Trinity College Zeta Theta chapter was one of 17 chapters to be approved out of more than 100 chapters that applied to participate.
East Hartford Middle School Principal Anthony Menard said, “In my eight years as an administrator, this was one of the most powerful and impactful experiences that we have ever offered our students. KKG empowered and inspired our girls to believe in themselves, to develop their personal identity, and to find ways to impact the community.” Menard believes KKG’s GIRLS Academy program offered the middle school girls a weekend of confidence and renewed hope for a bright future.
Trinity’s Kappa Kappa Gamma philanthropy chair, Austen Peterson ’17, and GIRLS Academy lead student facilitator Nia Vogel ’18, organized the weekend. Vogel said, “Overall, I think the weekend was really impactful for the middle school girls and our chapter members. After one day, the middle school girls were opening up to the volunteers.”
Peterson added, “Although this is an event associated with Kappa Kappa Gamma nationwide, I believe various organizations should use it as a model to really collaborate with a niche community about a specific – and powerful – message. This is when you have the greatest impact.”
Lead facilitator Patty Campagna, who is also a Kappa Kappa Gamma alumna from the University of Illinois, said, “It was truly an honor and a sincere pleasure to work alongside Kappas, both actives and alums, to support these wonderful young women; they are our future leaders. I enjoyed watching the KKG collegiate women learn and grow as they served as mentors to the middle school girls, who were really engaged and enjoying the GIRLS Academy weekend. We all are better as a result of this GIRLS Academy weekend.”
For more information on GIRLS Academy, please click here.
Written by Catie Currie ’17