The JLR’s Young Women’s Summit is a four-day workshop, facilitated by the members of JLR, for historically underserved girls in local middle schools. The purpose of the Summit is to engage a diverse group of young women from Berks County in a meaningful dialogue that will: expand their developmental assets, cultivate their leadership skills, and empower them to make a difference in their community through civic engagement and the creation of a community project. At the end of the four-day Summit, the young women will have identified their personal strengths, defined an area of need within the community, and have completed a service learning project to positively impact their community. This process will move these young women away from being objects of programs towards being the creators of a resource to positively impact their community.
On March 3, 2012 at the Goggleworks, The Junior League of Reading, PA, Inc., held our first Young Women’s Summit. The Summit was a day-long workshop for young women aged 11-16 years and was supported by JLR members and community volunteers. It was led by Judie Thompson, a JLR past president, who used her experience as a professional facilitator to lead the discussion throughout the day. The theme for the Summit, “Empowered Voices” reflected the goal of providing these girls with a chance to share their thoughts and hopes for themselves and their community. 43 young women registered to participate and over 30 volunteers signed on to help.
Throughout development of the Young Women’s Summit, the JLR collaborated with local youth-serving nonprofit organizations – such as Olivet Boys & Girls Club, CONCERN, Girl Scouts, Goodwill Keystone, and Gilmore Henne Fund — to gain insight, share knowledge, and recruit young women from within their programs. By collaborating with and involving other non-profit organizations in the Summit process, we have raised awareness about JLR and our new initiative, as well as provided more opportunities for asset building in the community. With such a comprehensive foundation of collaboration and a strength-based curriculum, the day was impactful for participants and volunteers alike.
The Summit has evolved from a two-day workshop into a four-day workshop facilitated by JLR members, that prepares and inspires young women to become leaders of change. In 2020, 54 young women from five middle schools in Berks County participated in the Summit and completed six service learning projects that positively impacted the local community.
Did You Know?
- The Young Women’s Summit was designed to build and strengthen the Developmental Assets of young women in our community and, as a result, enhance their ability to build the Assets of their peers.
- Decades of research on over 1 million adolescents show that the more Developmental Assets that youth possess, the more likely they are to engage in healthy lifestyle activities and the less likely they are to engage in negative behaviors such as violence and drugs / alcohol. (http://www.search-institute.org/developmental-assets)
- Easy ways to strengthen the developmental assets of young people are to smile at them, learn their names, greet them when you see them, and ask them about themselves and their interests. Listen to them.
- One goal of the Summit was to empower girls to make a difference in their community through the creation of a community project. When young people engage in the asset of Service to Others, they are more likely to experience more of the other assets over time.
- The Junior League of Reading was awarded a $5,500 grant from the Reading Youth Violence Prevention Plan to fund this top notch program and the ensuing community project.
The dates for the 11th annual Young Women’s Summit will be announced soon!
If you are interested in participating in or supporting the summit, please – CONTACT US –.