By Karli Rymer, Wellspring Intern
On February 28th, 2018, Wellspring Center for Prevention hosted the 14th annual Young Women’s Conference, My Journey, My Voice: Empowering Young Women, in New Brunswick, NJ.
It was a day filled with interactive and educational workshops that provided students with an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and emphasized the importance of life and social skills. The goal of the conference is for the attendees to return to their schools and share the information with the rest of the student body through different programs and/or events.
The day began with provided breakfast and an amazing production, Lost Angels, performed by the Playground Theatre Project. This outreach program production touches on bullying, violence, racism, sexism, drug/alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide. The piece brings up issues current in today’s society and the struggles that young people face in their everyday lives. The student’s in the play learn to show compassion towards one another, for each person experiences hardship in their day to day lives. The young women who attended the conference were captivated and compelled by the relevance of the production to their own lives.
The production was followed by a series of educational and interactive workshops that covered bases from sexual health, general nutrition, substance abuse education, financial budgeting exercises and so on. These engaging workshops allowed the young women to work through topics together and apply them to their own lives. The hopes of these workshops is to enable the young women to take all of the information they learned and spread it amongst their peers in their own schools.
The theme of the 2018 YWC, “Take Your Mask Off,” was wrapped up and concluded in the most influential way by Wellspring’s own, Nicki Francis. She advised the young women to go forth as their true selves; taking their masks off and letting people see who they really are. By revealing your true selves, you allow yourself and others to establish close relationships. She went on to explain that we all carry our own baggage, some loads little and some loads great. Nicki revealed to the young women that like an iceberg, you can only see about 10% of someone while the other 90% lays under the surface. She emphasized the importance of being true to oneself and others around them to make the most of the life we are all living individually, but together.
It was evident to all the women who attended the conference, and the women who were responsible for putting the conference together, that they were pleased with the outcome, and achieved success in educating young women in fun and creative ways. The conference allotted for a remarkable day educating, inspiring, and connecting. It was truly a remarkable and valuable experience that all young women should get the chance to have.