Empowering a generation of girls and young women will require the efforts of society as a whole, but two Huntington residents have taken on a leadership role in the endeavor.
Cami Gallagher and Emma Brandt are the co-founders of A Mighty Lass, an organization that provides tools and strategies to promote confidence, compassion and independence for females of all ages. A Mighty Lass holds educational events and programs across Long Island to help promote a culture that celebrates individuality, bravery, strength and kindness.
The duo first started developing their mission when Gallagher was teaching in Old Brookville in 2009. She said she noticed girls needed more education for the issues they deal with outside of the normal school curriculum and was able to lace that together with one of her own passions — running.
“As an educator I saw it in the classroom, and I saw it with my daughter, these girls were putting so much pressure on themselves,” she said in a phone interview.
“Me and a couple of my colleagues decided to start a running program with an empowerment, classroom piece to it.”
Gallagher said the first year they had 15 girls in the program, and talked about body image, nutrition and dealing with tough relationships.
“I struggled as a young girl with body images, that drive for perfection and competing with other girls,” she said. The following year the program doubled in size, and soon enough Gallagher called on a friend to help.
“We set up a girl’s forum to discuss what was going on in their lives and how to support each other,” Brandt said in a phone interview. “Every minute of every day we think about how we can expand this to more people.”
The pair has expanded their initiative since then. They created “A Mighty Box,” a monthly subsription delivery filled with products, motivational messages and confidence building activities for women and girls.. Each month’s box has a different theme, like planning and achieving dreams, self-empowerment and more. Activities include a kindness journal, where the girls are encouraged to document every kind act they see, and a pin project, where each girl is given a pin with the portrait of a famous female leader who they must research and learn more about. Gallagher’s daughter has also helped with the boxes — suggesting each girl starts out with a charm bracelet and each month the box comes with a new charm.
“That was all her idea — it was so creative and fun,” Gallagher said proudly of her daughter. “We’ve gotten such great feedback on the charms and she’s very proud of that.”
A Mighty Lass holds educational events throughout the year. This past weekend they held their flagship event, “Mpower,” an all-day conference for both girls and moms.
“This event is meant to get girls inspired and motivated, and teach them new strategies to deal with problems in their lives,” Brandt said. But it’s meant to help mothers out.
“There’s no handbook on motherhood — especially for social media,” Brandt said. “We have no idea about this world.”
The programs for mothers that day included a course on understanding social media, improving communication with your daughter and understanding and treating their anxieties.
“Before we started this I would turn to friends and talk to them about their experiences,” Gallagher said. “I need this education just as much as the attendees at our events.”
For the girls at Mpower, workshops included improving public speaking, reflecting on perfection, improving self-esteem and maintaining a healthy body.
Programs span different age groups, and the team said as they continue to grow they hope to expand their teachings to include workshops for young women who are starting to make the transition into the professional world.
“It means everything to be able to be a leader in this arena,” Brandt said. “It’s a dream come true.”
To learn more about A Mighty Lass visit their website at www.amightylass.com.