Building A Girls Agenda, Voices of
the Alliance, & More


Spring 2015

In This Issue...

Note from the Director
Alliance for Girls Update
Member Spotlight
Voices of the Alliance
A Girl's Perspective
The World of Girls
  Research & Resources
     Black Girls Matter Report
     STEM - Shifting Stereotypes
     The Gender Pay Gap
     Anti-Harassment Support 
          Site: Crash Override
     Are Same-Sex Colleges Still
     What Teens Think about 

          Social Media

Members In the News


For Members 

Alliance for Girls is seeking members to help facilitate structured roundtable discussions at the Annual ConferenceAs a facilitator, you will act as a table host for one roundtable, and we will feature you and your organization on conference materials. If you're interested, please send your headshot and short bio (3-4 sentences) to Kailin at

We're still looking for nominees for the GirlTalks session at the conference! If you know a rockstar girl who's raising their voice to affect change, please email their name, age, and why they're a rockstar to Emma at

Check out the new blog under "Member Pages" on our website! In February, we asked for member-driven posts, and we're thrilled to have received so much great content from you!

Interested in featuring a blog post, sharing a story, or being the next Member Spotlight? Check out the guidelines on this page and fill out the form, and we'll get back to you soon about next steps.

You can also contact Kailin Chou:

 Follow us on Twitter

 Like us on Facebook


Alliance Events

Thursday, April 9, 2015
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Leading Effective Teams
The Hannah Project
170 Donahue Street
Marin City, CA 94965

Sunday, April 12, 2015
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Anne Germanacos' Writing Retreat
Private residence
San Francisco, CA 94117

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Alliance for Girls' 3rd Annual Conference: Building A Girls Agenda
The Event Center at Saint Mary's Cathedral
1111 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Community Events

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Demystifying the Form 990: Tips, Tricks and Traps
Free Webinar

Monday, April 20, 2015
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Ready, Set, SUCCEED: A Women's Small Business Seminar
Sobrato Center
350 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City, CA 94065

Saturday, May 2, 2015
6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
MISSSEY's 4th Annual Inspire Change Gala
The Oakland Rotunda
300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

Thursday, May 14, 2015
10:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Respect 360 - Youth Influencer Training
Sobrato Community Conference
600 Valley Way
Milpitas, CA 95035

Sunday, May 17, 2015
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Flowering Hope's 2nd Annual Fundraiser: Hike 4 Hope
Sports Basement Presidio
610 Old Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94129

Thursday, June 25, 2015 to
Friday, June 26, 2015
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
The Girls Circle Facilitator Training
City of San Pablo
Maple Hall
13831 San Pablo Avenue
San Pablo, CA 94806

Events for Girls

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
"Bully" - Free Movie Screening
Koret Auditorium
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larken Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Free Cone Day to support MISSSEY
Ben & Jerry's
Jack London Square
505 Embarcadero West
Oakland, Ca 94607

Saturday, May 2, 2015
8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
LISTAS 2015 Conference
Cañada College
4200 Farm Hill Boulevard
Redwood City, CA 94061

Saturday, June 20, 2015
11:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Black Girls Matter: Town Hall Meeting - Save the Date
San Leandro Public Library
Lecture Hall
300 Estudillo Avenue
San Leandro, CA 94577

We'd like to post more events that girls can attend. Please help us by submitting your events to 

Members in the News

Kelli Finley of One Circle Foundation was featured in the Huffington Post:
What Happened When My Down Dog Was Barking

Elizabeth Gould of the Red Web Foundation was featured in Al Jazeera:
How Menstruation Stigma Puts Women in U.S. at Risk

Connie Sobczak recently published her book, embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice!).

The Research & Advocacy Committee

Alliance for Girls is grateful for the Research & Advocacy Committee for helping us put together the content of this newsletter. They are:

Roshni Kasad
is the former Committee Chair. She was the Senior Program Manager at Techbridge for over 3 years and is now the Senior Program Manager of Academic Initiatives at the Anita Borg Institute. She received her doctorate in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Before starting graduate school, Roshni spent a year as an Indicorps Fellow leading a hands-on science pilot project for middle school students in rural India.

Helynna Brooke is the Executive Director of the
San Francisco Mental Health Education Funds, Inc where she focuses on advocating for appropriate mental health services for women and girls. Helynna co-founded the Red Web Foundation in 2003, following the creation of the First Moon Kit for celebrating the first period of a woman. The Red Web Foundation is on the bleeding edge of education and advocacy for healthy attitudes about the menstrual cycle.

Kelli Finley is the Development Director of One Circle Foundation where she supports the expanding reach of Girls Circle, The Council for Boys and Young Men, and Women’s Circle in the Bay Area and across the country. Prior to her work at One Circle, Kelli developed and ran a first-of-its-kind therapeutic program within the San Francisco County jails for children who have a parent that is incarcerated. Kelli holds a Master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy.

Jane Winter is the Executive Director of the YWCA San Francisco & Marin and has held a variety of leadership positions in the non-profit and hospitality sectors. She has taken a leadership position in advocating for gender equality in employment opportunities and compensation, and she is especially proud of the YWCA’s FiftyPlus Employment Support Program for Women, which is the only employment program in the country that focuses on the unique needs of mature women who have experienced a sustained period of unemployment. Jane earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from Michigan State University.

Interested in joining this Committee? Email Kailin at

Note from the Director

Dear Friends,

A couple weeks ago I rappelled down the Hyatt Regency Hotel in honor of Women’s History Month. As I stood on the edge of the building, I took a long, hard look at the belay that would serve as my lifeline until I reached the ground, 230 feet down.

How beautiful, I thought, that I am able to take this thrilling risk because someone is holding the rope that will carry me to safety. How appropriate, on Women’s History Month, to remember the critical role of the belay and the belayer.

To select presenters for the GirlTalks session for Alliance for Girls’ upcoming conference, I have been interviewing girls and young women who are breaking glass ceilings and raising their voices to affect change. Behind every girl’s story of risk and triumph is an advocate, a mentor, a parent, a champion that made her story possible. Every time I hear these stories, I am awestruck by what a girl can achieve when she knows that someone is supporting her.

We have added two new sections to the newsletter: Voices of the Alliance and A Girl's Perspective, submitted by Alliance members. In every story the intricate and powerful relationship between girls and their champions shines through.

A special thank you to Lenka Belkova, Kathleen Thurmond, Dr. Carol Langlois, Catherine Baxter, Betty Wu and Sara Cerami for sharing your stories with us in this newsletter.


Alliance for Girls Update

Conference Update

Alliance for Girls is gearing up for its 3rd Annual Conference: Building A Girls Agenda, Raising Our Voices to Change Girls’ Lives on Wednesday, May 20th, and we have a few updates to share. Since announcing the conference just a few weeks ago, we’ve had 50 attendees register! If you haven’t registered yet, be sure to do so soon to get “early-bird” pricing.

This year’s conference will truly be a day to remember. Alliance for Girls is convening over 200 girls’ champions to develop its first-ever Bay Area-wide community action plan to prepare today’s girls for future success. This cannot be achieved without the wisdom and expertise of all those who support girls: parents, direct service providers, board members, funders, advocates, politicians, businesswomen, and girls. Your participation will ensure that the depth and breadth of knowledge required to understand girls’ complex needs provide the foundation for a Girls Agenda.

To that end, Alliance for Girls is calling on its members to (1) invite their board members to the conference and (2) submit nominees for the GirlTalks session. The GirlTalks session will feature three girls who are leading the way toward change for girls everywhere.

We are seeking 2 more girls for the session, which will take place from 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm. If you know of any rockstar girls, please email their name, age, and why they're a rockstar to Emma Mayerson at

Stay tuned for exciting updates on speakers and register for the conference now!

Member Spotlight: Wheel Kids

A Wheel Kid rider tuning up her bike.

This quarter's member spotlight features newest member Wheel Kids, as told by Founder and President Tim Hurley:

Wheel Kids Bicycle Club is an adventure and exploration destination for kids, using bicycling as a means of promoting confidence, leadership, fitness, and environmental awareness. We provide opportunities for kids to ride bicycles daily; we teach riding and safety skills; we introduce participants to bicycle- and transportation-related professions; and we promote learning about the local urban and natural environment. Riding bikes combines independent mobility, highly coordinated motor skills, spatial awareness, and decision-making and feedback with going fast, being silly, and goofing off.

When I created Wheel Kids in 2010 I had three main goals: spend more time with my daughters, allow them to ride more often, and explore places that can best be done by bike. It soon became apparent that bicycling was serving as a means to far greater ends -- it was showing my kids and the other participants the joys of experiencing life on their own volition. Bicycling was giving them the autonomy and confidence that no other activity provided. They began to understand that they can be responsible for themselves, that the world is their place to engage, that their interests matter, and that through their own effort they can overcome daunting challenges. Life spent on the couch and in the backseat of the car is a life of passivity. Riding one's own bike requires consciousness, decisiveness, and focus -- qualities I'm particularly devoted to nurturing in my daughters and their peers.

Since 2010 my goals have grown. I still get to spend time with my kids, riding around and exploring (and, they're pretty good riders by now!). But, now I want my girls and all the Wheel Kids riders to know this is just the beginning of a life well spent: that the bike can be a means to careers and avocations; that riding can be a means to good mental and physical health; that they and their bikes are Earth's BFFs; and that the confidence and independence inherent in bicycling extend far beyond the bike into their very sense of self. But, at the end of the day it's still all about having fun. Because if it's not fun, none of the rest will matter. And that's not a bad goal for life in general.

Collaborate with Wheel Kids!

In general, Wheel Kids is fairly open to all sorts of new ideas, but they are particularly interested in collaborating with groups that promote leadership, fitness, environmental stewardship, personal development, and career trajectory guidance for girls. Contact Tim by emailing him at or calling (415) 203-2727.

Voices of the Alliance

We're excited to feature the voices of Alliance for Girls members in this new section! We were overwhelmed by the incredible turn out of our member-driven content and as a result, have started a blog on Alliance for Girls' website. Check out snapshots of their entries below, and click the links to access their full posts.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women 59th Session 
by Lenka Belkova of the Women's Intercultural Network

"After twenty years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the advancement of women and girls has been slow, uneven and often took some regression...Millions of girls are still left behind in accessing basic education, and they are vulnerable to violence and face double discrimination due to their sex and age – these obstacles were listed among the root causes hindering faster progress toward gender equality." Read more.
Front & Center: Bringing Marginalized Girls into Focus in STEM
by Kathleen Thurmond of Kathleen Thurmond LLC

"Girls often focus on giving back to their communities through the use of technology as opposed to developing games that promote violence. Media needs to follow and support young women in tech, and funders need to provide financial backing to these socially conscious enterprises." Read more.

Why do girls apologize for everything? Stop saying you're sorry!
by Carol Langlois of Dr. Carol

"Although there may be nothing to apologize for, young girls will use sorry like a verbal crutch to fill space and feel more secure. As one article points out, women sometimes say sorry a lot because they view it as being polite. If a girl hears the excessive use of sorry by their female role model, they too will adopt it as an acceptable form of politeness." Read more. 
Highlighting Historic Role Models by Catherine Baxter of Techbridge

"For my role managing social media, I was really excited to write a dual story on Black History Month and Engineers Week, celebrating black female engineers whose careers and stories are inspiring to us here at Techbridge. But I have to be honest. Not only was finding women engineers of historical significance difficult, but finding women engineers of color was particularly difficult." Read more.

A Girl's Perspective

This section spotlights the unique perspectives of girls in the community.

In this issue, we hear from two girls: (1) Betty Wu, a senior at Holy Names High School (HNHS) who flew from Kunming, China, three years ago to attend the all-girls high school and (2) Sara Cerami, a senior at Berkeley High School and the president of the school's Body Positive club.

From Betty:

As an international student hailing from the distant country of China, I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to be a member of Holy Names High School -- an inspiring and encouraging environment for young women. In my three years’ journey at HNHS, I’ve seen my teachers’ dedication to teaching, my classmates’ commitment to learning, and I’ve also experienced the Holy Names community’s welcoming and supportive atmosphere.

Even as a young girl, my mother always taught me the value of independence and intelligence for women. As a successful businesswoman herself, I have witnessed her fearlessness and perseverance in operating her business. As a mother, she raised me to have courage to enter male-dominated fields, such as business and science. Although she never received a higher education beyond secondary school due to family and social poverty when she grew up, she understands deeply the power of knowledge and highly values my education as a female. Throughout my growth, my parents seized every opportunity for me to gain a better education. Going to an all-girl school was a novel idea for me three years ago, but now I cherish my time at Holy Names High School.

During my years at Holy Names, I have met many smart and courageous young women. In classrooms, I see intelligent students. In Student Council, I see leaders. In gym, I see athletes. In the music room, I see musicians practicing. Despite our different talents, we are devoted to and focused on learning and exploring every possibility of our future lives. We support each other when it comes to a need, we have dreams to bring changes to the world, and most importantly, we share the everlasting bond of true sisterhood.

From Sara:

In high school, the pressure to fit in intertwines with stigmatization, creating an experience of body shame and guilt for far too many students. Unfortunately, many do not escape the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy created by our culture’s narrow perception of beauty. High school serves to amplify this cultural toxicity. Judgment and constant comparison permeate my high school’s atmosphere, making it difficult to see and declare one’s authentic beauty. I experienced this type of judgment and internalized it, which led to body hatred and self-deprecation.

However, I thankfully found The Body Positive and learned that it was possible to be free to love myself holistically; in a way where I no longer needed to try to fit a malleable, ever-changing beauty standard. My confidence grew and I started being authentically myself without shame. Learning about intuitive self-care made me recognize how important it is to treat myself kindly and with care in order to be able to accomplish all that is possible in my life. I am a strong feminist, and I realized that if I could not respect my own body and mind, I could never help other women find empowerment. This awareness motivated me to create a foundation of self-love, and to reach out to those who have not yet developed theirs.

Currently, I am co-president of The Body Positive club at Berkeley High School. In the club, we organize activities that help to bring awareness to concepts like external sources of body hatred and understanding the origins of our critical voices. We discuss how we feel as young people in today's oppressive society and the pressure to fit the limited standard of beauty portrayed in the media. We talk about bringing intuitive self-care not only to our eating and exercise, but also into our everyday lives and how it can affect our futures. The Body Positive’s work is so important for high school students because it gives us the power to love ourselves in a culture that says we should not. It gives young people the platform to think critically about their health and beauty in a way that applies to all aspects of their lives.

With the power to accept—and love—myself has come the capacity to truly love others. My own self-love is contributing to the growth and development of an accepting culture of all bodies at Berkeley High School.

Do you know a girl who'd like to submit a piece for our July newsletter? Contact Kailin Chou at

The World of Girls

This section provides links to summaries of news and current research surrounding girls and women from the past few months.

Research & Resources

Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected

Many educators, activists, and community members remain underinformed about the consequences of punitive school policies on girls as well as the distinctly gendered dynamics of zero-tolerance environments that limit their educational achievements and lead to underachievement and criminalization. This research focused on girls in Boston and New York City public schools. Access the full report here.

How to interest girls in computer science and engineering? Shift the stereotypes

Stereotypes about computer science and engineering are widely accepted by students and effectively discourage girls from pursuing careers in those fields. In this article, writer Deborah Bach introduces evidence that if stereotypes of engineers being male and "geeky" are broadened to include more socially accepted images, more girls will show interest in computer science. Read the full article.

The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap

In the American Assocation of University Women's (AAUW) most recent report about the gender pay gap, stark realities about gender inequities persist. A 78% pay gap still exists between men and women, with Hispanic and African American women suffering much larger gaps. For college graduates a year after college there is an 82% gap, some of which is due to career choices, with women choosing lower paid careers. If all differences are accounted for, there is a 7% gap. Read more on AAUW's site and access the full report here.

Anti-Harassment Support Site: Crash Override

Last year, #GamerGate, an online harassment campaign targeted at female gamers, received widespread media attention, putting some pressure on gaming companies to address the place of women in gaming. Zoe Quinn, one of the individuals who was actually attacked and threatened, has co-created Crash Override, a site that provides anti-harassment support through direct support and online tools.


Are Same-Sex Colleges Still Relevant?

In the New York Times' section, "Room for Debate," a discussion on the relevancy of same-sex colleges was featured, prompted by Sweet Briar College's recent announcement that it would be permanently shuttered in August due to financial challenges. Read more about Sweet Briar College's decision and the discussion here.

What Teens Really Think about YouTube, Google+, Reddit and Other Social Media

Earlier this year, teenager Andrew Watts wrote about the unique perspectives of teenagers toward major social media sites including Twitter and Facebook. In this follow-up article, Watts writes about how teens generally feel about additional social media platforms such as YouTube and Reddit while providing commentary on how companies can better appeal to the younger demographic. Read the full post.

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Alliance for Girls
510 16th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510.629.9464 | Fax: 510.318.5399