Girls Rock! Recap

Did you miss the best weekend of the year: Girls Rock! Weekend?

Well it was an amazing time and you need to add it to your calendar for next year.
Nearly 250 girls and their allies attend Girls Rock! Waterville and 125 came to Portland. We celebrated with almost 100 people at our Girls Rock! Awards including sponsors, parents, and representation from Rep. Pingree, and Senators King and Collins.
We’ve posted some photos from the events on our Facebook page. There was also news coverage of Girls Rock! Waterville and a winner from our Girls Rock! Awards. You can see videos of all the winners here.
If you work with/parent/are an 8th grader who might be interested in being a part of the Girls Advisory Board who plans the weekend, applications are open now. If you are interested in bringing girls’ and/or adult workshops to your community/school, please be in touch with us at or 861-8131. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updated resources and news.
Another thank you to our sponsors, specifically MaineGeneral Health, IDEXX Laboratories, This Girl’s Tees and Bagel Guy. If you loved what you saw that weekend and want us to be able to reach more girls, consider a donation to Hardy Girls.
The Hardy Girls’ Team
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Thanks for helping us reach our $15,000 Matching Challenge!

Did you know that 2015 was Hardy Girls’ 15th year? 

In 15 years, Hardy Girls partnered with thousands of girls, thousands of adults and hundreds of social action projects to take girls seriously and put the power in their hands to challenge a society that ignores their brilliance.

In honor of our 15th year, a donor has pledged $15,000 in a matchingScreen Shot 2015-11-20 at 4.43.21 PM challenge. We are proud to report that your support helped us surpass that challenge goal!  Thank you!  If you didn’t quite get your donation in before the new year, you can still be involved.  Here are 15 ways you can support HGHW:

  1. Give $15/monthly.
  2. With a one-time gift to sponsor a girl in our Girls Coalition Groups.
  3. Designate HGHW when you shop through Amazon  – we receive .5% of your purchase!
  4. Match. Does your company match your charitable giving? Make your gift double the impact.
  5. Stock donation? Yes, please. Contact Kelli to gift your stocks to HGHW.
  6. Donate! Your gifts allow us to offer FREE programming to girls.
  7. Follow us on Facebook,
  8. Twitter
  9. and Instagram
  10. and share our posts!
  11. Sponsor our Girls Rock! Weekend – support girls and advertise your business at the same time!
  12. Tell 15 friends why you love HGHW.
  13. Shop the HGHW store for curriculum, mugs and more!
  14. Designate HGWH in your will to continue giving to an organization that means something in your life.
  15. Did we mention donate? Your gift allows us to focus on the girls.

Thank you for your support!

Queer Youth Webinar Series – April & May 2015

Hardy Girls Healthy Women is happy to announce a new webinar series: the Queer Youth Series! Join us for our new series consisting of six different 60-minute webinars with LGBTQ experts and activists throughout the country as they share their research, findings, and tools on how we can better serve LGBTQ youth and create safe and empowering hardiness zones! 

Registration price: $20 per webinar for adults, free for students.

To register for individual webinars, click on the link behind each title below. For more information, call Hardy Girls Healthy Women at (207) 861-8131 or email

Can’t make the scheduled webinar time? No problem! HGHW will send each registrant a recording of the webinar so you don’t have to miss out and can watch on your own time!

Register for the whole series here!

• Wednesday, April 22, 2015 1-2pm EST: Introduction to the World of Queer Activism with AJ Yarn from Faces for Equality (Register Here)

Join AJ Yarn, creator of Faces for Equality, for an introduction to LGBTQ definitions and themes as well as information about different LGBTQ/social activism organization opportunities for youth! AJ will discuss his role in the creation of Faces for Equality as well as discuss different methods to use passion as a tool for social justice. Finding an issue you care about and taking a stand is not as hard as you think! This webinar will help you find methods to include your friends and your local community while changing the world around you for the better! 

• Wednesday, April 29, 2015 1-2pm EST: Creating Welcome Schools for LGBTQQ Youth with Darla Linville (Register Here)

Building support for LGBTQQ youth in schools requires more than adopting anti-bullying policies or starting a club.  What can you do to change the climate of your school to make it welcoming for all students?  What should you think about before acting?  What ideologies are most helpful in creating the climate we want?  In this webinar we’ll discuss actions you can take in your school or educational setting, and ways to counter discriminatory practices and challenge larger culture and climate issues that arise.  We will examine gay straight trans alliances from the perspective of creating action from theory and creating socially just educational settings. 

• Tuesday, May 12, 2015 1-2pm EST: Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to end Sexism and Homophobia in Schools with Elizabeth J. Meyer (Register Here)

Description coming soon! 

• Wednesday, May 20, 2015 1-2pm EST: Acting Activism: Reaching Hearts, Changing Minds with Cathy Plourde and Out and Allied Youth Theater (Register Here)

Waterville’s Out & Allied Youth Theatre have featured performance as a mainstay to their activism to bring bystanders into the conversation. How does this work? Where does their material come from? Whatto look out for? Hear from and talk to youth, their advisor, and the creator of the Out & Allied project.

• Wednesday, May 27, 2015 1-2pm EST: Embracing Discomfort: Asking the Hard Questions and Exploring Identity with Hannah DeAngelis from Femsex  (Register Here)

Femsex uses peer to peer learning and personal storytelling to engage people in open dialogue about gender, sex and sexuality. Learn about the adult learning workshop Femsex, explore your own relationship with gender and identity through storytelling, and have a chance to ask questions about terminology that can limit conversations with youth about sexuality.  


Meet the Girls Rock! Award Winners

We recognized seven very impressive girls on Friday, April 10 at One Longfellow Square in Portland.  Click here to watch their interviews:

Edna-Thecla Akimana, 20, from Portland, has won our Co-Creator Award!  She came to Maine from Burundi 2 years ago by herself. Edna is living without a parent or guardian in Portland and despite all of the challenges she faced in her home country, during her journey to Maine, and here in Maine, she is a creative, kind, mature and optimistic young woman. Edna’s journey is far from over and her existence is far from easy, but she is focused on making life easier for others. That is why, with the help of the Telling Room, she is writing a guidebook for new immigrants to Maine to help them figure out how to get settled. Edna is the youngest person to receive the Co-Creator Award and we are so pleased to honor her with it.  Congrats, Edna, on making Maine a better place for girls to thrive!

Jamee Fillmore, 17, from Topsham, has won our Against the Odds Advocate Award!  She has battled addiction, struggled through unhealthy relationships and dropped out of high school four times.  She switched schools and found the community that she was looking for at the REAL school.  She has been sober for over a year and will graduate high school this June, and her probation will end with no violations.  One of her teachers has called her  “one of our most successful students to date.”  In addition to overcoming her own challenges, Jamee has become  a “Restorative Learning Leader,” doing peer mediations.  Her success despite the odds is an inspiration to others and her future plans to attend college and to continue her work with addicts will surely make Maine a better place for girls to live and thrive.  Congrats, Jamee, on all of your current and future success!

Jessica Smith, 15, from Burnham, has won our Entrepreneurship Award!  She is a drummer for her band, The Resistance and has won this award for the work she has done offstage to make the band a success.  By leveraging tradional and nontraditional media to promote her band, she has elevated this group to be Maine’s premier youth/young adult live act in the state.  Whether she goes on to a career as a performer, or in the music industry as a marketing or production professional, this young woman is (and will be) a force to reckon with.  Congrats, Jessica, on turning your passion into a paycheck! This award is sponsored by:
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Karen Noble, 17, from Bangor, has won our STEM-gineer Award!  Karen is winning for her work to make the STEM fields accessible to other girls.  When she started high school, she didn’t get involved with her school’s STEM offerings because she didn’t see other girls doing it.  She jumped in sophomore year and after thriving in the technology and engineering department, she worked with her teacher to start a Summer Technology Camp to get more girls involved with STEM right off the bat.  Karen has opened the door for herself  and other girls to find success in STEM fields.  Congrats, Karen, for leading the charge! This award is sponsored by:


Lilly Wakeman, 17 from Addison, has won our Title IX Champion Award!  Lilly used the rights granted to her by Title IX to join the football team at her school.  Through her dedication and hard work, she earned the respect of her teammates and coaches.  She showed her commitment to her team by attending practices despite sidelining injuries, and being diligent about her offseason training.  Lilly is a role model for the girls at her school because her example shows them to go ahead and try whatever it is that they are passionate about!  Congrats, Lilly, for inspiring other girls to get in the game!

Muna Mohamed, 17, from Lewiston has won our Community Organizer Award!  Muna is part of a group of students who brought the national conversation about race to the local stage.  As senior class president, student representative to the Lewiston School committee, a member of Key Club and Civil Rights Team, Muna represents one key player that rallied her school, peers, and community around the conversation of Black Lives Matter.  By being forced to take down a Black Lives Matter poster, Muna and her peers sparked a lively and sustained conversation about free speech and racial justice.  She led a group of girls in coordinating a candlelight vigil for racial justice and she worked with the Civil Rights Club to host an open community dialogue at the high school to discuss race relations.  Congrats, Muna, on standing up for what you believe in and for rallying others to your cause! This award sponsored by:

Rep. Chellie Pingree & Donald Sussman

Nimco Isack, 13, from Portland, has won our Health Promoter Award! Nimco’s health promotion activities started as part of a school project where her and a partner successfully organized a food drive benefiting the Preble Street Community Center.  When the project was completed, Nimco wasn’t ready to let the issue drop.  Concerned that around 60% of her peers were living with food insecurity, she proposed and executed a plan to create a food pantry right in her own school.  After hours of meetings with adults and teachers, the pantry is up and running sustainably.  Congrats, Nimco, on making your community a healthier place to be! This award is sponsored by: Maine General

Join us at the Girls Rock! Awards


Hardy Girls Healthy Women is committed to amplifying the voices of brave and amazing girls throughout our state. We have found girls whose bold voices and daring acts have made a substantial impact on their communities.  Join us as we congratulate them for their achievements and learn how you and the girls in your life can join them in causing a ruckus.  Awards winners in these categories will share their stories: Community Organizer, Against the Odds Advocate, Title IX Champion, Entrepreneur, STEM-gineer, and Health Promoter.  RSVP to join us for this inspiring evening.

Girls Rock! Awards will be on Thursday, April 7th from 6-7:30 at Colby College.$20 suggested donation for adults, students are free.

Thank you to our sponsors!

There are still sponsorship opportunities available. Please contact Kelli McCannell for more information.



Maine General


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Spotlight On…



Blair Braverman

Muse 2010-2011

Blair Braverman is a long-distance dogsled racer and the author of her memoir Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. Reflecting on her experiences in arctic life and bobsledding, Outside magazine called her book “a new classic” and the New York Times touted it as, “courageous and original as both a travel narrative and a memoir of self-discovery.”

As a teenager, Blair moved from California to the Norwegian arctic to become a dogsledder, and worked as a dogsled guide in Alaska before her freshman year. At Colby, Blair was very engaged in her environmental studies and creative writing. Although she put her mushing on hold during school, she missed it, and got her first six huskies after earning an MFA in nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa. She now lives on a farm in northern Wisconsin with her fiancé and nineteen Alaskan huskies. Blair hopes to qualify for the 1100-mile Iditarod dogsled race in 2019 and is currently raising her first (well, her dog Pepe’s first) litter of puppies.

[“This summer, readers have their pick of female narrators traversing both internal and external terrain. But few stand out as much as Blair Braverman’s Arctic memoir,” – Outside Magazine on Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube](blocked)

In addition to dogsledding, Blair has written essays and journalism for multiple anthologies, as well as This American Life, Orion, The Atavist, The Guardian, and elsewhere. She is currently starting research for a new book about apocalypse preppers.