Women’s Action Groups

Are you ready to cause a ruckus?

We have been supporting the activism of girls for a long time but you have told us that there is a great need for convening and supporting the activism work of adult women too.  You are already calling senators, sending postcards, donating. But you want to do more. You are not alone. This is a chance to bring together, in coalition, the many women in our state who’ve thought to themselves, “I can’t just sit here. I need to do something.”

In the vein of our Girls Coalition Groups, we’re offering ongoing Women’s Action Groups. These groups, facilitated by trained Hardy Girls adult muses, will be focused on educating ourselves and taking action on the issues that matter most to women and girls. Each group will focus on a specific issue that is most relevant to them.  Topics could include but are not limited to: combatting street harassment, sexualization of girls and women in the media, access to reproductive health, human rights, and children’s rights.  Whether you want to make change on a local level or advocate nationally, this is your opportunity to act. Groups are open to women of all walks of life and political leanings.

Thank you to everyone who attended our kickoff events!! We’ve finalized our group locations/days/times. Registration for groups is now open. Check your schedules for which one will work best for you. Groups will meet monthly March – December 2017 and be $15/mth. Participants can choose to make a one-time donation of $150 or sign up for monthly payments of $15.

  1. Augusta – 2nd Wednesdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here.
  2. Bangor – 1st Thursdays of the month – 6:30-7:30pm – Register here.
  3. Brunswick – 2nd Thursdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here.
  4. Portland – 1st Wednesdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here. WAIT LIST ONLY
  5. Portland – 2nd Thursdays of the month – 7-8pm – Register here. WAIT LIST ONLY
  6. Portland – 1st Thursdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here.
  7. Waterville – 2nd Wednesdays of the month  – 7-8pm – Register here.

WAIT LIST NOTE: If you are interested in a group that is full, please still submit your registration for the wait list. We are monitoring these and adding/consolidating groups based on registration interest. 

Year End Giving


At a meeting of our 8th grade Girls Coalition Group early this fall, my co-muse Taylor and I planned a discussion of “the double standard,” per the girls’ request to talk about the presidential election. Over the next 45 minutes, the girls identified the sexism in media coverage of the election and then voiced their concern over the double standard in their future high school’s dress code. We suggested they create a skit about their observations, and I quickly found myself near tears–both in awe of their brilliance and in disgust at our reality–as they built a story that deconstructs the way sexism in dress codes controls girls’ bodies and limits their education. In the skit, one girl is told repeatedly to cover up (beginning with a bra strap and ending with her “scandalous ankles”) until she is completely tied up in sweatshirts and collapses on the ground, lamenting “I can’t even learn like this!” The skit’s teacher then admonishes her for distracting the class and sends her to the principal’s office. Taylor and I sat in silence, recognizing that our group was truly working in coalition to change their realities; Hardy Girls was working.img_0738
I joined Hardy Girls during my first month at Colby, and my participation in the organization has influenced my educational and activist pursuits more than any other experience. Between leading groups, trainings with Christine, our program director, and classes at Colby with Lyn Mikel Brown, HGHW’s co-founder, I have seen the power of creating spaces to give young people not only a voice but also the tools for activism.

One of our girls recently observed that our girls group allows us to build our “feminist umbrellas” to protect ourselves from the “sexist rain” that surrounds us.

In none of my gender theory classes in college have I heard such an apt and intelligible analogy. Our group works together to identify the sexism and injustice in our lives and then, just as importantly, to imagine how to resist and remake our surroundings.
Our work at Hardy Girls has never felt as urgent as it does as 2016 comes to a close. Over the past few months, Taylor and I grappled with how to support our girls through the objectification and devaluation of women’s bodies that we saw praised in the news everyday. We talked about LGBTQ and immigrant rights, topics personal to members of our group. A lot of the girls I work with are scared for their safety and the safety of their family, but they come to Hardy Girls programs ready to make a difference. Few other places in their lives trust their voices and experiences in the way we do.
I often think about how Hardy Girls has served me in so many more ways than I could serve it. I found the organization as an 18 year old college student, but I wonder what would have happened if I had been given the space in 6th grade to explore feminism, activism, and coalition. However, I am wholly confident that creating these spaces for young girls today is the most effective social activism I can be doing. As our political climate gets increasingly more frightening, I find hope and energy in our girls’ resiliency and resistance. Thank you for your support of Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s programming; together, we will support a generation of Maine girls who recognize their brilliance and ability to speak up and act out.

Adrienne Carmack, HGHW Board Member, 3rd year Muse, Colby ’18

  1. Donate today. We are a small staff (2 people!) working with 1,184 girls around the state! We need your support.
  2. Become a monthly muse. By supporting us monthly, even with $5, we can focus our efforts on taking girls seriously and putting the power in their hands to challenge a society that ignores their brilliance. Instead of worrying about cashflow. 10487175_10152256777098981_3391802768744727859_n
  3. Sign up through MyChange. With this easy program, whenever you make a purchase on your card, your total is rounded up to the nearest dollar and your change is donated to Hardy Girls! Easy sign up and can cancel at any time.
  4. Link to us through AmazonSmile. When shopping online, 0.5% of your purchases will be donated to Hardy Girls. Every dollar counts!


Awards and Recognition

In October 2015, Hardy Girls was awarded the MYAN Impact Award for Empowering Organization.

In September 2014, Lyn Mikel Brown, HGHW Co-Creator, received a Bammy Award for College Professor of the Year from The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International.

In May 2013, Girls Advisory Board members Julia Bluhm, Maya Brown, and Izzy Labbe won Maine Women’s Fund’s Samantha Smith Award for their activist work with SPARK Movement

In March 2013, Lyn Mikel Brown, HGHW Co-Creator, was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. The Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, held in March in observance of Women’s History Month, takes place at the University of Maine at Augusta and is dedicated to women whose achievements have had a significant statewide impact and have significantly improved the lives of women in Maine and whose contributions have an enduring value for women.

In May 2012, Karen Heck, HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Statewide Advocate Award by the Maine Children’s Trust at their 2012 Annual Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Recognition Awards.

In May 2012, Kristin Bishop, a HGHW Girls Advisory Board (GAB) member, was appointed by Gov. Paul LePage to serve as a student representative on the Maine State Board of Education. Kristin begins her two-year term in June 2012 as one of only two student representatives on the board. Kristin will represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional District on the board. The Maine State Board of Education advises the commissioner of education on matters concerning state education laws and makes education policy recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of state government.

In April 2012, Maya Brown, 2011-12 Girls Advisory Board (GAB) President, was the recipient of the Youth Philanthropist of the Year Award from Maine Association of Nonprofits and Colby College.

In June 2011, Jackie Dupont, Vice President of Research and Program Development for Hardy Girls Healthy Women was honored with the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN) Impact Award for her work empowering girls.

In 2010, Hardy Girls Healthy Women was presented with a 2010 Governor’s Award for Nonprofit Excellence at the Annual Colby Institute for Leadership Luncheon at Colby College.  The award was presented by the Maine Association of Nonprofits to the six Maine nonprofit organizations that have achieved significant results by utilizing ingenuity combined with sound management practices.

Governor Baldacci said, “This year’s honorees represent the innovative spirit that has earned Maine a reputation for top quality workmanship, service and a commitment to excellence. Each company selected has an incredibly strong record of community service and workforce investment. I am proud to honor them all as distinguished members of our community.”

In 2010, Tobi Schneider, HGHW board member, was recognized by Colby College and the Maine Philanthropy Center as Central Maine Philanthropist of the Year for her years of work in the central Maine community, including having been with Hardy Girls Healthy Women since the start.

In 2010, HGHW’s President, Megan Williams, was awarded the first ever Open Door Award by the Frances Perkins Center, an award given to a woman under 30 who has demonstrated exceptional leadership.

In 2009, HGHW’s President, Megan Williams, was listed in the Mainebiz Next List, a list of ten amazing people who are shaping the future of Maine’s economy.

In 2009, Lyn Mikel Brown Ed.D., HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the New diMensions Award with Mark Tappan, Ed.D. by Boys To Men, a non-profit whose mission is to reduce interpersonal violence by offering programs that support the healthy development of adolescent boys, located in Portland, ME.

In 2008, Karen Heck, HGHW Co-Creator, was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. The Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, held in March in observance of Women’s History Month, takes place at the University of Maine at Augusta and is dedicated to women whose achievements have had a significant statewide impact and have significantly improved the lives of women in Maine and whose contributions have an enduring value for women.

In 2006, Karen Heck, HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Maine Statewide AAUW Achievement Citation Award, the highest award for extraordinary community involvement in women’s issues.

In 2006, Lyn Mikel Brown Ed.D., HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Maine International Film Festival’s GAL (Groundbreaking Activist Leadership) Award for Ugly Ducklings, a cutting edge multi-media program designed to educate and inspire people to take action against bias-based bullying and harassment gay and lesbian youth.

In 2005, Lyn Mikel Brown Ed.D., HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Sarah Orne Jewett Award in Portland, ME. The award is given to outstanding women by The Maine Women’s Fund.

In 2002, Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s fabulous Co-Creators, Karen Heck, Lyn Mikel Brown and Lynn Cole, won the Business and Professional Women’s Women of the Year Award. Each year these awards are given to women who are outstanding in their work and/or in helping other women and families.

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 training@hghw.org 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 info@hghw.org.

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.