Support HGHW at our annual Girls Rock! Awards!

Join Us for the 10th Annual Girls Rock! Awards

to benefit Hardy Girls Healthy Women


You’re invited to The Girls Rock! Awards, our annual fundraiser, to honor girls from around Maine.  Enjoy appetizers while you hear some amazing stories of girls from around our state who break stereotypes, challenge society and rock! Your attendance and donations make our year-round programming, serving over a 1,000 girls, possible. Stand with us to take girls seriously.

Friday, April 7th from 6:00-7:30
Camp Ketcha, Scarborough
Reserve your spot!

beth shisslerSpeaking at this year’s event is honoree Beth Shissler, the President/COO of Sea Bags headquartered in Portland, Maine. After working for large, international corporations she took a risk in 2006 and decided to run a young startup company in her home state. In 2011, Shissler was named a woman to watch by MaineBiz. In 2015, Sea Bags was named Maine Retailer of the Year. Beth has guided Sea Bags into impressive growth while supporting a diverse population. The company now employs more than 80 people across 11 retail stores—and says she’s still having fun.


YTP_juliaphotoAgainst the Odds winner Julia Hanson, 17, Falmouth, founded The Yellow Tulip Project after losing her two best friends to suicide last year and dealing with her own depression. The Yellow Tulip Project is aimed at smashing the stigma around mental illness and helping others feel less alone or ashamed. She’s energized school groups and community organizations this fall to plant Hope Gardens and has received support all across the state and beyond. She is passionate about changing the conversation about an issue that affects 1 in 5 teens.

MadelinaCommunity Organizer, Madelina Rocha, 11, Portland, was new to the country when she was a kindergarden student.  Now, as a fifth grader, she returns to the kindergarden class daily to work with some of her school’s most vulnerable students; those who are new to the country and new to the school community.  With her gentle approach and command of multiple languages, Madelina makes these young students feel welcomed and successful. Madeline shows incredible empathy and caring and skill, as she teaches and inspires confidence in these students.  Additionally, she is an active member of her school’s civil rights team and works with the group to make the culture of the school one of acceptance and inclusion.  Madelina is busy organizing an accepting school culture for her and her classmates to learn and grow. 

Tyra1Entrepreneur, Tyra Michaud, 19, Frenchville, completed a 7 year apprenticeship (over 600 hours) prior to opening her own dog grooming business.  She then took on her own clients working out of her mentor’s business.  This past spring, Tyra bought her own building and is now running her business and growing her clientele successfully, additionally challenging because of the rural nature of her home town.  Tyra has already begun taking courses at University of Maine, Fort Kent and plans on pursuing her degree in business. 

Grace McIntoshHealth Advocate, Grace McIntosh, 16, Wilton, has an eye for the needs of her peers.  First she noticed that some of her classmates were hungry and did a drive to stock the food pantry closet. She took it a step further and set up a system so that students in need could receive food from the pantry discreetly.  When it became colder, she again noticed that classmates could use warm clothing. She set up a district-wide email system for teachers to request coats for students.  Grace would deliver them to the teachers who would be able to get the clothing to the student in need while maintaining their dignity and privacy.

HallieGRA2017STEM-gineer, Hallie MacDougal, 16, Lincolnville, has wanted to be a marine biologist since she was 7 and has been researching colleges on her own since the age of 8. Over the years she has participated in many programs and has completed an array of research around her favorite topic of Marine Biology.  In 10th grade, she put on a dry suit in January and waded chest-deep in the ocean to collect plankton specimens over the course of week and examine them under a microscope; she presented her findings at school in a PechaKucha series. This past fall, Hallie learned about RARGOM and decided to apply to have a research poster on display at the conference. She was accepted and was the only high school student there; she was asked a number of times where she taught.  For her 11th grade project, she is researching plankton and their ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.  Hallie is a bright and passionate student and an example for her peers that girls can excel in science.

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.46.41 AMTitle IX Champion, Johorey Abdirahaman, 17, Lewiston, is a devout Somali-Muslim and one of the most decorated student-athletes (cross country and track and field) at Lewiston High School; often times, these two identities combination seem to come into contrast with one another, yet Johorey has managed to weave both these identities into her own newfound sense of self. Johorey is extremely passionate about female participation in athletics, especially for Somali and Muslim females, encouraging her friends and peers to join her. In addition, she has defied the stereotypes that Muslim girls cannot participate in athletics; she competes in hijab and modest clothing, and is often faster than those who are not dressed modestly. Johorey is also a champion for women’s rights, racial equality, and has come to deem herself as a proud and staunch feminist. 


2017 GRW sponsor logos (2)

Nominate a girl who rocks!

Hardy Girls Healthy Women is committed to amplifying the voices of brave and amazing girls in Maine. We are looking for girls ages 9-19 whose bold voices and daring acts have made a substantial impact on their communities.  Nominations are open and the event is part of Girls Rock! in Spring of 2018.

The categories are:
Title IX Champion: This girl is an advocate for girls’ equal access to sports, including athletic facilities, coaching, education or equipment.

Health Promoter: This girl supports and/or works on wellness policies or programs that promote healthy lifestyles and choices, such as mental, emotional and/or physical health.

Against the Odds Advocate: This girl refuses to be limited by what has traditionally been known as a physical mental health or developmental challenge. She is busy redefining “able” and making positive changes for girls in Maine along the way.

Community Organizer: This girl sees the importance of a united community and is making it happen by bringing together her school, peers, and/or community. She is not afraid to start changing the soil, especially for other girls!

Entrepreneur: This girl turned her passion into a paycheck by building up her own business and her bank account.

 STEM-gineer: This girl succeeds in science, technology, engineering or math.  She rejects the idea these subjects are not for girls and has created a counter narrative with her accomplishments.  She could be an inventor, a competition winner, or a pioneer in her field.

All selected Girls Rock! Award recipients must be available to accept their award at the Girls Rock! Award celebration in Portland on Friday, March 2nd.

Inclusivity Statement
Interested participants who self-identify as female may be nominated for this award. This includes participants who were not assigned to the female sex at birth, but live and identify as female now. It also includes participants who are legally assigned to the female sex, but who identify as transgender or gender fluid.

Freaky 5k Rad Swag

The Freaky 5k is fast approaching (Saturday, October 29th!!) and our rad swag is in.   Wear it as a hat, headband, scarf or get creative.  You can’t go wrong as long as you are causing a ruckus!  Pre-registration is closed. You are welcome to come and register at the event! Day of registration is $35 for adults and $25 for youth & students. Prices include a rad green ruckus yowie, pre-race festivities, and a timed result.(Thanks to Christine for being the best swag model ever.)









Meet the new Girls Advisory Board!

We have a group of extraordinary girls in this years’ Girls Advisory Board.  There is a novelist, a black belt, a canoe racer, a yoga teacher… you get the idea. These are girls who are all working hard to make society a healthier place for girls to grow.  They are avid fighters for equality and tenacious about pursuing their passions.  People of all ages can find inspiration by what these girls are doing right now.  Click through their bios to learn more about these ruckus causers and get amped up for what they will present at the Girls Rock! Conferences in April!

We had a blast at Camp!

June marked the end of the second year that Hardy Girls Healthy Women has partnered with Waynflete to host a week of Adventure Girls Camp in Portland.  This year the girls met a group of phenomenal females that helped them realize all of the amazing things that girls and women can do.  They spent time with a comedian, an engineer, an entrepreneur, a sportscaster and some scientists.  When the girls answered the question “What can girls do?” at the end of camp, they replied, “Everything!” “Anything!” “Be cops, or doctors” and “Play basketball.”  Thanks to Waynflete for being such a great partner and to the adventure women, Jen Fitz, Kelly MacFarland, Cindy Daigle, Leigh Kellis, Jessica Gagne and Erin Boggs for showing these girls they can be what they want.  Did you miss camp this year? Check back in January to reserve your spot!20160627_094906

Girls Rock! Awards Winners!

Did you miss our Girls Rock! Awards this year? You can still meet our amazing winners and hear their stories.

Health Promoter Caroline Coxe Falmouth, Age 18  Caroline brought to the lime-light a subject matter many adults are embarrassed to talk about: menstruation.  Inspired by the video, “Homeless Period”, Caroline considered the challenges homeless women in her community face in having access to feminine hygiene products and was moved to do something to make those challenges a little easier.  Caroline is an artist and she decided to use art to bring her community together to help with this cause.  She curated an art show on female empowerment, to both raise awareness and money regarding the issues homeless women face around menstruation.  She also created promotional materials for the art show.  Attendees were encouraged to either donate cash or hygiene products and/or purchase a print of one of the pieces.  Most importantly, Caroline sparked a community conversation about a topic society, and especially women, are often ashamed to talk about publicly.

Thank you to our Health Promoter Award Sponsor:

Maine General


Community Organizer Abbey Gifford, Farmingdale, Age 11  After being told she was too young to participate in most volunteer positions, Abbey worked hard to start a story time at Bailey Public Library  for 4-7 year olds.  In addition to reading stories, Abbey brings a craft and provides snacks that relate in some way to the theme of the stories.  Abbey works hard to earn her own money to pay for crafts and snacks for the children, as well as using from gifts from family and friends to cover these expenses.  Abbey funds author visits through a grant she received from the Maine Community Foundation.  Abbey also plans to purchase books for children in need within her community and donate them.  Abbey chose to do a story time in order to get younger children interested in reading, so that one day they will enjoy reading as much as she does.  
Against the Odds Advocate, Alissah Paquette, Waterville, Age 15  Alissah is undaunted by her own physical and verbal challenges since being diagnosed as a baby with conditions that affect her bone development and verbal language use. Instead, she looks outside of herself to help others.  She sees the many needs of those around her and works to address these issues, through raising money for hospitalized children and local families in need, volunteering with students with developmental disabilities at her school, and working as a lifeguard at her community pool.  She is an inspiration and has far exceeded what she should have been able to do based upon her own personal challenges. She has refused to be limited by what has traditionally been known as a physical or developmental disability and she has been busy redefining “able” and making positive changes for herself and for girls in Maine along the way.  

Title IX Champion, Hilary Merrifield, West Rockport, Age 17  Hilary stepped into the world of high school wrestling willingly as a seventh grader and has competed against boys for the past six years.  While many people consider wrestling to be a boys sport, Hilary has worked hard to prove that she is strong enough not just to compete, but to excel.  She has never once complained about the rigors of the sport, nor has she ever sought treatment different from her teammates.  Moreover, she has given back to the sport by volunteering to work with the middle-school team where she mentors a young girl and serves as an excellent role model for her.  She is varsity captain, has recorded 100 career wins and has competed both regionally and nationally.  Hilary is an excellent role model and advocate for all young women who strive to compete and who refuse to allow their gender to hinder their accomplishments.  

Entrepreneur Kaitlynn Hutchins, Westbrook, Age 19  After her dad passed away unexpectedly in 2012, Kaitlynn has embraced his passion for photography and made it her own. Since then, her work has been featured in galleries, and last year she won a photography contest that sent her to Russia for two weeks. She has built her business by taking senior pictures, family pictures, and h Westbrook High School’s events as their official photographer.  Her recent wedding photography has allowed her business to truly take off. By creating a business out of her talent, Kaitlynn has been able to pave her own path in life and not depend on anyone for assistance.

ThisgirlteeslogoCoffeeByDesign Logoplanson

STEM-gineer Olivia Boudreau,  Waterville, Age 12  While studying renewable energy, Olivia was inspired by the book A Boy Who Harnessed the Wind to fundraise for William Kamkwamba’s windmill projects, and help make a difference in poor African villages. Her team raised over $1,000 toward these projects. Olivia knows that there are improvements to be made locally as well.  She was part of a group of students who presented a proposal to the school board to research the feasibility of solar panels for her middle school. If there is an environmental puzzle to solve, you can rest assured that Olivia is working on it. As she learns, she acts.  She is a great example of how girls can make a difference in the sciences.  Thank you to our STEM-gineer Award sponsor:



Thank you to all of our event sponsors!  Yelp_Logo_No_Outline_Color-01Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.30.25 AM




Accepting Applications for the Girls Advisory Board

The Girls Advisory Board (GAB) is a program for girls in Maine who will be in 9th-12th grade in the 2018-2019 school year.  The board helps Hardy Girls make important decisions about direction and programming, runs workshops and gives presentations at the annual Girls Rock! Conferences, and is a safe and supportive environment for members to discuss topics relevant to them.  GAB is a great opportunity for girls to practice their leadership, engage in social action projects, and keep the organization current on challenges facing girls today.  Check out the current members of the Girls Advisory Board.

We are now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 Girls Advisory Board.  This program is FREE to participate in. To apply, click here.  Meetings are about once a month on Sundays from September through June. This year, we are trying something different! Our hope is to have TWO regional GABs – one for based out of Lewiston and Portland AND one based out of Waterville and Bangor. So, girls from statewide are encouraged to apply. Carpooling help is available for members to get from one or the other location. Applications will be accepted through June and interviews will be held in July.

Inclusivity Statement: Interested participants who self-identify as female are welcome to apply to our programs. This includes participants who were not assigned to the female sex at birth, but live and identify as female now. It also includes participants who are legally assigned to the female sex, but who identify as transgender or gender fluid.

Please email Sarah Lentz, Program Coordinator, at with any questions!

Register for the Girls Rock! Conference

Registration for the Girls Rock! Conferences is officially open.  Space is limited so reserve your spot today!

The Girls Rock! Conference is an event planned BY girls FOR girls.  The high school girls on the Girls Advisory Board choose topics for the conference that are relevant to them AND YOU!  Get ready for a fun filled day of learning, sharing, growing and some girl-powered activism! #girlsrock17

Girls Rock! Waterville will be in at Colby College (Pugh Center) in Waterville, on Thursday, April 6th from 9am-1pm (registration opens at 8:30) The conference is open to girls* in grades 4-8 and their chaperones.  Registration is $20 per person before March 31st with full and partial scholarships available. Lunch and a t-shirt are included with your registration. Register online or print and return your paper registration by mail.

Girls Rock! Southern Maine is at Westbrook Community Center, 426 Bridge Street, on Friday, April 7th from 9am-1pm (registration opens at 8:30) The conference is open to girls* in grades 4-8 and their chaperones.  Registration is $20 per person before March 31st with full and partial scholarships available. Lunch and a t-shirt are included with your registration. Register online or print and return your paper registration by mail. THIS CONFERENCE IS FULL. WAIT LIST ONLY. SOUTHERN MAINE SCHOOLS ARE WELCOME AT THE WATERVILLE CONFERENCE. 

*Inclusivity Statement: Interested participants who self-identify as female are welcome to apply to our programs. This includes participants who were not assigned to the female sex at birth, but live and identify as female now. It also includes participants who are legally assigned to the female sex, but who identify as transgender or gender fluid.

2017 GRW sponsor logos (2)

Empowering Organization Award

Hardy Girls Healthy Women was honored at the Maine Youth Action Network ImpACT Awards in October.  We received the Empowering Organization Award which is given to an organization, school or business in Maine that exemplifies the systematic engagement of youth within the ages 12-18 in decision-making and planning.  It was wonderful to be recognized by such an incredible group for our work with the Girls Advisory Board.  We love the knowledge, energy and ideas that GAB consistently brings to the table.