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)

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!


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! Weekend on April 6th and 7th.

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, April 7th.

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!

Maine Foodie Tours!


During the month of September, Maine Foodie Tours will be donating $1 of every ticket sold to Hardy Girls Healthy Women! What are Foodie Tours, you ask? From their website:

Our beloved Portland, Kennebunkport, Rockland and Bar Harbor are steeped in rich local and maritime history. They are also home to an abundance of organic produce, dairy products from our farms, and fresh fish and seafood from our harbors. Many imaginative and flavorful local dishes and confections – each often with an intriguing history of its own – are created by resourceful Maine chefs and purveyors, brewmasters, bakers, mixologists and more! Join Maine Foodie Tours as we uncover the storied past of these vibrant towns with our highly entertaining guides. You’ll enjoy tasty samplings of local fare created by talented artisans who continue to create and inspire!

So, enjoy some local fare and give to your local girls organization at the same time. Happy eating!

Mark your Calendar for the Freaky 5k: Saturday, October 29

Dust off your ruby slippers, yeti boots, or running/walking shoes and mark your calendar for Saturday, October 29th at the Diamond Building/Colby Green at Colby College.

The Freaky 5k is a reminder that Halloween should be about imaginative and creative costumes, not the frighteningly sexualized ones peddled to even the youngest girls. We invite you to join us for a costumes appreciated trot through town in support of Hardy Girls Healthy Women.  Grab a bed sheet or a boa (and maybe a friend) and we will see you there!

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. Feeling extra motivated?  Set up a fundraising page and help show more girls they can be who they want in costume and in life.

Some Details:
9am Checkin Opens
9:15 Kids Run
9:45 Costume Contest
10:00 Race Begins

Have more questions? Check out our Freaky 5k page for more info.


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