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:
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.
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: