“Revolution is not a one time event.”

Audre Lorde said, “Revolution is not a one time event,” so show up, and show up often. Oppression doesn’t focus on just one group and our activism shouldn’t either. In the month of Pride, amidst continued racial injustice, and to keep a light on immigration beyond the Supreme Court’s recent DACA decision, here are suggested resources for reading, donating, and acting on these pressing issues. Our recommendations are local to Maine, but a quick google search will produce info (organizations, education, etc.) for your specific location.

Maine Public’s Why Is Maine So White? And What It Means To Ask The Question
Maine Initiatives’s Resource Guide: Racial Justice 101

Black Lives Matter Portland; ACLU of Maine Foundation; Choose Yourself

Sign this petition to push for Maine to repair its racist treatment of the residents of Malaga Island.
Attend Indigo Arts Alliance’s virtual Beautiful Black Bird Children’s Book Festival featuring Black authors and illustrators.

Maine Public’s LGBTQ+ Life in Maine: Past, Present & Future

EqualityMaine’s 35 Years of EqualityMaine Recognizes 35 LGBTQ+ Mainers

GLSEN; MaineTransNet; Portland Outright

Is your doctor LGBTQ knowledgeable? Submit their name to the provider database at mainequeerhealth.org
Attend a virtual Pride event


WGME’s Maine immigrants celebrate DACA ruling by US Supreme Court
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project’s Immigrant Beacon

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project; Mano en ManoPresente! via People’s Emergency Fund

Call your Representatives to support the immediate release of detained immigrants
Attend Choose Yourself‘s Girl Talk Portland Roundtable Event on June 27, 2020

PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE! The Maine Primary is on July 14, 2020, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot by telephone (contact your Municipal Clerk) or online is 5:00 P.M. on July 9.

Deb Soifer

Deb Soifer, Ph.D., is delighted to be simultaneously the oldest and newest member of the HGHW Board. Deb is a lifelong educator, having taught content as varied as Sanskrit and Spanish, Amazonian mythologies and Asian cooking to students from kindergarten through graduate school.

She taught at Bowdoin and Colby Colleges, and China Middle and Vassalboro Community Schools, as well as at Waterville Adult Ed. She taught and served on the Board of Directors of Let’s Talk Language School in Waterville for its duration. She wrote and received grants to start a foreign language program at the China Middle School and a farm-to-school week at Vassalboro Community School, going on to run both programs. In addition to her love of teaching, Deb has always been involved in some aspect of the food world as a Chinese chef, private cook, restaurant owner, goat dairy worker, and home cook and gardener. 

Having grown up in and married into male-dominant families, having been Mom to two boys and Aunt Deb to 5 nephews, Deb strives to maintain her balance through seeking and fostering strong relationships with women friends of all ages and by mentoring girls. Becoming involved in HGHW as a member of the GR!A Committee for 3 years has been an inspiration to Deb as she continues to meet and work with brilliant, feisty girls and women.

Five Questions with Deb

Favorite bookCan’t choose just one!  Song of Solomon and Beloved by
Toni Morrison, Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, A Place in Time by Wendell Berry.
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: Michelle Obama
Favorite feminist anthem: Respect by Aretha Franklin
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: My henhouse! They get it!!
Perfect day (in one sentence): Begins with an early morning swim with loons, includes time in the garden, time with family, cooking and sharing a meal and laughing a lot.

Hardy Spotlight: Faith!

Meet our March Spotlight, Faith Barnes

Each month, those of us working with Hardy Girls Healthy Women want to share the talent and vision of some of our incredible staff, volunteers, students, and board members. For March, we’re introducing you to Faith Barnes, chair of Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s Board of Directors. She is responsible for keeping things organized, fundraising for the organization, and helping to plan and facilitate all of our board meetings.

How did you get involved with Hardy Girls?
My introduction to Hardy Girls was about 13 years ago when I attended a workshop to learn about how I could empower my daughter and girl clients to understand media messages and take action.

What do you do at HGHW?
I joined the board in 2017 and currently I serve as the board chair.

What’s a typical day like for you?
On a typical day regarding work for HGHW I will look at and review the financial statements and if anything seems out of line I will note it and ask Kelli or the treasurer for an explanation, review committee meeting notes, consider people for contributions and/or board service, develop the agenda for the board meetings and the development committee meetings, develop the agenda for my monthly conversation with Kelli, and attend the 20th Anniversary Committee meetings via zoom. Right now I am focused on GR!A and trying to sell tickets by following up on emails I have sent to friends and family. My most important responsibility for HGHW is to thank our board members for all the work you do for HGHW. I don’t think I can thank you all enough for pulling your weight and moving us forward!

What’s one thing you love doing as part of HGHW?
What I love about being on the board of HGHW is having the chance to talk with people about the organization. I love listening to the stories from the Girls Advisory Board, Muses and Kelli, our Executive Director, and Sarah, our Program Coordinator.

What do you wish you’d known earlier or that someone had told you?
I wish someone had told me that the social constructs in our society were developed by white, heterosexual, eurocentric men. These constructs were assumed to be the only voice we needed to hear. I wish someone had told me that my voice and perspective were equally important!

What have you learned from Board Members, the Girls Advisory Board, and Muses?
From the board members, I have learned that they are willing to do the work for the organization if they can see that we are all working for the organization. The Girls Advisory Board has shown me the importance of connection; and Muses share their wisdom around how to listen and be patient with adolescents.

You have a free day to yourself — what do you do?
I love to be outside and get exercise so cross country skiing or biking or getting a massage or meeting up with one of my girlfriends.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about you?
I speak french and people tell me I’m funny!

What are you happiest doing when you’re not in school or at work?
Happiest being outside and doing something with my husband and, when they are around, my children.

Favorite place in Maine?
Sitting on the front terrace at our house on Mt. Desert Island.

Girls* Rock! Awards 2020

The Girls* Rock! Awards are usually my favorite night of the year. Being surrounded by my community, standing with girls, honoring the impressive work of local young people. Having to cancel the awards this year weighed heavily on our hearts. We’d committed to the honorees and their families, the community, the sponsors, young people – and then this pandemic seeped into our lives. Social distancing felt like the opposite of this event. Our goal has been to amplify their voices and bring people together in coalition… not avoid crowds and stay at least six feet apart.

In this separation, however, we’ve found moments of powerful connection. Video calls seeing the faces of our highschoolers planning how to virtually reach the middle schoolers from the (also cancelled) conferences. Emails from sponsors saying they support our mission, not just the events that couldn’t happen. Conversations with honorees and their families about recording videos of their speeches to create an online awards event – struggling with the size of video files, frustration with technology, and the mutual understanding of these weird times we are in together.

The creativity of connection that has emerged around the world illustrates the ingenuity of the Award winners. The systemic (racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, and more) oppression being exposed during this pandemic highlights the vital work of the Award winners. The support rising up from neighborhoods and organizations exemplifies the power of community as built by people like these Award winners.

Join us for our first virtual Girls* Rock! Awards and hear from the honorees themselves how to challenge a society that ignores your brilliance. If you’re able, donate to our year-round work of taking girls seriously.

Executive Director, Hardy Girls Healthy Women

Thank you to our Sponsors!

2020 GR!A Keynote, Nadya Okamoto

Nadya Okamoto, who grew up in Portland, OR, is the 21-years-old Founder and Executive Director of PERIOD (period.org), an organization she founded at the age of 16. PERIOD is now the largest youth-run NGO in women’s health, and one of the fastest growing ones here in the United States. Since 2014 they have addressed over 800,000 periods and registered over 500 campus chapters. In 2017, Nadya ran for office in Cambridge, MA. While she did not win, her campaign team made historic waves in mobilizing young people on the ground and at polls. Nadya published her debut book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement with publisher Simon & Schuster, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018. Most recently, Nadya has become the Chief Brand Officer of JUV Consulting, a Generation Z marketing agency based in NYC. Nadya was named to InStyle Magazine’s “The Badass 50: Meet the Women Who Are Changing the Worldlist, along with Michelle Obama, Ariana Grande, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Nadya is a leading speaker about The Menstrual Movement, the power of Generation Z and youth activism, and overcoming adversity (and how she turned her experiences into a platform for advocacy).

Special Recognition, Safiya Khalid

Safiya Khalid is a politician and activist from Lewiston, Maine. A graduate of Lewiston High School and the University of Southern Maine, Safiya serves as a member of both the executive committee and the state committee of the Maine Democratic Party, and as vice chair of the Lewiston Democratic Party. She is currently working for Gateway Community Services as a Community Coordinator, helping asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants integrate into the American society. Prior to her current position, she worked as a clerk for the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing in Augusta. She is the first elected Somali-American to the Lewiston City Council and is proud to be a member of the Emerge Maine Class of 2019. She is proud to serve and advocate for the people of Lewiston on the city council.

Meet our 2020 Girls* Rock! Award Recipients

Climate Activist
Anna Siegel, 13, Portland, is a youth climate activist. She was a founding member and leader of the Friends School climate action team, YELL (Youth Environmental Leaders League). The club joined with other local groups and helped organize and participate in city and state-wide rallies. Anna is a member of 350 Maine and Maine Youth for Climate Justice, as well as a representative of US Youth Climate Strikes (USYCS). As the Maine State Lead from USYCS, she organized the March 2019 climate strike and rally in Portland, which had over 800 youth in attendance, and the September 2019 global climate strike, also in Portland, with over 1,000 youth attending. Anna presented at TEDxDirigo last fall where she shared her experience of becoming a leading youth activist at 13. In addition to climate activism, Anna is passionate about art, wildlife, and birds.

Community Organizer
Lutie Brown, 19, Waterville, is blazing a new trail for girls interested in community organizing. When 75 Colby student and faculty votes were called into question following a city referendum vote, Lutie was one of three students to testify before the Voter Registration Appeals board on behalf of her peers. On the heels of that experience, Lutie campaigned to secure the Ward 3 seat on the City Charter Commission in November of 2019 and won. The road to victory was paved with vociferous opposition, but Lutie was not deterred because she understood the importance of student representation in the city’s charter reforms. In addition to her commission seat, she is a double-major sophomore, Chief of Staff of the Maine College Democrats, and the Local Engagement Chair of the Colby College Democrats.

Racial Equity Advocate
Gracia Bareti, 17, Westbrook, is a senior at Westbrook High School. She is of Congolese and Rwandan descent and is a first generation U.S. citizen. Gracia writes and speaks about her multicultural experience as a way to help other first generation children living in the U.S forge better relationships with their parents. She wants them to know they have a right to exist in both the culture to which they are born and the American culture in which they’re being raised. Gracia serves as a student representative for her public school board and is a supporter (as well as former camper) of the nonprofit, Seeds of Peace. In 2019, she attended Dirigo Girls State and Girls Nation where she was awarded Outstanding Senator in Washington D.C. She was 1 of 140 delegates worldwide to attend the International Congress of Youth Voices in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In late 2019, Gracia was a presenter at TEDxDirigo, where she gave an inspiring talk about that included her vision for “legislation that confronts an education system that is not representative of the people that utilize it, nor a world it exists within.” Gracia hopes to Major in International Relations with a possible minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.

Morgan LaRochelle, 14, Hermon, is an award-winning inventor and a health advocate. As a Type 1 Diabetic, Morgan tests her glucose daily, which can be a frustrating process given that testing strips are very sensitive and results can be skewed if the stips make contact with dirty fingers prior to use. In response to an assignment from her science teacher, Morgan developed a Blood Glucose Test Strip Dispenser that inserts the strip directly into the monitor, eliminating contamination hazards. The device won first prize at the Maine Invention Convention in March 2019. She went on to compete at the national event where she won one of three Young Visioneer awards and placed 2nd in the eighth-grade category. Morgan is currently seeking a patent for her device so  it can be scaled for wider distribution. She also uses her voice to educate her peers about the severity of type 1 diabetes. She has personally endured bullying since receiving her diagnosis and believes that sharing her experience can open doors to more compassionate conversations about the disease.

Hardy Girls Healthy Women takes girls* seriously through year-round, statewide programs that put the power in their hands to challenge a society that ignores their brilliance. We dare adult allies to join us in standing with girls.

* self-identifying girls and gender expansive folks

Hardy Spotlight: Molly!

Each month, those of us working with Hardy Girls Healthy Women want to share the talent and vision of some of our incredible staff, volunteers, students, and board members.

For our October spotlight, we were thrilled to hear from Molly Woodhouse – a member of HGHW’s Girls Advisory Board (GAB), and a board member. GAB is a program for 9 – 12 graders to work on their leadership skills, engage in social action projects, and keep the staff and the Board current on issues.
GAB’s mission: We are a group of Maine high school girls passionate about girls’ and women’s empowerment. We are inclusive of all races, classes, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientation, and abilities. We create community conversations, listen to girls and give them (and ourselves) opportunities to find their voice, support each other, create change, and embrace uniqueness.
GAB’s biggest annual accomplishment is the design and execution of all of the keynote speeches and workshops at the Girls Rock! Conferences.

We asked Molly a bunch of questions; read on to hear what she has to say!

How did you get involved with Hardy Girls?

I applied after my sophomore year in high school. I was thrilled to be involved in such an amazing organization and was thankful to have this platform to use for activism.

What program are you involved in? What is your role? Can you explain it a bit?

I am on the Girls Advisory Board, which is a group of high school girls. We put on conferences for 4th-8th grade girls and put on workshops informing them about different topics. Last year I put on a workshop on how women are perceived in the media. This year I am putting on a workshop on activism and how young girls can bring activism back to their communities. I am also on the board of directors and relay information between the two groups.

What’s a typical day like for you?

During our GAB meetings, we all chat about life and plan for our conferences. We learn about new topics by talking to different speakers. During the board meetings we discuss more about the nonprofit as a whole, and always looking for ways to improve programs.

What’s one thing you love doing as part of HGHW?

I love putting on the conferences and seeing the difference that we are making in the lives of young girls. I am constantly inspired by their eagerness to learn, but also to have a fun time doing so.

What do you wish you’d known earlier or that someone had told you when you were a younger woman?

I wish someone told me to cause a ruckus at a younger age!!

You have a free day to yourself — what do you do?

I love exploring new places and being outdoors. I would most likely drive to a mountain and hike to the top. I would love to sing and dance in the forest of unknown mountains. 

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

I love to write poetry!!

What are you happiest doing when you’re not in school or at work?

I am happiest when I am in nature with friends. I love watching the sunset from the beach and I love the feeling of accomplishment after hiking a new mountain! I also love to relax, as I have grown up, I have learned the importance of laying down under a comfy blanket and watching tv.

Favorite place in Maine?

My favorite place in Maine has to be Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth! It is so beautiful and a great place to have a picnic with friends! 


Molly Woodhouse

Molly is a junior at South Portland and it is her first year on the Girls Advisory Board. She enjoys running, babysitting, science, volunteering, participating in her school musical, and helping others. Molly believes this is an amazing program in which she can empower girls around her community and cannot wait to see where this opportunity takes her.

Five Questions with Molly

Favorite book: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: Blythe Baird
Favorite feminist anthem: Praying by Kesha
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: In school
Perfect day (in one sentence): A summer day at the beach with friends.

Kathleen Dodge

Kathleen DodgeKathleen is a feminist, activist, volunteer, thinker, and writer. She learned about Hardy Girls Healthy Women when she participated in the Maine Association of Nonprofits Emerging Leaders Program, which trains community leaders for nonprofit work and board service. She had a successful retail banking career at Camden National Bank for nearly a decade and is currently focusing her efforts on nonprofit work and activism in the Portland community. Kathleen is proud to be involved with HGHW and wishes she could have benefited from a program like it in her youth. In her free time, she can be found writing, curating perfect playlists, entertaining her friends, hiking the Portland trails and basking in the sun!

Five Questions with Katy

Favorite book: Anything by David Sedaris 
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: Too many to list! I’d throw a fabulous dinner party with all of my feminist idols, friends, family and community members so we could all be in each other’s presence, learn from one another, and have an excuse to dress up!
Favorite feminist anthem: Bloody Mother F****** A****** by Martha Wainwright. Crude title but a beautiful song. It’s about a woman coming to the realization that she exists in a world that wasn’t built with her needs in mind, and she decides to intentionally stop doing the emotional work to make others (men) comfortable and accepting of her. It stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it because of its raw honesty.
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: With any of my brilliant, beautiful, intersectional feminist friends. They keep me challenged and evolving.
Perfect day (in one sentence): Sleep in, workout, iced coffee, bright sun, good music, good friends, good conversation. 

Lisa Van Dyk

Lisa Van Dyk is the Grants Officer at Maine Medical Center, where she manages private foundation and corporate funding to the medical center and supports internal teams in developing initiatives and programs to seek external funding. She graduated from Calvin College, where she studied biology, and received her MBA from the University of Delaware. In her spare time, Lisa can most likely be found working out, exploring Portland’s incredible restaurant scene, or reading to keep up with her two bookclubs. She is excited to serve HGHW as a board member because she truly believes in nurturing the potential of all girls and young women.

Five Questions with Lisa

Favorite book: The Brothers K by David James Duncan
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: Tina Fey
Favorite feminist anthem: “Just One of the Guys” by Jenny Lewis
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: Wherever I happen to be!
Perfect day (in one sentence): Waking up on Peaks Island, going for a run along the coast, and enjoying the day on the beach with family and friends.

Gabby Rivera

Through a grant with the Maine Humanities Council we were able to invite Gabby Rivera (she/hers) to videochat into one of our GAB meetings. Here is her bio:

Gabby Rivera is a queer Latinx writer living in Oakland, CA. She is currently writing AMERICA, America Chavez’s solo series, for Marvel. America is Marvel’s first Latina lesbian superhero. Gabby’s critically acclaimed debut novel Juliet Takes a Breath was listed by Mic as one of the 25 essential books to read for women’s history month, and it was called the “dopest LGBTQA YA book ever” by Latina. Put simply by Roxane Gay, it’s “F***ing outstanding.”

Five Questions with Gabby Rivera

Favorite book: Flaming Iguanas by Erika Lopez
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: Sylvia Rivera
Favorite feminist anthem: Freedom – Various Artists (Panther Soundtrack 1996)
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: Alicia’s kitchen in Harlem
Perfect day (in one sentence): Strong coffee, a black t-shirt, and laughing so hard all I can do is wheeze.

Hebh Jamal

Hebh Jamal, 2019
Girls Rock! Awards keynote

Hebh Jamal delivered the keynote at our 2019 Girls Rock! Awards on March 22, 2019. Hebh Jamal is a muslim, Palestinian-American activist and current college student at City University of New York. In 2017, while Jamal was still in high school, the 17-year-old established herself as a leader in the fight against bigotry by organizing a New York City high school walkout. She’s also a leader of Integrate New York City, a student-run organization focusing on school segregation, and works as a youth policy fellow at New York Appleseed, a nonprofit fighting for equal access and resources in New York City schools. You can follow her on Twitter.

Five Questions with Hebh Jamal

Favorite book: Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: Angela Davis
Favorite feminist anthem: Survivor by Destiny’s Child
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: On Facebook
Perfect day (in one sentence): An intellectual conversation about contemporary issues over tea in a cafe in Istanbul 🙂