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Athena Girls Launches Website, Workshops to Empower Area Girls

NORTHAMPTON — The Pioneer Valley just got a fresh dose of girl power with the March launch of Athena Girls, a website and workshop series focused on issues of female self-empowerment for girls ages 8 to 16. The program’s vision is to help girls realize their own power — like that of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom — to create positive change and impact.

Athena Girls addresses a recognized need for local programming and resources dedicated to helping girls develop strong identities and self-confidence. This region is rife with professionals ready to teach important skills and insights to young women. Knowing that early intervention is vital to helping girls activate strong self-esteem and personal power, Athena Girls has created a centralized platform from which these experts can help them achieve their potential.

The cornerstone of Athena Girls’ programming is its workshop series, which begins on Saturday, April 8 with “Self-Defense for Girls Ages 9-12.” Taught by instructors from IMPACT Boston, students will learn how to de-escalate potentially threatening situations; how to respond to peer pressure, bullying, and strangers; essential self-protection skills; and empowerment and self-confidence. Each student will get an opportunity to practice physical and verbal defense skills during the three-hour session led by two instructors, one of whom teaches physical and verbal skills, while the other takes on the role of the assailant or person who can’t be trusted.

Other springtime workshops include two classes on Saturday, May 6 that will get girls actively involved in STEM learning. “Girl Game Makers” and “Make a Mobile App” will introduce young women to programming and coding through fun activities using accessible, age-friendly software. And on Sunday, May 21, local singer-songwriter Nerissa Nields will show girls 9-16 years old how to put their thoughts and feelings to music in her workshop, “Girl Power Chords: Songwriting for Social Change.”

Athena Girls is based at Click Workspace at 9½ Market St. in downtown Northampton, and is led by Lisa Papademetriou, Dalila Gomes, and Click’s director, Alison Klejna.

“Social pressure and gender stereotypes can undermine young women’s confidence. As the mother of a strong, fierce girl, I want to help her keep hold of the energy she has now,” Papademetriou said. “And Northampton has the female role models, leaders, and instructors to make that happen.”

Complete workshop information is available at www.athenagirls.com. The website also features community events, local resources, and curated news stories, blog posts, and videos, all focused on enriching the lives of young women.

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