By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
POTTSTOWN >> Students banged on drums, walked blindly during team exercises and got excited about fitness as part of an all-girl health and wellness summit.
The YWCA Tri-County Area held the educational and empowering event for the second year in a row on Saturday. About 100 girls in grades 4 through 12 from school districts in the tri-county area and Philadelphia completed several healthy workshops during the five-hour event. The summit was held at the Montgomery County Community College campus in Pottstown.
A “Livin’ in the Rhythm” workshop with Mark Seaman of Reading allowed the girls to positively let their emotions out through drum therapy. The students used drums, maracas and other sound makers to make music for a therapeutic experience. Kelly Grosser, youth program manager at the local YWCA, said she couldn’t help but smile when she heard a young woman say “all my anger’s gone” after joining in the jam session.
“That’s the highlight of my day,” Grosser said.
She said to see a room full of high school aged girls smiling and having fun was truly a pleasure. Grosser said many of the older students were part of a United Way program called “Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow.” The leadership initiative aims to empower under-served young women and girls.
The girls also learned how to be brave and the importance of self-esteem through a workshop with Kristie Piacine of Kind Living Designs. The workshop encouraged students to raise their hand and voice so others see them. How to successfully be part of a team was the focus of another workshop. The girls were divided into teams then blindfolded for several exercises they had to complete by working together. They learned effective and non-effective ways of communicating.
The students were taught the importance of financial health with a workshop on savvy spending. Rosemary Hoffman, a volunteer at the summit, said the workshop really helped the girls learn the importance of keeping a budget so they’re able to cover all their expenses. Hoffman is from the Soroptimist International of Pottstown, Inc. which has a mission similar to the YWCA. The organization gives scholarships to young women and girls in the area as well as donates money toward Girls on the Run programs.
“We try to improve the life of women and girls,” Hoffman said.
The girls also learned about physical health with workshops on nutrition and Fitness. Aaron Christ of Fresh Start Fitness taught the students some basics about exercise before leading them in a routine. The girls learned that children should exercise for 60 minutes every day.
For more about the YWCA Tri-County Area, visit the website www.ywcatricountyarea.org.