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Never a dull moment.

Waterbury community learns more about The State of Girls

June 9, 2014

Engaged members of the Waterbury community attended the third State of Girls Speaker Series event on June 4, at Naugatuck Valley Community College.

The Speaker Series, hosted by Girl Scouts of Connecticut and generously sponsored by First Niagara Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable foundation funded by First Niagara Bank, focused on a groundbreaking report recently released by the Girl Scout Research Institute titled “The State of Girls: Unfinished Business.” Those in attendance heard about the research and engaged in a conversation about challenges facing girls today and community solutions to support girls.

“It’s my hope that those in attendance continue the conversation regarding the state of girls,” said Mary Barneby, CEO, Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “We want to educate as many members of the community as possible to alert them to the facts: girls today still need our help and support to help them thrive and succeed and build their courage, confidence, and character. Girl Scouts is one solution, but we need the collective community to join together to ensure a happy, healthy future for our girls.”

Emcee Kristen Jacoby, President and Chief Professional Officer of the United Way of Greater Waterbury and moderator Paula Van Ness, President & CEO of Connecticut Community Foundation facilitated the conversation.

Panelists included Doug Barile, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Christine Barry, Project Engineer, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company (Girl Scout Alumna); Anne Marie Cullinan, Chief Academic Officer, Waterbury Public Schools; Calida N. Jones, Program Director, Bravo Waterbury!

Each panelist provided a unique perspective about the state of girls. Topics included girls’ educational success, broadening their career aspirations in STEM, and helping them face unique stressors.

“It’s important for us to recognize the strengths in our young ladies and to push them into extracurricular activities, into sports, and challenge them,” said Anne Marie Cullinan. “We have moved to counseling our eighth graders who are coming into our high schools to look at STEM careers…and to counsel them that they can do it. How many times have we heard – its math and science, girls can’t do that. That’s not a strength for them. Why? What proof do you have that it’s not a strength? I think that’s our goal as educators – to broaden the horizons for our students, particularly our girls, and tell them that they can [succeed] in careers that may have not been traditional women careers.”

The next Speaker Series panels will be held in the fall on September 10 at Fairfield University and October 1 at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“First Niagara is proud to sponsor this important event and Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s mission to support initiatives that promote education, confidence, and character in young women,” said Joy Rogers, First Niagara Business Banking Relationship Manager. “The State of Girls Speaker Series presents a unique opportunity to highlight the challenges facing young women in our country.”

About First Niagara Foundation
First Niagara Foundation is the not-for-profit charitable foundation, funded by First Niagara Financial Group, a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 420 branches, $38 billion in assets, $27 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,800 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Founded in 1998, First Niagara Foundation is committed to supporting organizations in the communities in which we live and work with specific focus on youth and education, community development and neighborhood revitalization. In 2013 the Foundation contributed more than $9.0 million in charitable grants.

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