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Media Advisory: Local Middle School Girls To Participate in Dec. 3 U.Va. Young Women Leaders Program Fall Finale

November 22, 2011 — The "Fall Finale" event of the University of Virginia Young Women Leaders Program will take place Dec. 3, from 3 to 4 p.m., in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom.

Media are invited to cover the event, which will include presentations by YWLP participants, who come from area middle schools. The eighth-graders will recognize the program's 15th anniversary.

The event will also honor the program's sister site in Cameroon. The group will share a video and song from their sisters in Cameroon, where a YWLP program was founded in 2009 by Caroline Berinyuy, a U.Va. Curry School of Education doctoral student.

The YWLP is an after-school mentoring program that matches middle-school girls with college women, with the goal of empowering them to be leaders. The program provides "one-on-one mentoring with targeted group activities for a year to address issues related to girls' sense of self, scholastic achievement, body image, social aggression and healthy decision-making," said YWLP director Edith "Winx" Lawrence, a professor of clinical and school psychology at Curry.

The program has served more than 1,000 middle-school girls and trained more than 1,000 college women mentors since its inception in 1997. The mentees come from diverse socio-economic, racial and academic backgrounds.

"We're excited about the way the program's developed over the past 15 years," said Lawrence, who founded the program with former U.Va. Women's Center faculty member Kimberley Roberts.

Currently, 12 different groups at five different Charlottesville and Albemarle County schools participate in YWLP. The curriculum has also become a national model, with programs at nine colleges and universities nationwide and two international sister sites, one in Mozambique and the other in Cameroon.

REPORTERS: Edith "Winx" Lawrence can be reached at 434-924-0789 (office), 434-293-3708 (home) and wlawrence@virginia.edu. According to Lawrence, YWLP participants have signed release forms and may be interviewed and photographed.

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