MEDIA ADVISORY: U.Va. Young Women Leaders Program To Host Erika James for Annual Celebration Feb. 27

February 25, 2013

The Young Women Leaders Program – a collaboration between the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and the U.Va. Women’s Center to mentor local middle-school girls – will hold its annual luncheon Wednesday at noon in Alumni Hall. Media are invited to attend.

The event will include a keynote address by Erika James, professor and senior associate dean at U.Va.’s Darden School of Business. A leading expert on women in corporate leadership, James’ research focuses on crisis leadership and workplace diversity. Her diversity research addresses gender and racial inequities in the workplace, as well as firm responses to allegations of discrimination.

The Young Women’s Leadership Program, directed by Edith “Winx” Lawrence, professor and clinical psychologist at the Curry School, and Jennifer Merritt, director of the diversity and advocacy program at the U.Va. Women’s Center, pairs seventh- and eighth-grade girls from the Charlottesville and Albemarle areas with female U.Va. student-mentors. YWLP empowers middle school girls to be leaders by combining 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.

YWLP, established in 1997, has served more than 1,000 middle school girls and trained more than 1,000 college women mentors.

“The Young Women Leaders Program has been preparing middle school girls to become leaders in their schools and communities for 16 years,” said Margaret Ann Bollmeier, executive director of the Curry School Foundation, which is sponsoring the luncheon. “Girls who may not have considered themselves leaders before joining the mentor program realize their potential through academics, peer leadership and community service.

“It’s a tremendous program with a strong track record, and we have the research to show that it has a huge impact on the lives of the girls and their families as well as the college women who mentor them.”

Over the past 10 years, effective dissemination of the YWLP curriculum has led to new programs at nine additional colleges and universities nationwide and in Mozambique and Cameroon.

The luncheon will celebrate YWLP’s women leaders and mentors and the program’s successes.

The event is open to the public. To register, click here. Contact Kathryn Ware (information above) to interview mentors and/or middle-schoolers.

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