By Angel Mai
Nov. 8, 2017
Lincoln nonprofit GIRLPowR is hosting its fourth annual “Around The World” fundraising gala at the Rococo Theatre tomorrow from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Open to those 18 and older, individual tickets cost $40 and all proceeds will go directly to GIRLPowR and the girls they serve in Lincoln and Nicaragua.
Executive Director Julie Reager founded the organization in September 2013 to support girls’ school attendance and success in the rural villages of Kumaica Sur and Kumaica Norte in Nicaragua. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2000 to2003, working with communities that were afflicted by grinding poverty, extremely limited health care, few employment opportunities and a social structure that, generally, does not value girls and women, especially regarding their education and economic independence. Consequently, girls and women are often marginalized to child rearing and domestic labor, and- — more often than not — teen pregnancy and domestic violence.
Reager wanted to change the environment she witnessed so she developed GIRLPowR, which provides a safe, structured and fun environment where girls participate in group and individual activities that focus on individual empowerment, career exploration, civic engagement, healthy relationships, combatting bullying and social aggression, cultural exchange, engaging women leaders, building individual strengths and leadership. She brought GIRLPowR programming to Lincoln through a summer camp for girls at the Air Park Rec Center in 2015.
The nonprofit specifically addresses the lack of girls who are: encouraged to become strong, independent women;educated to recognize and rise about theoften negative expectations of others; inspired to actively engage in civic life and leadership; and empowered to plan for success, dream their own dreams, and relentlessly pursue them throughout their life, especially in the face of socio-economic challenges, discrimination, discouragement and restrictive gender norms.
With a mission to empower girls to achieve educational success and follow their dreams, GIRLPowR’s domestic education and empowerment programs help over 100 pre-adolescent and adolescent girls locally. The organization collaborates with Lincoln Public Schools, Community Learning Centers, Lincoln Parks and Recreation, Air Park Rec Center and El Centro de Las Americas. A new girls group focused on girls and refugee and immigrant families is starting in partnership with the Asian Community and Cultural Center, beginning in December.
All GIRLPowR programs are free of charge. The organization coordinates and delivers strengths-based after-school and supper empowerment programming for approximately 220 girls annually in Lincoln and rural Nicaragua.
GIRLPowR is fully operated through the efforts of volunteers which make up the dedicated Fundraising Committee that worked with the Executive Director to plan and coordinate the event.. The organization itself is governed by an active Board of Directors that meet monthly.
ReagerThe Executive Director has high hopes for the event, expecting a full house of about 200 guests.
“At Around the World with GIRLPowR guests can expect a relaxed, fun and social environment in the beautiful Rococo Theatre with 2 Cultural Dance Performances by local groups,” she said.explained Reager.
The fundraiser is more than a show, full of different opportunities for guests to move freely between. There will be four musical acts that are popular to the Lincoln scene, including Gerardo Meza and Mesonjixx. Reager will give an informational presentation about GIRLPowR that comes with a short film about the girls that the organization serves. Henna artists from India will be adorning guests free of charge and m. Motivational speaker Aaron Davis will be the emcee for the night, as well as the auctioneer for the live auction items.
A silent auction will also take place, run with online bidding on an assortment of unique and highly sought-after items, services and experiences. There will be a Cash Bar and cComplimentary cCulinary dDelights have been generously donated by Venue Restaurant & Lounge, BLUE Sushi Sake Grill, DISH, Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill, AmuManu Ramen Bar, Premier Catering, Misty’s Steakhouse & Lounge, The Eatery, Ajora Falls, La Paz, Le Quartier Bakery, Sysco, Yes Chef! and, Farine + Four.
GIRLPowR holds multiple fundraisers each year, including a. They host an annual Back to School drive in August to collect backpacks and school supplies. They have also partnered with other businesses who organize their own fundraisers to support GIRLPowR. For example, Moran Liqupr Works’’s Tour de Brew LNK raised $2000 for the organization at the end of the summer. GIRLPowR’sThe Fundraising Committee is discussing plans to offer two other fundraiser events, one family-friendly event and another one that is a bit smaller than “Around the World” which is their largest annual fundraiser. Their goal with “Around the World” is to raise $20,000 as well as spread more awareness about GIRLPowR and the issues unique to girls both locally and in the developing world, specifically in the communities they serve in rural Nicaragua.
“We welcome and encourage schools, churches, organizations and businesses to organize fundraisers and item drives to support GIRLPowR,” saidshared Reager.
She added that she is happy to discuss different ideas or needs, and she may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will also be interviewed by KZUM’s Shannon Claire during her “X-Rated: Women in Music” program on Thursday from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
For more on Around the World with GIRLPowR, visit the Faceboook event page.
Angel Mai is an editorial intern with KZUM.