Weekend fundraiser meant to empower girls

A fundraiser on Saturday at the Open Space for Arts & Community will raise funds to send girls to empowerment camps this summer.

The event, called Power Up!, is organized by seventh-grade humanities teacher and camp leader Patty Gregorich and her high school-age daughter Sequoia. Patty Gregorich is offering two girls’ empowerment camps this summer, one on Vashon and the other at the Flying Horseshoe Ranch in Cle Elum.

The evening will include a panel discussion, music and a silent auction, Gregorich said, and is intended to be a time for girls and women to gather, celebrate and be inspired by island girls. Also, members of the high school group Girls to Girls, which raises money to fund educational opportunities for girls in Africa, will attend and speak about their efforts. And Emmy Graham will share her work with Teen Talking Circles.

Musicians performing at the event include Sarah Christine, Whitney Silkett, Camille (Coldeen) Reeves, Maijiah Sanson Frey and Alix Clarke, along with women from the island’s Unitarian community.

The panel discussion will include both girls and women, with girls sharing how they would like to be supported, encouraged and celebrated by the women in their lives, and women from the community sharing their wisdom. The adult panelists will include Emma Amiad, a real estate agent and activist; Jeremy Edmonds, a Vashon track coach; Shauna Ahern, the author of “The Gluten-Free Girl”; Emily Vogt, a nutritionist and whole foods chef, and Rain Freeman Sheehan, who was active in the Vashon Wildnerness Program as a youth and now works at Vashon Community Care.

Gregorich said seeds of the idea to host such a gathering — a fundraiser but intended to be a night of empowerment for girls itself — were planted when a group of women she is involved with noted that on the island, the Journeymen have formed to support boys, but nothing similar exists to support girls.

Gregorich also said that as an educator, she often sees students benefit from enriching experiences, but many of those activities are often out of reach for those who need them the most.

“We want all girls who want to attend our empowerment camps to be able to do so and not have to miss out due to financial reasons,” she said.

The door’s open will open at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 19; the event will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Open Space for Arts & Community.

For more information about the event and the summer camps Gregorich offers, see empowervashongirls.com. Tickets, at brownpapertickets.com, are $25 for adults, $10 for girls, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

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