International Day of the Girl Turns Local Attention to Global Issues

Shannon Ferguson, Special to TC Media
International Day of the Girl Turns Local Attention to Global Issues
International Day of the Girl committee members hold up artwork designed by event participants. From left to right: Danielle MacNeil

CORNWALL, Ontario – It was an evening of girl power and positive energy on Thursday at La Citadelle Secondary School as the community came together to celebrate the International Day of the Girl.

In its fifth year, the annual event hosted girls ages 8-16 and featured 15 empowering and engaging workshops which brought attention to some of the issues that affect young women worldwide.

Committee chair Maxine LeBlanc said “This day is meant to help girls work on their self-esteem and develop their interests while giving them diverse avenues to do so”.

While their daughters attended the workshops, parents were invited to attend educational sessions lead by local professionals with information on issues affecting young girls today.

Some of the workshops available included coding and video game design, self defense, yoga, TV production, vision board creation, and Be-YOU-Tiful—which was all about embracing unique beauty and increasing body confidence.

One bilingual workshop—Pound–run by Stephanie Thibault of ‘Partir de Bon Pas”, focused on rhythmic exercise using drumsticks. Girls were able to tap into their musical side while also getting a work out.

“The physical aspect of this workshop was really important and a reason we wanted to be involved and get girls moving” said Thibault, whose daughter Danika was also participating in the event.

“I think a day like this is very important because it really empowers her to be all she can be. The world really isn’t where it needs to be but days like this really help” added Thibault.

The international event was established by the United Nations and is a global effort which brings awareness to issues facing girls and young women, including gender equality, aiming to ensure a world free of discrimination for females.

Leblanc explained one of the messages given girls is to “Do what you want to do in life and don’t let your gender stop you”.

This year’s Cornwall celebration was organized by area agencies including Maison Interlude House, SASS, Maison Baldwin House, l’Équipe Psycho-Sociale, Big Brother Big Sister of Cornwall & District, and the Boys and Girls Club of Cornwall/SDG.

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