Still Feeling the Power of WOW!

newsletter_banner_11-4“I’ve waited a whole year for Generation WOW. So excited for today!” -Cierra, Stanton College Preparatory High School, Class of 2019

We received this Twitter message just minutes before the Lazzara Performance Hall doors opened to welcome the largest class of mentors and mentees for Generation WOW 2016. It pretty much summed up how all of us were feeling at that very moment as well. Excitement. Anticipation. We could hardly contain our emotions, as “WOWSDOM” was about to take over the day. That’s the magic that happens when the WOW of our teen girls is combined with the Wisdom of our Generation W women. It is life affirming!

Speakers came from all over the country to share their knowledge and inspiration with the over 350 high school girls from 3 area counties and 140 mentors, who volunteered to teach these young women about connections and the power of mentoring. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the day:

“Someone else’s reality is not your reality.” -Sasha Simmons, speaker

“You have to not be afraid to make a mistake.” -Rick Singer, speaker

“Be loyal to yourself and you will discover your true self.” -Sabeen Perwaiz, panelist

“Be courageous and step outside of your own skin.” -Courtney Abraham, panelist

“No one can stop you but you.” -Taj McWilliams-Franklin, speaker

“I learned a lot about what it means to believe in yourself and strive to reach your goals. Many areas really spoke to me.” -15 year old mentee 

“I feel I have been given a great opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. Coming here has made me very open minded.” -16 year old mentee 

“I really enjoyed all the speakers! I love how y’all talked about college too. I really enjoyed being able to sit and learn.” -14 year old mentee

“Being that it was my first time, I really enjoyed it and I am definitely taking a lot from here.”  -15 year old mentee 

“This was an amazing experience for me. It was my first time being here. I love mentoring other young women who want to be successful.” -21 year old mentor

We all still have the little girl being inside us and the ability to access her on this day is especially poignant. As I sat and listened and danced throughout the afternoon, I was taken as to just how important it is for not only our young women to be reminded of their self worth, their value, their abilities to shine and achieve; it is so important for all of us to be reminded of our inner super powers! That is the power of WOW—the focus on the positive and the possible and how connecting with others allows us to learn the lessons that if we learn together, live together, we can then lead together!  

We cannot thank our mentors, speakers and partners enough, including Florida Blue, United Way of Northeast Florida, Adecco Group North America, Regency Centers, Natural Life, PEPSICO, Maggiano’s Little Italy, City Year, Duval County Public Schools, and The Remmer Family Foundation, whose scholarship grant makes attendance possible. If you have a moment to see some of the photos, you can experience first hand some of the magic of the day (Click here). And, of course, we cannot thank YOU enough—whether you helped behind-the-scenes, participated as a mentor, attended as a student or just wished us well from afar, your positive energy moved throughout the University of North Florida campus and spread out into the world. 

To all our Generation WOW girls, remember, the world is yours…. WHY NOT?