A summer season internship has morphed right into a method for 4 native teenage women to deal with their considerations about feminine illustration in politics. GirlsLeadKC is their group, and it’s already held its first occasion.
Annie Fingersh, Elise Belcher, Becca Speier and Kripa Gauba all met this summer season as interns within the social change program Startland, a neighborhood non-profit that helps entrepreneurs. Startland grouped them collectively due to their mutual concern that women aren’t fascinated about going into politics as a result of they don’t see sufficient individuals within the area who appear like them.
The internship helped the women construct abilities for designing and launching applications, networking with contacts and fascinated about the wants of their viewers. These got here into play with their remaining venture.
“We knew that we needed to primarily concentrate on excessive school-aged women as our audience. We knew, as excessive school-aged women ourselves, not quite a lot of faculties provided the forms of studying we needed to have, having to do with pursuing a profession in politics and authorities,” stated Annie, 16, who lives in Prairie Village.
That translated into their first occasion, a workshop that includes eight ladies of assorted professions, together with a number of in political positions resembling metropolis council. Along with this panel, the 4 women in cost taught periods on confidence, public talking and management. Roughly 35 women attended the occasion, held on the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.
Along with the political representatives, “we had ladies who weren’t members of presidency however who we thought have been highly effective ladies who we thought may encourage younger ladies,” Annie stated.
To place collectively the occasion with no price range, they reached out to numerous native companies for donations, a course of Annie known as one in every of their largest challenges. As a result of they don’t have non-profit standing themselves, they operated beneath the umbrella of Startland for accepting donations.
The opposite roadblock was the timeline. The ladies began planning the Aug. 10 occasion on the finish of June.
To counter their inexperience at planning an occasion like this, the women labored with Veronica Alvidrez, internship supervisor and facilitator of social change internship at Startland, to get recommendation on the way to deal with numerous conditions.
“It’s so rewarding to see them being networking consultants, understanding the way to market themselves. It’s cool to see the arrogance they acquire via the eight weeks they spend with us,” Alvidrez stated. “I feel they have been tremendous action-driven.
“To me, that’s what stood them aside. Whereas different college students have been nonetheless constructing a bit of little bit of confidence or nonetheless making an attempt to tweak their idea, these younger girls have been (saying), ‘We’re dedicated. We’re doing this.’”
Their outreach paid off, with attendees from Olathe to Spring Hill to Kansas Metropolis. Annie stated they hope to do one other occasion over the following college 12 months, presumably with a concentrate on ladies of colour or LGBTQ points. Lincoln College Preparatory Academy has already reached out to see about partnering for an occasion.
Put up-event surveys point out that the panel and its accompanying query and reply session was the preferred a part of the occasion.
“Highschool women, the issues they persistently wanted have been inspiration and feminine function fashions,” Annie stated.
The expertise wasn’t nearly offering sources to others for the 4 women in cost but additionally seeing what they may do once they labored collectively.
“I realized that I actually preferred working with different younger ladies who’ve comparable pursuits as me. I by no means met ladies so passionate and decided as I’m,” Annie stated.