In this week’s nonprofit spotlight we take a look at a truly inspiring and life changing organization, StrongHER. This organization, founded in February of 2019 by twin sisters Alicia and Daria Capone, focuses on something that so many in our communities struggle with; empowering girls and young women. Through after-school workshops StrongHER empowers these girls to have the confidence, resilience and tenacity to achieve their goals, as well as manage stress and overcome obstacles, so that they are able to live their most fulfilled lives. How incredible is that? I know that personally this is something I wish for every young woman in my life to have access to.
I caught up with Alicia and Daria to find out a little bit more about who StrongHER is, what drives them to help these young women, and how we as a community can help keep this program running and growing. Check it out below!
BMM: What does your nonprofit do ?
SH: In after-school workshops, the strongHER lesson plan aims to teach and develop self-empowerment skills. Through interactive lecture and activity, we promote strength in both body and mind and encourage girls to practice these skills outside of the classroom. The curriculum was designed to instill mental toughness, self-confidence and build supportive communities.
BMM: What is the mission of your nonprofit?
SH: StrongHER is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to empowering young women with the confidence and resiliency to achieve their self-defined goals, while managing stress and life’s inevitable obstacles.
BMM: What is your vision for your non profit?
SH: We envision a world where every girl is confident in the fact that no matter what sort of obstacles or challenges she faces, not only will she persevere, but she will come out stronger on the other side.
BMM: Why did you start your non profit?
SH: Growing up is hard! Especially today, where we live in a society that is so focused on social media. Now, we do realize that social media can be awesome and used for really great things – it connects people, allows us to express ourselves, businesses use it for branding and marketing, and it can spread lots of good. We try to do this by posting tips, tricks, and encouraging messages on our page (@strongherorg) and totally support social media in this realm!
But on the other hand, it creates a society where we obsess over images and likes, what other people are doing, etc. We’re far too often comparing ourselves to others and become less and less satisfied with who we are and what we’re doing, and this can become overwhelming and detrimental to physical and mental health. Many of us lived through these challenges to a certain degree as adolescents; social media was really just starting with MySpace when we were in middle school. Soon after came Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. And we all witness it today, affecting our sisters, cousins, relatives, friends, etc. The messages the media imposes start to impact girls as young as 11 years old. We had seen it firsthand and knew we needed to help somehow.
Through our own life experiences, we learned a number of stress-management, self-confidence, and mindfulness skills that we found helpful when presented with a challenge or difficult life situation. We realized that not only is it critical that young women learn and develop these skills early on to overcome the anxiety and the unrealistic messages that the media inflicts on us, but it is also incredibly important to have friends and/or a support system that uses and encourages us to use these skills too.
BMM: What is your personal connection to the nonprofit?
SH: Co-Founder, see below for more of a story behind why we started or even check out the website “about the founders” section
BMM: Why is this cause important to you?
SH: I think we already knew how much a program like ours was needed, which is why we started it of course, but every single time we carry out these workshops, we’re reminded and reaffirmed that this is so necessary and so impactful. So many girls out there are dealing with lots of the same types of challenges, but many are afraid to talk about them or simply don’t know how to address them. It’s very eye opening to learn that girls starting at age 11 are struggling with anxiety, depression, negative body image, etc. It has been so fulfilling to work alongside these girls, educating them on simple yet effective tools that can help them through their daily struggles and stresses. The tools and skills that we teach in our workshops – you don’t learn in school, you learn these throughout life – and that’s what is so great about our workshops. It’s like a shortcut to having these wonderful tools. Being able to provide these girls with the knowledge/experience we have and doing our best to be positive role models in their lives – it’s all so rewarding. We hope to continue to grow the program and to learn and grow ourselves along the way!
BMM: Does your nonprofit have a signature event / events ?
SH: We provide customized workshops to girls in the community. Our students work through an active curriculum that explains in a step-by-step guide on how to develop a positive mindset and self confidence . The ever-evolving curriculum is customizable to the audience and can be catered appropriately. We currently offer three different workshops; SHO Original: Self Empowerment Workshop, Monthly Meet Ups: StrongHER Skill Series, StrongHER Day- full day workshop. We work with many different after-school programs and sport teams across MA. We have partnerships with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston where we perform our monthly meetup skill series and with the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA where we do our Day long workshop.
BMM: What are some events that have been held to raise money for your nonprofit?
SH: We have hosted a few workout and brunch fundraisers with an organization special to us, Miss Pink. It’s so much fun collaborating with an organization that also celebrates women’s strength and inner beauty! We look forward to more collaborations with Miss Pink.
Our biggest event this year was at the Prudential Center for their December 31 nights of light event. On the night of December 11th, the Prudential Tower shined pink to show support for StrongHER. Part of the annual 31 Nights of Light, this lighting will raise awareness for the organization and celebrate StrongHER’s impact.
Supporters gathered at 5:00 p.m. at the Prudential’s Center Court to “flip the switch” and celebrate the strength of young women across New England. The event featured a table with educational material about the organization, a musical performance by Morgan Dzicek, raffle items to benefit StrongHER and a meet and greet with Patriots Cheerleaders, Jonet Nichelle Miss RI USA and Miss MA USA Kelly O’Grady.
We look forward to hosting more fundraising events to continue to spread awareness and make an impact in the community.
BMM: What kind of support is your non profit looking for? (donations / volunteers, etc.)
SH: All of the above! We’re always looking for volunteers to help out with our workshops and make an impact in their communities. We will be a part of Prudential’s Volunteer expo- date postponed due to coronavirus.
We’re always looking for donations to help support our organization’s mission!
BMM: Where / what do proceeds go towards ?
SH: Proceeds directly go back into the community to help fund our workshops for young girls!
BMM: Are there any special accomplishments you would like to acknowledge?
SH: In a year we’ve already made such an impact in our community. From successful fundraisers to our workshops and even guest speaking at an event,t we’ve made an impact on so many people!
BMM: How has your nonprofit helped so far?
SH: Our Impact:
“We loved having you at our studio. The girls have a lot of internal struggles. It was nice to have you both come in to work with them through some of it. Thank you so much, we were so lucky to have you here!” – Owner of Lorraine Spada School of Dance
“Thank you so much, I’ve been much happier in life doing things you recommended to me. It’s useful so thank you!” –SHO participant, 7th Grader
“I had so much fun! My favorite part was the meditation. It really relaxed me and help clear my head.” –Anonymous SHO participant, age 13
“I enjoyed this so much! I think we all needed to hear what you had to say.” –Anonymous SHO participant, age 15
“Highly recommend StrongHer! They did a great job engaging the girls yesterday! My girl who never does public speaking, spoke in front of a group of strangers! Proud Mom moment. 5 stars! Hope to see more workshops with them in the future!
BMM: How can people get involved?
SH: If you head over to our website we list all the ways someone/ a company can get involved. Whether it’s volunteering, donating, letting us rent a space for a fundraiser/event. There are so many ways to collaborate and impact the community!
BMM: What are your social media handles / points of contact for people who want to get involved?
SH: Website: www.stronghernow.org