The girls' civic leadership program, Ms President US, held its third monthly session on Friday, November 17th at the Ridgefield Library with a focus on state issues. Aptly named, Women and Girls Making Things Happen in Connecticut, the session featured a lively multi-generational panel comprised of State Senators Toni Boucher and Joan Hartley; Miss Connecticut Teen, Ananya Kachru; and the current Connecticut Kid Governor, Jessica Brocksom.
Liz Fleuette, founder of Ms President US, led with an overview of Connecticut state government and noted that women occupy fewer than 28% of seats in the state legislature, which is only slightly better than the 19% of women who occupy seats in the US Congress.
Kicking off the session was Communications Expert, Amanda Bergen, who led the girls in an activity designed to help them feel more comfortable speaking in public. Ms Bergen attended the first sessions of the program and noticed, "As I listened to the girls speak and ask questions, I was struck by the weak voices." So, she offered to provide some fun exercises to help the girls feel more comfortable speaking up. It was a big hit among all the participants as they enjoyed greeting each other with enthusiastic handshakes.
The session concluded with the participants creating their own "Dream Board," an activity led by Ananya Kachru which she describes as "combining goal setting with crafts, helping each girl describe her own unique talents". The girls used magazine images, photos, stickers, and their own artwork to depict their aspirations for their future.
Brenda McKinley, Director of Ridgefield Library, is on the Advisory Committee of the program and says: "The Ridgefield Library is thrilled to partnering with Ms. President US. Public libraries have always been a hallmark of our democracy and encouraging the next generation toward civic engagement is critical to our future."