Op-Ed: I Am Rising

In their tween and teenage years, girls become dramatically less self-assured, their confidence plummets, and feelings of insecurity dictate their everyday lives. The adolescent drive for acceptance, the way we socialize women, and the double standards we hold have compounded the negative peer pressure on girls that causes many to question their body, their intelligence, and their worth. By the age of 14, the average girl is much less confident than the average boy. However, this feeling isn’t just temporary for some women. Confidence is essential for turning thoughts and feelings into action, and when the confidence gap that opens during puberty remains during adulthood, it harms women as they enter the workforce.

Podcast: Susannah Lewis and Jazmin Maldonado of Silver Hill Hospital

This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to two people who work at Silver Hill Hospital—Jazmin Maldonado, a senior clinician in the residential outreach program, and Director of Community Relations Susannah Lewis—about a rise in behavioral health issues, including anxiety and depression, especially among girls during the pandemic. We also talk specifically about what’s been involved in training “mentors” among the staff and volunteers who run programs for LiveGirl, a locally based nonprofit organization whose founder, Sheri West, was our podcast interviewee last week. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

Podcast: LiveGirl Founder Sheri West

This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to New Canaan’s Sheri West, founder of LiveGirl, about the nonprofit organization’s efforts to address a growing mental health crisis among young people and especially girls. An important part of LiveGirl’s plan includes a new partnership with Silver Hill Hospital to help train mentors. We plan to interview Silver Hill for next week’s podcast. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

LiveGirl, Carriage Barn Open ‘She is Rising’ Art Exhibition

Two nonprofit organizations in New Canaan teamed up to organize an art exhibition celebrating women that opened Thursday. “She Is Rising,” presented by LiveGirl and the Carriage Barn Arts Center, runs through June 5 at the well-known gallery in Waveny Park. Sheri West, LiveGirl’s founder and CEO, said the exhibition reflects her organization’s work to “build confident, inclusive, leaders.”

“We’re working to close the female leadership gap, and we’re working to create a world where women can rise and take on positions of power and leadership,” West said. “She Is Rising” features artists such as Ashley Longshore, TL Duryea, and Michele Voight. The art, ranging from embroidery to paintings, makes “powerful statements,” according to Hilary Wittman, the executive director of the Carriage Barn.

Local Organizations and COVID-19: LiveGirl

For today’s Q&A with a local organization, we talk to New Canaan’s Sheri West, CEO and founder of LiveGirl. West shares with us some of the key spring and summer dates for LiveGirl, which also plans to mail more than 500 copies of its “Camp LiveGirl” activity book this summer. 

Here’s our interview. 

New Canaanite: You have a staff at LiveGirl. One of the things that we are hearing from nonprofits is that part of what is really hard right now is their revenue streams are eroding or disappearing altogether, at least for the spring. How are you all faring at LiveGirl? Sheri West: We have two full-time employees and we were fortunate to qualify for a payroll protection loan, though Bankwell, so we are very fortunate.