This year’s 2014 (Em)Power Breakfast was inspiring and successful. On October 15, more than 600 guests came together to praise the 2,200 girls served by The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS) in New York City. The breakfast had four honorees to represent the confidence and determination each TYWLS student strives to mirror. These honorees included Idina Menzel, Dina Powell, Anna Quindlen and Andrew Farkas.
The Young Women’s Leadership Network was created to encourage students to use education to end the cycle of poverty. The network created The Young Women’s Leadership Schools to give at-risk students the educational tools they need to succeed. The schools are privately supported for sixth grade through twelfth grade. They are designed for girls who will be the first in their family to attend college. The TYWLS education model was constructed from intensive research into girls’ education and the array of challenges faced by students who come from families with low incomes. The organization opened in 1996 with a school in East Harlem. Today, there are five TYWLS schools in New York.
The honorees gave advice and insight to the students, as well as to the guests. The speeches included personal experiences, famous quotes and even emphasized the importance of making mistakes. Each honoree received a necklace by a gifted student from one of The Young Women’s Leadership Network Schools.
“I hope there’s one of those necklaces in that bag for me,” said honoree Andrew Farkas sarcastically.
The Young Women’s Leadership Network also has a program called CollegeBound Initiative. The program places full-time college guidance experts in public schools to work with students beginning in the sixth grade.