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Shine On! Parent Workshop Series Begins Sept 25

Shine On!, a SUNY Plattsburgh student organization that aims to develop self-confidence and resiliency in young girls, will be hosting a series of three workshops this fall designed to teach parents how to do just that.

Associate Professor Colleen Lemza created the Shine On! program in 2011, and with the help of her students, she has expanded the program by creating the Raising Resilient Girls parent work-shop series. 

Starting this fall, Shine On! will host a year-long parent workshop series presented by experts in the Plattsburgh community. The workshops aim to cover a variety of topics to give parents and guardians the tools and tactics to raise strong girls.

The series will be held at the new 30 City venue on City Hall Place in downtown Plattsburgh. Refreshments will be served. Thanks to a grant from the CVPH Foundation, all workshops, running from 6 to 7:30 p.m., are free and open to the community.

The events to be held Sept. 25, Oct. 29 and Nov.18 will cover topics on body image, how to speak to your daughter about the “icky stuff” and helping your daughter choose healthy relationships.

“Raising strong kids doesn't come with an instruction manual, and the purpose of these work-shops is to learn from the experts in our community about how we can help our daughters meet the challengers they’re going to face in middle school and beyond,” Lemza said.

Lemza believes this newly implemented asset to the Shine On! program aligns with the mission of  SUNY Plattsburgh’s strategic plan of community and civic engagement by sharing expertise to make Plattsburgh a better place.

“Raising Resilient Girls is a perfect example of this,” Lemza said. “The Shine On! program is partnering with CVPH to teach parents how to raise healthy, strong young girls by using both campus and community experts.”

Plattsburgh local Christina Hampston is experienced with Shine On!, having sent her daughter to two of the conferences while attending two parent workshops as well. Hampston said she has learned about nutrition, how to talk to girls about development and sex, and how to be safe with technology.

“Many of us (parents) come from a generation where our parents didn’t talk to us about sex or body development,” Hampston said. “It’s nice to hear about the different perspectives and learn how to respond to our kids from people who take a different approach.”

Counselor Education Adjunct Lecturer Portia Allie-Turco will be speaking at the first parent workshop, “Body Image 101.” Allie-Turco has a background in mental health, where she realized this problem starts as a social issue in many societies before it becomes a mental health problem.

A major aspect that both the workshops and the Shine On! conference teach is how the media portray women. Allie-Turco thinks the reason women are so critical of each other and portray each other negatively is because of the heavy criticism the media put on the female body and mind.

“Our children need to know that we’re beautiful in all sizes, shapes and all colors — it’s not just one type, which is what’s presented in the media,” she said.

Allie-Turco, who also sits on the Shine On! community advisory panel, said these workshops give parents the tools they need to model the behavior they would like to get from their children.

“It starts at a community level, and it’s important to recognize that we as a community choose to help continue our children’s negative behavior or encourage them to change it,” Allie-Turco said.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Britt McDowell will be presenting for the “How to Raise a Gritty Girl” workshop in the spring portion of the series. McDowell was attracted to the program because of her work with mental health. She said it takes a community to raise children well, and it takes many sources to get the message of empowerment across.

“It’s important to teach kids that they are allowed to fall down and get back up. We need to teach parents how to give them support while also holding back,” McDowell said.

McDowell said that these lessons are how children realize they are strong. “These life lessons can be so invaluable when it comes to realizing their self-worth.”

“Any information we can get to help our children becomes a huge advantage to us parents,” Hampston said.

For more information or to express interest in attending, email [email protected].

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