Mary Jo Podgurski

Column Mary Jo Podgurski

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski is the founder and director of the Washington Health System Teen Outreach. She responds to 68 questions from young people daily and has written 'Ask Mary Jo' since 2005.

Looking forward to S2S

March 27, 2013

The 13th annual Sister to Sister Summit of Washington County is scheduled for April 12 and 13 at Citizens Library. Part of an international series of Sister to Sister Summits, this overnight conference is sponsored locally by the Washington branches of the American Association of University Women and Business and Professional Women and Outreach Teen and Family Services, with support from Citizens Library, Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Washington Hospital Teen Outreach.

Teen facilitators have been trained to lead small groups of sixth- and seventh-grade girls in discussions about dealing with peer pressure, decision making, creating positive friendships and developing feelings of self-worth. The following statements reflect the passion and commitment these young women bring to this endeavor.

• “I would like to have the opportunity to positively influence young girls in my community. I would also like to share my experiences and learn from the other facilitators. As a facilitator, I would strive to build up those around me.” – Hayley Georgetti, Chartiers-Houston High School

• “I would like to be a facilitator because I would like to be a positive role model to young girls. It is important to me to know that I will be able to have the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of the young girls that will attend the Sister to Sister Summit.” – Michaela Gerace, Burgettstown High School

• “I would like to be Sister to Sister facilitator because of the knowledge that I have of what many of the young girls experience on a day-to-day basis. As a teen myself, I understand the many pressures, negative influences and, often times, violence that girls are exposed to in this specific age group. I would like to be a positive role model and leader to many of the girls that will be at the Sister to Sister Summit.” – Chelsea Howard, Washington High School

• “I would like to be a facilitator because I was a facilitator last year for Sister to Sister. I honestly had the most fun bonding with the students and helping them with the struggles and issues they were facing. I honestly have always had a true passion for helping others. I love bonding with people and making new friendships.” – Shayna Mikec, Washington High School

• “I would like to be a facilitator because I want to help educate younger girls with good ways to avoid peer pressure, being comfortable with body image and dating tips.” – Abby Holmes, Canon-McMillan High School.

• “I would like to be a facilitator so that younger girls can learn to cope with changes, emotions and problems they may encounter growing up.” – Kelly Luisi, Canon-McMillan High School

• “I would like to be a facilitator because I love helping people and I enjoy working with younger kids.” – Desiree Dayak, Avella High School

• “I would like to be a facilitator for many reasons. Some would be because I would like to help young girls with problems they have in today’s society. Also, I feel that talking to young girls would help them in the decisions that they will be faced with later in life. Finally, I would like to be a facilitator because young girls need others to talk to who have been through what they are going through.” – Shealyn Brown, California High School.

• “I would like to be a facilitator for three main reasons. First, I love meeting new people. I always am excited to meet other people my age, make new friends and connect with others. Second, I enjoy giving advice to those seeking it. Many of my friends often ask me for advice, and I do my best to help. It is never a burden to help others out. Third, I have always wanted to be a role model for younger girls. My sister is in eighth grade, and I love when she looks up to me as a sort of role model. As a facilitator, I could be this “older sister” to the girls. The opportunity would make me very happy.” – Katrina Fleeman, Burgettstown High School.

• “I would like to be a facilitator because I believe it is important to mentor young girls about problems they face today. I went through scenarios in middle/high school and find it easy to relate to them. I want to spread the message about being confident and proud with whom you are. I want to be able to let the girls know they can be independent and make smart, healthy decisions.” – Lauren Moore, Washington High School

• “I would like to be a facilitator because I think helping younger girls into the high school level is needed. My first year of high school was rough because I was moving to a new school where I knew no one. It was hard, and I didn’t really talk to anyone. I would like to help girls who may have some of the same issues.” – Kelsey Melone, Chartiers-Houston High School

• “I would like to be a facilitator because I as a teenager could easily give them advice from my point of view. By being an older individual, I know what went on in sixth and seventh. I know how being bullied feels, and I know how it feels to be alone. By experiencing the things I did when I was their age, I could tell them how to react or how to fix things.” – Dena Simonelli, Avella High School

• “I want to be a facilitator because I have been there. I have walked in the shoes of a girl in sixth and seventh grade trying to work through social changes and trying to balance everything with school work. I love to help and would love to simply hang out and talk with these girls while helping them out in this not-so-easy time.” – Emily Rush, Avella High School.

• “I was a facilitator last year. Overall, it was a fantastic experience. The fashion show was a great ice breaker, and all of the games were fun for both the girls and me. This was obviously planned by some smart, dedicated women. The girls loved bonding with the facilitators early in the night, and were more open during our serious chats. A negative note from last year? Only the lack of sleep, but that was well worth it.” – Elizabeth Mansfield, Canon-McMillan High School.

• “I realized when I attended S2S in seventh and eighth that my facilitators made a big impact on me and helped me. So, I would like to do that for other middle school girls, too. I’ve had many experiences that have made me be the person I am today, and many of them have made me good at working in groups with others and accepting many different people. I actually participated both years and enjoyed it a lot, which made me want to continue helping and volunteering for it. It was a lot of fun, and I felt like we were all one big family by the end. It was a great experience, and I hope to see many new girls’ faces attending this year with us.” – Cassie Clayton, Chartiers-Houston High School.

• “There are many reasons why I would like to be a facilitator for S2S. One reason is that I love working with others. Also, I like to help people with their problems and help them get through tough times. I am an easy person to get along with. An activity that I participate in that I’ve had experience with in small groups is flags. I am used to the small groups and working together with people. I have never participated in S2S before, but I am honored that I was chosen to be in it this year, and I’m sure I will have a wonderful time with new people.” – Ledaya Oakley, Chartiers-Houston High School.

• “I’ve been through so many different experiences throughout my life. I never had anyone I could talk to. I want these girls to know that there’s good, strong and independent women out there they can talk to. I participated in S2S when I was in eighth grade, and I loved meeting new people. I’m in the marching band, so I’m very good at working with others and working hard.” – Tamera Bates, Chartiers-Houston High School.



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