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Fredonia Enactus creates new team dedicated to female empowerment
Monday, May 08, 2017

Fredonia’s Enactus chapter has combined two of its student teams to create Future HER, a team with the goal to empower young females to become successful, confident leaders through skill building and career exploration.

The decision to consolidate NEXT, which was focused on Girl Scouts, and STEAM, a partnership with Chautauqua Striders, was made in early September. Both teams have similar goals of women empowerment through Girl Scouting and working on STEAM skills. The united effort was expected to increase the number of students working toward their common goal, while reducing the communication barrier between the two separate teams.

“Combining two teams to make Future HER (Higher Reaching, Equality and Responsibility) allows the division to have more people working on different projects while simultaneously growing a relationship with our partners,” said Rachel Painter, Enactus chief operating officer.

Future HER has upheld its partnership with Chautauqua Striders by actively participating in the “Strides 4 STEAM” program. Enactus members work with middle school girls to motivate them to strengthen their science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics education. They also develop their public speaking skills and confidence in professionalism and learn about entrepreneurship.

Participating schools include Fredonia, Dunkirk, Brocton, Westfield, Silver Creek and Forestville. The program was kicked off with Future HER members and middle school girls attending the Mini Maker Faire at Fredonia in October. The project is supported by grant funding from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, the Education Coalition, and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, along with the leadership of Michele Starwalt, north director for Striders.

Future HER is also continuing to work with Girl Scouts of Western New York by organizing events to help refine members’ skills in finance and entrepreneurship and motivate them to consider college as a viable option in the future. Enactus members have already begun working with Donna Banach’s Girl Scout troop in Dunkirk on badges in advocacy and discovering how their voice can make a change in something they believe in.

During the spring semester, Future HER will help Girl Scouts with their annual cookie sales, and hopefully increase sales through marketing efforts on the Fredonia campus. The Girl Scout Future HER team is also preparing for its signature event, Ingredients for Success, in which troops from Western New York come to campus to learn about financial literacy, selling cookies and college readiness.
Working collaboratively to lead Future HER, Mary Kate Petz and Emily Schepisi recognize the excitement from students who are happy to work together on girl empowerment. There were also other positives that came as a surprise to Enactus.

“Something that we didn’t expect was our huge spike in recruitment for Future HER,” said Ms. Schepisi, vice president of Future HER. “We increased our numbers this fall by about 20 members. The new name has attracted many new, active students, both male and female, that are dedicated to positively impacting the lives of these young women.”

To discover more about Future HER, Fredonia Enactus and their impact on the Fredonia/Dunkirk community, or to express interest in joining Fredonia Enactus, email Dr. Sue McNamara.

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