Girl Power: How one virtual event is catering to confidence-building in young Black girls
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When Tameka Kee was in middle school, she took a class trip to Europe with her school’s drama group. The international experience changed her life. 

Today, Kee runs an Atlanta-based nonprofit that uses travel to build self-esteem within young girls. She recalled how visiting Greece and Italy opened her eyes to how big the world is. 

Keeping that memory close, Kee founded The Power of Girls in 2017 to provide others a chance to broaden their horizons, too. Her group serves middle school-aged girls by aiding their development in confidence, leadership and self- and cultural awareness. 

While an international trip usually marks the end of the curriculum for each cohort of young ladies, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restricted that treat this year. 

Instead, The Power of Girls is hosting the Girl Power Summit. Kee is expecting a substantial turnout for the four-day virtual event that will start on Thursday at 7 p.m. EST. There is no charge and you can register here

“We’re just super excited to be able to provide the information that we have to, I think we’ll have well over 400 girls,” said Kee, who has a background in and passion for community relations. 

The Girl Power Summit is sponsored by Jr. NBA and will feature an assortment of women leaders from a variety of fields, including the WNBA, medicine and entertainment. The sessions include Women in Leadership, Her Time to Shine, Her Time to Heal and a fun game night. 

Prizes will also be up for grabs for the virtual summit catered to girls between the ages of 11 and 16, although all are welcome to join the call. While The Power of Girls is dedicated to building up young girls who are primarily Black, Kee expects a diverse crowd for the summit. The variety will be of great significance to her.

“It’s not just about showing Black girls Black women, it’s also about showing white girls Black women,” she said. “You want to be able to show them, too, that there are women from different backgrounds that dominate in these different fields.” 

Kee understands the tender age and nature of middle school girls. She’s even observed that sometimes they seem to be left out, and that’s why The Power of Girls serves that particular group. 

The retreats are a great driver for parents. The space allows them to speak freely about the sensitive subjects on their minds, such as friendship. That they get to travel at an early age also helps inspire confidence, Kee’s noticed. 

A 2018 poll from Ypulse and the Confidence Code for Girls found that the confidence level for girls between 8 and 14 falls by 30 percent by time they reach high school, while boys’ confidence at 14 was 27 percent higher than girls.

“You’re gonna get a more confident girl when she is, let’s say 13-years-old and she’s travelled across the country by herself,” said Kee, who recalls a special moment when her last class observed her exchanging American currency in London. “She is not considered a leader within her peers. It gives them a step up to be able to say I’m well travelled.
“It’s very empowering.” 

The Power of Girls will welcome a new cohort in 2022, and the 2020 group consisting of 22 girls may be able to join in on the retreat since the pandemic prevented them from travelling last year.

Though the Girl Power Summit is open to all, the current class will finish out their curriculum. 

In the meantime, the upcoming virtual event provides a small taste of what The Power of Girls has to offer. 

“You start to see those changes that start when you give them opportunity,” Kee said about the organization, which initially had a heavier emphasis on travel. “I wanted to make sure we weren’t just taking girls on a trip. We are actually working with them for a year, and that to me is what I’m most proud of.”