Festival para chicas líderes
Saturday, June 9
University of Austin, School of Social Work Bldg.
1925 San Jacinto, Austin
9 AM - 5:30 PM
Free Event!

This June, the Austin community hosted the first Girl Empowerment Festival, a gathering for girls and young women from sixth grade to age 22, and their sisters, moms, aunts and cousins. This event addressed issues such as body image, dating violence and sexual assault victim rights, media literacy, teen pregnancy prevention, and cultural identity: celebrating differences, through workshops, art, poetry, and song.

El día sábado, 9 de junio, la comunidad de Austin presentó su primer Festival para Chicas Líderes, una reunión para jovencitas, edades de 14 a 22 años. Algunos de los temas incluidos en esta conferencia: el autoestima de las jóvenes, los derechos de las víctimas de la violencia entre novios y de la violencia sexual, la prevención del embarazo de adolescentes, identificación cultural (identidad), celebrando nuestras diferencias. Habrá otros talleres, exhibiciones de arte, poesía y música.


"Break the Silence: Teen Dating Violence"
Voices Against Violence Project

Join the Voices Against Violence peer theatre group in an interactive performance exploring the dynamics of relationship violence among teenagers. This one-hour performance will facilitate discussion not only about what an abusive relationship looks like, but also about how friends and family can talk about this difficult issue.

"Beauty and the Girl in the Mirror"
Alexis Rodriguez & Mandy Rousch, P.O.W.E.R. (Powerful Outrageous Women Expecting Respect) Project

This workshop focuses on the affects that media depictions have on women and girls, especially those from minority groups. This workshop empowers participants to challenge these unrealistic images and begin to appreciate the real beauty that they possess.

"Latinas: Unidas y Orgullosas (United and Proud)"
Rose Luna, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

This interactive workshop will reinforce the importance of embracing your culture and having pride in your family, community, and nationality. We will address the common bonds all Latinas share. We will celebrate the beauty of culture while defining and challenging internal practices and longstanding traditions that may foster violence and oppression for Latinas. We will also discover the power culture holds for each and every one of us.

"Know Your Rights/Conoce Tus Derechos" (Bilingual workshop)
Bronwyn Blake, Texas Advocacy Project: Teen Justice Initiative

Do you know your legal rights and what legal action you can take if you are in an abusive situation? Learn about your legal rights at this bilingual workshop conducted by the Teen Justice Initiative. The workshop's group discussions and activities will offer information on the differences between assault, harassment, and sexual assault. Information on how you can obtain a protective order and how to deal with a sexual harassment situation will also be available. Finally, the workshop will include resources on your right to shelter and information on emancipation if you or someone you know is in a bad family situation. Come learn about your legal rights and empower yourself!

"Straight Shooting: The Truth about Alcohol and how it affects You" (Bilingual workshop)
Marissa Vasquez & Tyler Temple, Phoenix House

This bilingual workshop will first teach young women the effects of alcohol. We will then discuss how society and the alcohol industry pressure young people to drink. Through the use of alcohol ads, we will learn about the different messages sent to young women and men and how they affect us. Finally, the connection between alcohol and dating and domestic violence will be discussed to empower women to recognize different aspects of this important social issue.

"No Kidding: Straight Talk from Teen Parents" (an Austin ISD approved program)
Katie White & Jenifer De Atley

The No Kidding: Straight Talk from Teen Parents workshop is a fun, interactive presentation given by actual teen parents who want you to know what they wish they had know about raising a child before they became parents- like stinky diapers and losing friends and money. You will also learn about paternity and child support stuff, why a committed relationship is important, and how much it all costs, all while listening to first hand stories from the teen parents, participating in activities, asking questions, and having fun. We hope to see you there!

"Yoga for Young Women"
Krista DelGallo, Texas Council on Family Violence

This workshop will introduce participants to the physical practice of yoga, including basic relaxation and breathing techniques. Participants will learn postures to assist in self confidence, concentration, communication and calm. (Reminder: You will need clothes that stretch for this session!!)

"I’m Worth It!: Healthy Dating Relationships Now and in the Future/Yo lo Valgo! Relaciones Sanas Ahorita y en el Futuro"
Tracy Alvarez-Valdez & Clarissa Moore, SafePlace

This workshop focuses on dating violence and sexual assault risk reduction during the teen/young adult dating years and in their future, including during pregnancy. The workshop aims to empower participants with the knowledge that they can expect and deserve healthy dating relationships now and in the future!

"How To Talk To Youth About Sexuality" (Parent workshop)
Maria Elena Rodríguez-Gorham, Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department

Researchers consistently report the importance of parents being the educators of their children about sexuality. This workshop will help parents to learn to talk and build a better relationship while educating their child in sexuality information. This is an opportunity to ask questions about sexuality you haven't had before and not feel embarrassed.

"Awareness 101! STD and Pregnancy Prevention"
Kristen Turpin, Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department

This workshop will be an interactive discussion about common sexually transmitted diseases and the risks involved with teen pregnancy. Participants will engage themselves in a variety of activities with opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation. Participation is encouraged!

"Wired Safety"
Alicia Rascon & Laura Donnelly, Latinitas

Are you tried of annoying emails or harassing comments on myspace from cyberbullies? Find out how you can stay plugged in and get tips on how to safely navigate the information superhighway. Get wired and discover how to make your web presence using the latest online software.

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T: What does it really mean to me?/Las canciones y el respeto" (Bilingual workshop)
Laura Zárate, Founding Executive Director, Arte Sana

Can songs hurt us? Is it really a matter of freedom of speech or are there some songs that just go too far when it comes to what they say about women? These are just some of the questions we will answer during this workshop as we listen to a variety of songs from Rap to Reggeaton, Tejano to Rock. In this interactive workshop you will get to rate song lyrics for both negative and positive messages. What is your favorite song and why?

"El Acoso Sexual en el Trabajo y el Acecho:¿Qué podemos hacer al respeto?" (en español)
Arely Sulvarán-Achenbach, Bilingual Victim Advocate Trainer, Arte Sana (art heals)

This workshop focuses on sexual harassment in the work place and stalking. It will offer information to help dispel cultural assumptions regarding the supposed possessive nature of “love” and offer clear distinctions between flirting and sexual harassment. Through the presentation of information and interactive activities, participants will learn how to identify sexual harassment in the work place and stalking, how it affects our lives and what we can do about it.

"Medicine Bag Magic: A Simple Tool for Healing and Strength"
Julie Speir, LifeWorks

This is a hands-on art workshop in which the participants each make a medicine bag in which they place personal items that represent growth, safety, power, healing or whatever is appropriate to each individual. All materials will be provided, including some stones, shells and other items participants can choose to place inside their medicine bags.

"Espejito, espejito, ¿quién es la más hermosa?: Debunking Imposed Definitions of Beauty"
Claudia Cervantes Nickel and Maribel A. Garza, The University of Texas at Austin

What it beauty? This interactive workshop will explore beauty and self-image through a fun format that includes participating in a game show and listening to and writing poetry at a beatnik cafe. Participants will write empowerment haiku and create a frame for their digital photos. No prior experience in poetry writing is necessary; we'll explore and
write our haiku together and we'll be taking digital pics. This will be an open and fun space to pull out the beauty in all of us!

"Redefining Manhood: que es ser un hombre?"
César J. Alvarado, A Call to Men-Austin

Participants will name the root causes of men’s violence against women and others in and around Austin. We will nurture a conversation around how “Well Meaning Men” are socialized to be part of the problem: Having Less Value in Girls-Women, Treating
Girls-Women as Property, and Objectifying Girls-Women. This workshop will focus on making sure girls-women know about victim blaming. Moreover, we will make sure to name whose responsibility it is to prevent and end men’s violence against women and others.

Presenter Bios

César J. Alvarado lives in Austin, Tejas, with his fiancé, Iesha, and his daughter, Kennedy. He is a Community Organizer specializing in Grassroots Community Organizing, Primary Prevention, the Intersectionality of Oppressions, and enhancing the delivery of culturally appropriate services. César’s extensive experience has been guided by national leaders in the movement to end Men’s Violence Against Women and Others.

The Voices Against Violence Program (VAV) is part of the Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Our program provides referrals, counseling, and emergency financial assistance to survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking in the UT community. The VAV peer theatre group is a nationally acclaimed group of students and alumni that uses interactive theatre to facilitate discussions on campus, in Austin, and around the country about the dynamics of interpersonal violence and creating change. Back to Workshops

Alexis Rodriguez is an original member of the POWER Girls, she has been passionate about educating youth since her 8th grade year when she created her own group at Fulmore Middle School, Students Taking Action. That group developed their own interactive workshops that they presented to neighboring elementary schools that would feed into Fulmore Middle School. The presentation topics included sexual harassment prevention, diversity awareness, and homophobia & sexism.

Mandy Rousch is an original member of the POWER Girls, Mandy received the 2006 YWCA Young Women of Achievement Award for her ongoing volunteerism including her leadership of the POWER Girls and education through sharing her dating violence survivor story. Mandy had recently received the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse Award for her educational contributions throughout the community.

Rose Luna graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors in Business Administration. Her background in business combined with her knowledge and expertise
in sexual assault issues allows a comprehensive approach to projects. Rose helped to create and currently administers the statewide certificate program that promotes cultural competency among rape crisis centers staff, the first of its kind in the nation among sexual assault coalitions. Additionally, she co-chairs the state Diversity Task Force. Rose has also developed informational materials on cyber-crimes and human trafficking. She co-authored a workplace policy to address the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault in the workplace. She currently is part of the Texas team comprised of members from the Texas Municipal Police Association, the Office of the Attorney General and TAASA, selected by the University of North Carolina to attend the PREVENT Institute, a project whose mission is “preventing violence through education, networking, and technical assistance” and whose focus is primary prevention. In her current position Rose focuses on developing materials and conducts trainings on effective service delivery and communication strategies for reaching underserved
communities/populations as well as continued development of relevant material.

The Women’s Advocacy Project, Inc. is a statewide, nonprofit, legal organization with a mission to provide free legal advice, expand legal education, and promote access to justice for Texas victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The Teen Justice Initiative, a program within Women’s Advocacy Project, helps survivors of teen dating violence through: outreach and legal education for parents, students, schools, and their communities; free and confidential legal advice to young people in Texas; and legal representation to minors seeking protective orders in Travis County.

Marissa Vasquez is a Prevention Specialist for Phoenix House, a non-profit substance abuse organization. She has enjoyed teaching, for the past two years, drug and alcohol prevention classes to middle school students in and around the Austin area. Previous to Phoenix House, she was employed by the City of Austin, Parks and Recreation Department, where she was a Teen Coordinator at recreation center. Marissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Mexican-American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Tyler Temple has been a Prevention Specialist with Phoenix House since her arrival in Austin last September. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Loyola University New Orleans. Since her departure from New Orleans, she has worked with young people through the non-profit sector in North Carolina and in Washington State. She enjoys teaching LifeSkills to 6th - 8th graders as part of the Phoenix House Prevention team and is excited to extend this program to a mixed-age group through this workshop.

Katie White, Program Specialist, was a peer educator in the program for the before being promoted. She is a former teen parent, who is now pursuing her nursing degree with Austin Community College. Back to Workshops

Jenifer De Atley is the Program Coordinator with over 8 years experience working with youth in pregnancy prevention, education, and therapeutic interventions. She also facilitates a comprehensive service learning/sexuality program for Reagan high school girls with the Ashera Project.

Krista DelGallo has been working within the domestic violence and sexual assault movements for over twelve years and practicing yoga for the last ten years. Currently, she is the Policy Coordinator at the Texas Council on Family Violence as well as a yoga teacher in training. Krista has a four year old daughter, Nadine, and a wonderfully open group of friends and colleagues with whom she shares the benefits of yoga for women working towards social change.

Tracy Alvarez-Valdez, LMSW School-Based Services Counselor, began at SafePlace in the fall of 2005. As a school-based counselor she provides Expect Respect group and individual counseling to elementary, middle, and high school students who have experienced abuse and violence. Tracy has over three years experience working with youth in a school setting. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin where she earned a Master of Science in Social Work. Back to Workshops

Clarissa Moore, M.A., serves as the Training Specialist for the Community Education Department at SafePlace in Austin, Texas. Ms. Moore works to increase knowledge about family violence and sexual assault/abuse and prevent future violence by providing presentations and trainings to various community-based groups and professional organizations. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin and her master’s degree in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University.

Maria Elena Rodríguez-Gorham was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She attended and graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S.W in Social Work. She has been married 35 years and as a result she has traveled and lived in different parts of the country and 2 ½ years in Okinawa, Japan. She and her husband have two grown children in their 20s. No grandchildren yet!

Kristen Turpin is currently employed as Public Health Educator II with the City of Austin. Having received a Masters Degree in Social Work from San Diego State University, Kristen enjoys interacting with youth and working on projects which encourage youth development. Back to Workshops

Alicia Rascon was born in Jalisco, Mexico and was raised in El Paso, Texas. Upon graduating high school, Alicia entered the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a degree in Journalism with a minor in Mexican American studies. Alicia has been the director of communications at CASA of Travis County and currently is the assistant development director at the Austin Children's Museum. She is the co-founder of Latinitas, a nonprofit focused on cultivating the next generation of Latina media makers through empowering media enrichment programs.

Laura Donnelly became an account executive for Ruder Finn Public Relations in their book publicity subsidiary upon graduating college in New Jersey. She continued to work in public relations for smaller firms in New York City, focusing mostly on book and non-profit promotion, until moving to Austin in 2000 to enroll in journalism graduate school. There, she co-founded Latinitas Magazine, a bilingual online magazine made for and by Latina youth. Back to Workshops

Laura Zárate is a Latina victim advocate and trainer from Texas with over twenty-three years of experience in violence prevention. She has developed various violence prevention campaigns nationally and in Latin America including, a survivor art project, a statewide Green Ribbon Campaign to address sexual harassment among students, and a song writers’ competition for anti-violence songs for children. She has trained victim advocates on girl empowerment through song and is Founding Executive Director of Arte Sana (art heals), recognized in 2004, by the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, for its “outstanding leadership and commitment to the Healthy Border 2010.”

Arely Sulvarán-Achenbach is a Latina victim advocate and Arte Sana’s Bilingual Victim Advocate Trainer. In the last four years, she has reached hundreds of immigrant men and women in Austin, TX through trainings and workshops that she has offered and which include “job readiness” courses for women, workshops on the “labor rights of immigrant workers”, immigrant workers “leadership” courses, and trainings on “sexual harassment in the work place, stalking, intimate partner violence and child sexual abuse.”

Julie Speir is a licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been practicing therapy at LifeWorks since 2000. She coordinates the Universal Child Abuse Prevention program for LifeWorks. She works with people of all ages, with all types of challenges, and provides therapy from a strengths-based approach: individuals possess all the resources they need to succeed, and sometimes need help identifying and accessing them. She utilizes a wide-variety of theories and strategies in her practice and her specialty is trauma recovery and she incorporates art and experiential techniques into every aspect of therapy with her clients.

Claudia Cervantes Nickel holds a master’s degree as an Instructional Specialist and bachelor’s degree in Bilingual Education, both from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her experience with Latina youth comes from her own background as a Mexican immigrant, as well as ten years of experience as an educator working with Latino and immigrant families and students in the Juarez-El Paso area and Central Nebraska. She is currently a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin working in the Cultural Studies in Education program. Her work and research have focused on bilingual/dual language education, critical pedagogy, Latino family literacy, immigrant studies, issues of teacher attrition, and the dynamics of race, gender and language in the education system. Back to Workshops

Maribel A. Garza holds a master's degree in Information Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor's degree in Academic Studies and Bilingual Education from Sam Houston State University. Her experience with Latina youth comes from her own background as Chicana growing up in the suburbs of Houston and working in the same neighborhoods as a tutor and bilingual teacher. She also has experience teaching in Austin and Kyle, as well as experience as a bilingual librarian in Pflugerville. She is currently a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin working in the Cultural Studies in Education program. Her work and research have been in the broad areas of information literacy, health and nutrition education of bilingual students, gender identity and gender role formation issues, as well as parent education programs.

Lisa Lopez is a senior at Texas State University-San Marcos and will graduate in August 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sociology. Lisa completed a 300-hour internship with the Educational Safety Program (ESP), a program of the Hays-Caldwell Women's Center, in fall 2006 and was hired as a Sexual Assault Prevention Educator in January 2007.

Renee Perez has worked for the Hays-Caldwell Women's Center since she began her internship with the Educational Safety Program (ESP) in 2001. She has worked with youth on issues regarding sexual harassment, healthy relationships and acquaintance
rape through groups and presentations in various settings including: schools, teen parenting programs, and juvenile probation and detention centers. She is currently working as a sexual assault counselor with adults and adolescent girls who have experienced sexual assault and/or abuse.

Bronwyn Blake, UT Law '05, is the Director of the Teen Justice Initiative, a pilot program that advocates for teen victims of dating violence. The Teen Justice Initiative provides education, outreach, and free legal services to survivors of teen dating violence and is the only program of its kind in Texas. The program collaborates with shelters, schools, and other groups to increase awareness of teen legal rights among young people, parents, schools, and our communities; and provides free and confidential legal representation to minors seeking protective orders. The project was funded by the University of Texas
School of Law which awarded Blake the first UT Law Faculty Fellowship in Public Interest Law from the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law. Ms. Blake has been featured on America's Most Wanted and Court TV as an expert on this issue.

Elizabeth Crecente is currently in her second year of her Master's Program at UT Austin. She is an Organizational Communication scholar with a focus of healthcare communication. She plans to obtain her Ph.D in social health; her focus being teen dating violence.

Ms. Crecente grew up in New Mexico and has lived in Austin for almost 14 years. She was a single parent of an only child until February 2006, when her daughter Jennifer Crecente, was murdered as a result of teen dating violence.

She founded an organization, Jennifer's Hope, in honor of her daughter. The organization's goals are to bring awareness to these important issues, but moreover,
help find a way to prevent teen dating violence. The organization hopes to achieve this through many avenues including speaking engagements, fundraisers, teen events, and much more. Currently Jennifer's Hope is collaborating with existing organizations such as SafePlace and the Women's Advocacy Center to achieve these goals.

Girl Empowerment Festival Organizing Committee: Arte Sana (art heals), Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, Girl Scouts-Lone Star Council, Latinitas, LifeWorks, SafePlace, Texas Advocacy Project, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

Partial funding for this event is made possible via Arte Sana’s Latina Victim Outreach Project which is supported through grant number WF-06-V30-18372-01, awarded by the Governor's Criminal Justice Division (CJD) and the WF-Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Fund.

Arte Sana's Latina Victim Outreach Project is aimed at reducing the risk of sexual assault and domestic violence among Spanish-speaking communities in Texas.

Partial funding for this event is made possible via Arte Sana’s Latina Victim Outreach Project which is supported through grant number WF-06-V30-18372-01, awarded by the Governor's Criminal Justice Division (CJD) and the WF-Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Fund.

Arte Sana would like to recognize and thank the following sponsors:

  • Central Market

  • Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services

  • The University of Texas School of Social Work

  • Pizza Patron


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