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After being inspired by an article about FLL in The Burlington County Times, I attended a FLL meeting in Mount Laurel and my excitement continued to grow. As a middle school teacher, I had already started a small school-based group for girls, but I felt as if the monthly workshop approach would reach more of the girls in our school and provide an extended period of time to meet and discuss. I am incredibly lucky that my administrators were supportive of my ideas and they were excited to see where it would take us. Having access to the school provided a free space for me to hold the meeting. After doing some reading and research on leadership skills, I combined that with my understanding of middle school students and began to plan out our initial evening meeting. My original group of girls helped fine-tune the ideas as I planned. Again, I was lucky to have the support of my several of my colleagues, as they volunteered to help me at the workshop. Then, I advertised over the morning announcements and my principal sent out a mass e-mail to announce it to parents. At first, I was worried that no one would want to attend, as it was on a Friday night. However, the number of interested girls quickly exceeded my expectations and by the RSVP deadline, 57 girls in grades 6-8 had signed up. My administrators organized a school-wide jeans day and teachers paid $5 to wear jeans in order to fund the event (pizza, drinks, paper products) and a local pizza place agreed to give us a discount for the event (Thank you, Sfizios). This way, the girls could attend for free and parents would not feel rushed to get dinner on the table. The first workshop had 100% attendance! We focused on redefining the idea of leadership so that the girls understood that they could be a leader in small ways every single day. We also presented facts and statistics to illustrate why a girls-only leadership workshop was necessary. After discussing the concept and importance of building confidence, the girls began our I AM project using the positive trait handout and art supplies provided. Ultimately, they were laminated and girls were encouraged to put the final product on a mirror that they use every day so that they were reminded of how strong and capable they were each and every day. The girls participated in conversations with respect and enthusiasm throughout the entire night. There are no words to describe the feeling I had after the meeting!Afterwards, I received such positive feedback from the students and from the parents. It was clear that this is something that is needed in our community. Each girl had filled out a post-it note explaining what they hoped to get out of the meetings, and the responses were so thoughtful. Many girls stated that they wanted to learn how to be comfortable with themselves (mentally, physically, and socially), how to disagree with others in a better way, how to handle rumors and conflicts with friends, and how to handle stress and anxiety. That feedback will help to drive the focus of each workshop. Our next meeting is already scheduled (although it is only advertised to the girls that originally attended, other girls can sign up at any time) and I cannot wait to continue on with this journey!