Three hundred 6-8th grade girls from the District, Maryland and Virginia spent a sunny Saturday inside Girls Rock, a free conference designed for emerging young leaders. Members of Xi Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority of Washington, D.C. sponsored the program.

They welcomed participants to Walker Jones Education Campus at 1125 New Jersey Avenue in Northwest Washington, DC with a hot breakfast and a pink and green goodie bags. Then the AKA’s with pink fluffy pom poms in hand rose to their feet to begin the day with a pep rally. The young girls followed with chants of “Girls Rock, Girls Rock” filling the room and setting the tone for the day. There were surprises to keep the youngsters energized, including an appearance by popular rapper and television personality Free, formerly of BET’s 106th and Park who delivered her own pep talk for the pre teens.

They traveled the building to workshops designed to address self esteem, conflict resolution, fitness and personal relationships. Still Standing was one of the most engaging of the sessions that addressed sexual health. Pretty Girls Swag encompassed a personal presentation and social networking. Some Girls Rock attendees came looking to eagerly earn their next badge of honor as Girl Scouts.

Others were brought at the urging of their school counselors who wanted them to learn important life lessons not offered during the school day.

Chapter President Sabrina Williams said “Offering these young girls leadership skills on their day off from school takes them a step further to a better future. We’re all about service to all mankind.” Parents and school leaders who escorted the girls to the conference said there should be more empowerment programs such as Girls Rock for the city’s youth. Last year, Xi Zeta Omega sponsored a similar event for boys only and attracted more than 200 youth to Washington, DC from as far as North Carolina.


Molette Green

Special to the AFRO