By: Jen Russon
For founders Elizabeth Luedemann and Lillian Murray, International Girls Day on October 11 is the perfect time to get the word out about Stronger Girls Together or SGT. When the United Nations created this international day, it was to support more opportunities for girls. SGT aims to do the same thing.
“Investing in our girls emotionally and spiritually makes for a better community,” said Murray. “When girls are healthy, educated and empowered, whole families are healthier and stronger.”
At every gathering, girls are encouraged to get to know each other through games, art projects, community service and yoga. The group has been so successful in Boca Raton, that Murray and Luedemann are bringing their girls’ community to Coral Springs.
The Coral Springs chapter will open its first six-week session at First Church on Sample Road on Tuesday, October 23.
This semester, the focus at SGT is cultivating healthy relationships. Murray and Luedemann believe girls can be empowered when they learn to strengthen their emotional and social development. They keep this the focus by starting each gathering with a kindness circle; here, the girls have a safe space to communicate and celebrate what’s going on in their daily lives.
Other weekly activities include journaling, mindful art projects and connecting with nature.
The girls have said they love serving the community, part of the mission of the group. Monthly community outreach focuses include baking for neighbors, beach clean up and blessing boxes.
“We welcome all children between the ages of 7 and 12 in the community to join us, regardless of their faith. We even have a young boy who participates in our Boca [Raton] group, and we have teens who help us with special projects and mentoring,” said Luedemann.
As they have in the past, the girls will keep journals, meditate, and do good deeds together, like bake and deliver baskets of blueberry muffins to senior communities.
“Lilly’s classes are inspiring, exciting and always include something unexpected or a wondrous learning experience. Her passion for working with children is obvious in everything she does — she wants to teach them how to embrace a healthy lifestyle,” said Luedemann.
She added that Murray is a certified yoga instructor and is also a certified family life and wellness coach. Murray has two grown sons and a two-year old granddaughter, Finley. When she met Luedemann last year, the women agreed a sense of community for our young girls seemed to be lacking in South Florida.
It wasn’t long before Luedemann left her job in marketing at the Aveda skin care company and made SGT the sole focus of her work.
Luedemann and her husband, Chuck live in Pompano Beach and have two daughters, Elliott and Kitt. Both girls are members of SGT and will be at First Church to enjoy the gathering and get to know new members.
“I have a contract with Coral Springs to offer SGT on the Spring 2019 roster of classes offered in the city gymnasium, and if there is overflow at First Church, we have the option of moving there for future gatherings,” she said.
The fall semester costs $75 and runs through December 4. Register online at Stronger Girls Together.
The Gatherings will be held on Tuesdays from 6:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. in the church’s Grace Room at 8650 West Sample Road Coral Springs.
Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.