PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Girls ages six to 18 picked up some valuable life lessons Thursday night at the Police Athletic League Positive Image Youth summit in West Philadelphia.
The theme of the summit was women’s empowerment, something 17-year-old Shakiya Roberts feels any young female should strive for.
She says events like this go a long way in achieving that.
“It helps build girls’ confidence and not worry about what other people say about them and have their own image,” she says.
Shakiya was joined by around 200 girls from PAL centers all throughout Philadelphia. 13-year-old Anasia Prado was there as well. Her hope?
“Just to show girls they’re beautiful, that they don’t have to change and just bring a bunch of girls together so we can bond and communicate,” she says.
The event began with open discussion in smaller groups. Topics ranged from what it means to do something “like a girl” and reasons some women hold themselves back from reaching their goals.
“Some girls don’t really know what they can and can’t do,” adds 13-year-old Bailey Hood. “I want them to be able to know they can do whatever they want, be whoever they want to be, and do what they want to do when they grow up.”
Next, the girls got to hear from a handful of female leaders in the community.
“That have a lot to say that can empower our young ladies to strive for more and empower themselves,” says PAL commanding officer Evelyn Cintron.
Cintron says empowerment isn’t just the theme of the event, it’s the goal.
“That’s the idea, that when they go back to their centers they become role models themselves to the younger girls that are coming through the PAL centers and be leaders in their communities,” she says.
Cintron says if these girls believe in themselves, the “sky’s the limit as far as all the things they would like to achieve in life.”