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Workshop helps girls move past bullying to become leaders


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  • Caitlin Bohrer/Arizona Education News Service

Rhonda Orr Stop Bullying Foundation For Girls

Girls will have the opportunity to build self-confidence, character and become a leader all while helping eradicate their vulnerability to bullying in a free all-day event in Prescott.

On March 21 at the Hassayampa Inn, Rhonda Orr, founder of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls, will host Super Saturday Leadership Academy for Girls, an event to empower young women to stop being victims of bullying and instead become leaders in their community and own life.

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Rhonda Orr, founder of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls

“I believe that leadership is the answer to bullying,” Orr said .

The leadership academy for girls ages 9-12 is from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m with a graduation and fashion show open to parents and the public from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The event will be the foundation’s fourth Super Saturday Leadership Academy since the foundation’s inception in February of 2013.

The leadership academy is not just for girls that have been bullied, though. Orr said girls sign up for her sessions who want leadership skills or who have bullied others and want to change and better their attitudes and character.

Orr’s foundation is a non-profit agency providing educational mentoring and nurturing for girls aged 9-18 using its Triangle of Triumph vision – an educational and restorative journey from victim to survivor to leader, according to its website.

Orr knows first-hand about bullying and abuse from experiences as a child and even as an adult in the corporate world when she worked as an executive at cosmeceutical companies.

Through 20 years of experience as a speaker, writer and producer for instructional DVDs and confidence building programs in her efforts in the corporate and nonprofit worlds, Orr was able to start a foundation that she is truly passionate about.

“It is my mission in life to help these girls,” she said.

The upcoming leadership academy will implement the Triangle of Triumph vision while also teaching girls the Five C’s of Leadership – civility, courage, confidence, creativity and elegant carriage – and instill with them the motto “Define Yourself Before Others Do.”

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After the leadership academy, the girls take part in a fashion show.

“Too often girls will start to define themselves by who they are with and they let other people decide for them,” Orr said.  “Girls hear ‘You’re so stupid or ugly’ and they start to take it on like it is their identity.  We want to firmly ground in them that they can say I am ‘this’ and we have them pick out values that they decide are theirs.”

Through role play, quizzes and other activities that cover topics from creating healthy relationships and leadership skills to defining personal style and proper uses of makeup, girls will be engaged in a very participatory and active day of learning, Orr explained.

Participants will also go over bullying situations like the ones received from the advice column Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri…, which answers questions and gives advice about how to deal with bullying.

“If a girl really decides who she is inside and outside then what somebody says to her will bounce off and she will be less vulnerable,” Orr said.

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Sgt. Steve Rosen, owner of Kickstart Boot Camp for Women in Prescott

The leadership academy will also feature two special guests, Sgt. Steve Rosen and Judge Cele Hancock.

Rosen, a 20-year Army veteran, is the owner of Kickstart Fitness for Women.  As a personal trainer, he will help the girls gain a better understanding of fitness but also instill some of his wisdom as a motivational speaker. Orr said that his motivational skills are what she loves the most about what he can offer to the girls.

“I will provide tips and guidance on how to build self confidence and self esteem,” Rosen said in an email. “This will include talking about how fitness can play a big role in dealing with bullies.  Self confidence and self esteem are important to being a strong and effective leader.”

A big part of our program is stability, Orr said, and Cele Hancock is going to tackle that monster because we have become a society of victims not leaders.

Hancock, a Yavapai County Superior court judge and a former Los Angeles FBI special agent, said in an email that she will be discussing leadership, the challenges that young women have and how to get over those barriers.

“I cannot adequately express how important is it to support our young women as they go through the early stages of becoming strong, supportive leaders of their own,” she said.  “Without the support of organizations like Rhonda’s, I fear that our young women are left to fend for themselves in a world that values almost everything except leadership, civility and the importance of giving back to our community.”

Besides the leadership seminars, Orr also privately tutors girls, does small workshops and has recently given speeches at Yavapai County charter schools. She said she is currently trying to arrange presentations at Prescott public and private schools to spread her message and enthusiasm about preventing bullying and transforming children into leaders.

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students, according to the National Education Association.

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Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Cele Hancock. Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier

Rosen said he remembers the pain being bullied caused him in school.

“Looking back, I can see how approaching the bullying with a different mindset could have spared me some the emotional pain it caused,” Rosen said. “Sharing my story can help inspire and empower the young ladies who attend the event.”

Orr said she believes that schools can really help prevent bullying if they address and deal with the issues in the right manner and really define and explain to children what bullying is.

Orr is concentrating on working with girls right now because she says she knows how to help girls the best  and she relates well with them. She hopes in the future, though, to start programs that includes and focuses on boys as well.

Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls second leadership academy of the year will be on November 7 for 13- to 17-year-olds.

Girls interested in the March 21 need to pre-register on the foundation’s website.