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Community ed class teaches more than girl power

More than Pink advisor Lisa Lippold, right, used a styrofoam cup of water and a pin to demonstrate how hurtful words can drain a person’s self esteem. The sessions focus on different themes each week, from friendship and self esteem, to anti-bullying and body image.

A new program offered through Farmington Community Education is teaching there’s a little more to being a girl than just a pretty pink color.

Designed to teach girls to stand up for themselves and still respect others, the new program, called More than Pink, is on its way to becoming a regular summer offering.

Youth development coordinator Marianne Feely and youth program assistant coordinator Katie Johnson first heard about the program at a state community education conference last year. It was offered by Waconia Community Education, but Farmington’s community education reps asked if they could try it in District 192.

This year’s program was meant to be a pilot, Johnson said. Farmington High School chemical health counselor Lisa Lippold was asked to run the class, in part because of her role at the high school, but also because she is a cross country coach and the program includes a 4K run.

At first it was open to just 10 girls, but when nearly double that expressed interest, FHS Spanish teacher Amanda Schilling was brought on to help.

“We had wanted to start small and test the curriculum,” Feely said. “We have been very pleased with it.”

The 18 girls enrolled in More than Pink meet with Lippold and Schilling every Wednesday morning. Each week there is a different theme — friendship, peer pressure, anti-bullying, self-esteem, body image and so on. The sessions are broken in half, with the first half concentrating on the week’s theme. The girls do activities related to those themes.

“More than Pink sends a really positive message,” Johnson said. “I am strong, I am smart, I am bold. That’s the mission they focus on. It’s an awesome message to send to girls of this age.”

The second half of the session gives the girls the opportunity to train for the 4K run, scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 13, at the Dakota County Fairgrounds.

The race is open to the public. It will conclude this year’s pilot of More than Pink. However, Feely said the program’s success likely means it will be offered again next year. More than Pink is offered to girls in fourth and fifth grades.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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