'It makes you feel strong:' Unique conference aims to empower teen girls

Hadas Kuznits
April 06, 2019 - 2:42 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A first of its kind conference for teen girls created by a teen girl was held Saturday at Delaware County Community College. 

Sixteen-year-old Julia Kasper knew she wanted to do something after her friend was sexually assaulted.

“There are plenty of young women in high school who get sexually harassed, who get raped," Kasper said, "but there are also a lot who get bullied, that are under stress, that are having trouble finding what college they want to go to, and we really do need something to bring all those girls together and bring them the information that they need.”

Girls Spark
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So she gathered her friends, and together they created Girls Spark.

“Girls Spark is a one-day teen conference that focuses on social issues,”

 she explained.

Her mother Laura helped the girls get the idea off the ground.

“They asked about things for de-stressing, they asked about self defense, they asked about building character, they asked about the sexuality piece, they asked about the mental health and the anxiety and depression," Laura said, "and then the adult steering committee went out to find the speakers.”

They also found sponsorships making this conference free to attend. About eight months later, 150 teenage girls participated.

Girls Spark
Hadas Kuznits | KYW Newsradio

Tianti Good was among the attendees.

“I like to meet new friends," Good said. "There are a lot of girls here that I get to interact with.”

So was Celia Russell.

“It makes you feel strong," Russell said, "like you’re all part of a really big group that wants to do the same thing.”

Sex therapist Erin Lee Kelly was one of the session facilitators.

“The message is that sex is not a dirty word," Kelly said, "and to be empowered within yourself is to understand your own sexuality.”

Participant Lily Durant says being a part of this conference felt great.

“It’s just so cool to feel like you’re part of something bigger than just like a school or a club or something,” Durant said.