Section: Newark Beth Israel Medical Center News

GIRLTALK #takeover Sets Hudson County Girls on a Path Toward Success


Girltalk logo Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County

Celebrities and Community Partners Create a Day of Health, Recreation, Education and Fun to Empower Female Tweens and Teens of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County

(Jersey City, NJ) More than 250 Hudson County girls, ages 8 to 16, will take steps to envision and shape a positive future for themselves when "GIRLTALK #takeover" comes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County (BGCHC)Robert T. Williams Jr. Unit in Jersey City on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

Launched in 2013 by fashion designer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Angela Simmons and real estate executive Kerri Berson Levine, GIRLTALK #takeover is an informative and interactive day of health, fitness, community and fashion programs for the female members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The program, which will travel the country to local Boys & Girls Clubhouses, provides an open forum where female Boys & Girls Clubs members are surrounded by young, successful businesswomen and role models who expose the attendees to alternative activities that are available to them within their city.

"Impressionable young girls are not receiving the right messages or being exposed to positive influences, particularly through the media. GIRLTALK #takeover fills this void by creating an entertaining event in a comfortable setting with role models and professionals delivering important messages to encourage the girls' full potential and help shape them for a healthy and creative future," said Angela Simmons.

According to a report from the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, the ages of 10 to 14 are a crucial turning point in a person's life trajectory and offer the best opportunity to intervene and set at-risk children on a path toward healthy behavior. Girls face additional challenges in overcoming stereotypes and identifying with role models whose success can inspire them. GIRLTALK #takeover is designed to directly address those challenges, providing a safe space for young women to discuss issues relating to their health and wellbeing.

Simmons and Levine are organizing the events at local Boys & Girls Clubhouses with the participation of several national corporations, vendors and community partners that provide valuable health, fitness, education and arts programs. The Jersey City program will provide health and wellness presentations from Jersey City Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, the national health sponsor of GIRLTALK #takeover; a healthy cooking demonstration by Chef Sam Talbot, a "Top Chef" finalist, in association with the Beth Garden at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children's Hospital of New Jersey, a Barnabas Health facility; and a female fitness program with Newark Yoga Movement and World Mi-Bo Soul Power Empowerment.

"Before creating GIRLTALK #takeover, Angela and I spent a day at the Boys & Girls Clubs in Newark, NJ, speaking with the girls about the issues they perceived to be impacting them and to learn more about what they love to do," said Kerri Berson Levine of The Fidelco Group. "We took that feedback and designed an experience using fashion, beauty, health, fitness, arts, music and more to expose the girls to opportunities that exist in their neighborhoods while they're having fun."

"GIRLTALK #takeover will empower girls to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens by developing a strong healthy self-concept, a strong belief in their self-worth and sense about their future. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County is proud to host such a worthwhile event," said Gary Greenberg, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County.

Along with the health and wellness presentations, the girls will be able to participate in a variety of enjoyable activities including a fashion show and hair styling, makeup and manicures, courtesy of Essie, Suzana Hallili makeup, Shawn Melvin hair styling and Sa'Rah hair styling.

Liberty Science Center, Educational Arts Team, MyMedia, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center will introduce the girls to year-round cultural and educational activities available to them in their community at little or no cost.

The entirety of GIRLTALK #takeover is the product of in-kind donations. Contributions were arranged by the program founders; with additional partnerships arranged by brand consultant, Nekeda Newell Hall.

Additional sponsors include Party City, Baked by Melissa, Hubert's Lemonade, The Fidelco Group, Martini 494 Bistro, Zing Marketing, DJ Lyve, DJ Scratch Academy, Foodirect, Aureore, African Pride, Public Identity, JA Food Service, and Benco Dental Company.

GIRLTALK #takeover provides what young girls want - exposure to beauty and fashion - with what they need – access to health information and connections to neighborhood opportunities - that will offset issues these girls may face such as poverty, violence, and teen sex. The program was created by Angela Simmons, fashion designer, philanthropist, entrepreneur and daughter of famous hip hop artist Joseph "Run" Simmons of Run-D.M.C. and Kerri Berson Levine, a real estate executive with several projects in the New York metropolitan area.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County has been in the forefront of youth development for 119 years. We are dedicated to enabling all young people – especially those who need us most – to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens of the communities that we serve.

For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( has enabled young people, especially those who need Clubs most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million young people through membership and community outreach. Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff.

Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.

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