The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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May 21, 2024

Northwood hosts second annual MCPS Girls summit

The+summit+aimed+to+educate+participants+about+the+link+between+social+media+and+mental+health+by+discussing+topics+related+to+healthy+relationships%2C+social+media+usage%2C+self-esteem%2C+depression%2C+anxiety%2C+healthy+eating+and+body+image.+
Olivia Hansel
The summit aimed to educate participants about the link between social media and mental health by discussing topics related to healthy relationships, social media usage, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, healthy eating and body image.

On March 9, Northwood High School hosted over 1,000 girls at the second annual MCPS Girls’ Summit. The summit focused on discussing health care, self-care and dating violence, and it included a panel discussion led by Fox 5 DC reporter Ayesha Khan.   

The summit aimed to educate participants about the link between social media and mental health by discussing topics related to healthy relationships, social media usage, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, healthy eating and body image. Each conversation was split into two sessions, one for students and the other for parents. The event included activities like Zumba, art therapy, journaling workshops, spin bikes and health screenings. All students who attended could earn four SSL hours.

Khan began the event with a panel discussion and Q&A, followed by a girl’s empowerment fashion show sponsored by White House Black Market stylist Amanda Mendez.

Kira Hawkins, a Senior National Account Executive at Daybreak Health, helped organize the event. Hawkins believes the turnout at the summit exceeded expectations, and showed how important these types of events are to the community.

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“When women come together, even with the men here who are allies, there can be so much connection and collaboration and just so much that’s powerful,” Hawkins said. “I really feel like from the beginning to even right now in this room you see that.”

Sterling Wilmer, the winner of the Miss Montgomery County Pageant, attended the event to connect with the community. Wilmer was impressed by the resources available at the summit, and feels it’s important for young women to see the different career fields and powerful confident women in their professions.

“I think the exposure to so many essential conversations like mental health, wellness [and] social media training is really integral in development,” Wilmer said. “I wish I had something like this when I grew up.”

Students Against Drugs member Grace Chi attended the event to spread the message of creating a drug-free society to help girls around the county.

“This event is really important because it allows different people to be aware of a lot of amazing things that women do in our society,” Chi said. “It also gives us the opportunity to spread our organization as well as many other organizations present at the event.”

The event incorporated a resource fair in the high school cafeteria with dozens of tables lined up for the attendees to visit and learn about the organizations and resources supporting women. MCPS Trauma Services explained how they help survivors of crime in Montgomery County, and the Department of Health and Human Services provided pamphlets on suicide prevention. Representatives from Daybreak Health emphasized the importance of mental health and highlighted the impacts of social media, while employees from Community Bridges, a support center, discussed their upcoming career summit for girls.

Daybreak Health Clinic Director Lauren Passoff believes the summit was a meaningful way to spread love around the county.  

“It’s a great opportunity to remind ourselves to celebrate each other, celebrate women and remember that we are all working on this together and that we are all special and unique in our own ways,” Passoff said.

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