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April 22, 2013

Inaugural Girl Power Gala set to be a glitzy affair

Student program to invite fellow women May 2 at Costick Center

By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Members of Girl Power pose for a photo during their end-of-the-year party last June.

FARMINGTON HILLS — Girls will be girls.

With a promotional flyer that is pink text on a pink background, complete with a pink disco ball, the first annual Girl Power Gala May 2 has made its target audience clear: girls.

Girl Power is a group that meets once per week during an after-school program at the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile.

“The whole point of Girl Power is the class is set up to have a roundtable discussion with girls to discuss the things they deal with on a daily basis,” said Cynthia Lietz, Girl Power coordinator.

The group meets every Tuesday, with seventh- and eighth-graders meeting 3-4 p.m., and fifth- and sixth-graders meeting 4-5 p.m. The group is also open to fourth-graders who will be in fifth grade this fall. Discussions range from boys, music and schools to more serious topics, like sexting, suicide, self-image and peer pressure.

“These girls aren’t made to come to my class; they chose to come to my class,” said Lietz, who also does Christian ministry work. “I don’t sugarcoat anything. What they see is what they get with me. I’ve earned a lot of trust with (them). There’s a lot of things they’ve shared with me that would blow your mind. I just keep it real and respectful. I always encourage them, first and foremost, to talk to their parents, but some don’t feel they can. Sometimes we can just ignore words when they’re said to them, but sometimes they hurt. They deal with a lot.”

The Girl Power group has been around for nearly seven years after Lietz was asked to host a six-week trial period to test it out. Since then, the group has steadily hosted 20-30 students on a regular basis — sometimes more. Meeting weekly and also embarking on the occasional field trip or outreach program on the side, the group decided it was time for something new, and the Girl Power Gala was born.

“They wanted a tea party, but glitzier,” said Kitty Ostach, youth program coordinator for the Youth and Family Services Division. “We’re happy to help them have a girls’ night.”

The event runs 6-8:30 p.m. May 2 at the Costick Center and costs $5 per person. Girls are encouraged to bring their moms, grandmas, aunts, sisters or girl friends for a night of food — courtesy of Qdoba — friendship, a video slideshow of the past seven years of Girl Power and a fashion show featuring clothing from Old Navy. Although the gala won’t feature any dancing, girls are encouraged to dress up for the fun evening. Girl Power alumni from years past are slated to return and speak with the group.

“We’re excited with whatever we get,” Ostach said, noting that a few dozen tickets have already been sold. People can purchase tickets online at https://recreg.fhgov.com or at the Costick Center. She hopes the event evokes the feeling of sisterhood among attendees. “It should be intimate, which I’m excited about.”

For more information, call the Costick Center at (248) 473-1800.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Chris Jackett at cjackett@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1110.