Park City women empowering students at Ecker Hill at a young age

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Sixth- and seventh-grade girls at Ecker Hill Middle School are becoming empowered at a young age to prepare for their future careers.

The Women’s Giving Fund Mentoring Program, made possible by EpicPromise grants from Vail Resorts, created the Power Lunch Program at Ecker Hill to introduce girls to a variety of career options in STEM areas.

Lauren Vitulli coordinates the Women’s Giving Fund mentoring program for the Park City Community Foundation. Vitulli asks members of the Women’s Giving Fund to speak to students about what it takes to be successful. “These women talk about their careers while weaving in life’s lessons,” she said. “The members not only donate their money, they also donate their time.”

The girls attend the Power Lunch during their lunch break at Ecker Hill. “We get about 180-200 girls each time,” she said.

Now in its third year, the first Power Lunch this school year is Oct. 4 and will feature Tomilee Tilley Gill, founder and president of Executives Unlimited Inc. She will speak on the qualities it does and doesn’t take for this generation to be a leaders. Vitulli said “I think the kids will be surprised by her insights!” She will also speak to the young men at the school Oct. 18.

Previous speakers have talked to the girls about courage, determination, organizational skills, and how they started their company. “They help instill self-esteem and confidence in these girls at a very critical times in their lives,” Vitulli said. “The best thing about this program is to see the girls’ faces light up when they connect with the speakers message”.

Following each lecture, the girls are asked to complete a comment card. Some of their responses include: “I love Power Lunch because it teaches girls they can be someone.” “I can do anything.” “I learned that focusing on your career is important.”

Free and open to the public

The mentoring program also partners with the Park City Film Series to offer films that show socially impactful documentaries that focus on important issues affecting the lives of youth.  On Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m., the series is offering a free screening of “She Started It,” a one-hour documentary featuring five women tech entrepreneurs. It is the first film to show the behind the scenes of running a tech start-up as a young woman. The film will be followed by a panel lead by Leslie Thatcher with local tech entrepreneurs and then an interactive showcase with local entrepreneurs. The film is appropriate and impactful for all ages and genders.

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