Women empowered to dream big

Hadley Montgomery

Executive Staff

On Friday, April 7, women from the Franklin County CORE program visited Sewanee for a day of dreaming big. CORE, which stands for ‘Connecting Others Respecting Each Other’, originates from the program started by Nora Viñas called DIVAS, ‘Dreamer, Independent, Valuable, Accomplished, Strong’. CORE combines DIVAS and the women’s empowerment luncheon for a way to empower women in surrounding high schools. The program occurs weekly at Franklin County High School, Grundy County High School, and South Pittsburg High School.

CORE provides a time for groups of high school women to meet weekly with female leaders from Sewanee to talk about women’s empowerment. Female students from Sewanee’s campus lead small groups of women from each high school through women’s empowerment workshops based on the Respect Institute curriculum.

For the fourth year, the DIVAS mingle event occurred on Sewanee’s campus. The first year of the gathering happened with freshmen women in high school. Now, those freshmen women are seniors. This is the first year the program encompasses women from all four years of high school. 15 women from Franklin County and South Pittsburg high schools came to Sewanee and eight mentors from the program led the mingle.

According to Franklin County site leader Addie Tyler (C’18), the mingle “gives the opportunity for girls in different groups and schools to get together to share their learning process as they become more empowered women.”

This Friday, the theme was for the women to dream big. The group, including women from Franklin County and South Pittsburg high schools, talked about setting a personal mantra. This mantra differed for each woman but was something to help them through the difficulties of life and lead them to their goals.

The leaders provided a mantra development workshop for the women to work through what they value about themselves. The mantra is a way for these women to constantly remind themselves of all the things they love about themselves. After picking a mantra, the women “made pillowcases that remind us to dream big and remind us of our mantra and what inspires us,” said Tyler.

The CORE program integrates women’s empowerment into the lives of young women in these three high schools and continues encouraging these women to dream big no matter what.