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Hardy Girls Healthy Women Getting Their Message Out 

A Waterville non-profit that’s dedicated to the health and well being of young girls has the spent the last two days getting their message out to the rest of the country.At Hardy Girls Healthy Women, they’ve been working to help young girls in Central Maine for years.Now they’re trying to spread their message of helping young girls by developing their critical thinking skills through media literacy and also supporting girls activism. “We think girls can actually create a lot of the change that’s needed in the world. So a lot of the programs we do support and empower them to be that change,” said Emily Brostek from Hardy Girls Healthy Women.Their work has drawn interest from people and organizations all over the world. This week at Colby College in Waterville, 22 people who work with kids for a living, representing 10 states, took part in their 2nd annual Summer Institute to bring the Hardy Girls Healthy Women message home to their communities. “So we talk a lot about kind of the toxic media culture that’s out there for girls today. A lot of sexualized images and we work with girls to help them push back against that,” Brostek said.Claire Clark traveled all the way from Texas to take part in the event. “We’re hoping to bring a similar program to North Texas. There’s nothing quite like this in our area.”Justin Moriarty didn’t have to travel far, coming up from Lewiston to attend. “It’s really great to see that this is happening here,” he said. “I’m from Maine, so I’m local and just excited to see what the ripple effect is from this out in the community.”Organizers here say the way to push back is to empower young girls. “I think to understand it and to be a critical consumer of media and of technology, and of the things they come in to contact with on a daily basis,” said Meghan McCoy who works with girls in Massachusetts.The group was also offering some advice to parents out there. Keep an open dialogue with your daughters and be an approachable parent. “Look for the teachable moments where you can have genuine conversations. That genuine conversation comes from listening to girls and not always trying to offer a solution, but to pose questions.”To learn more about Hardy Girls Healthy Women you can go to their website:http://hghw.org/