Women leaders inspire girls at Fleetwood Girl Power Story Hour

Fleetwood Mayor Tammy Gore reads to youth at Fleetwood Public Library’s Girl Power Story Hour March 10.
Fleetwood Mayor Tammy Gore reads to youth at Fleetwood Public Library’s Girl Power Story Hour March 10. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media
Sen. Judy Schwank poses for a photo with some of the girls who attended Girl Power Story Hour on March 10 at Fleetwood Public Library.
Sen. Judy Schwank poses for a photo with some of the girls who attended Girl Power Story Hour on March 10 at Fleetwood Public Library. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media

Fleetwood Public Library hosted Girl Power Story Hour with girl empowering stories read by Sen. Judy Schwank, District Justice Judge Gail Greth, Fleetwood Mayor Tammy Gore, and Maidencreek Church Pastor Sara Hertzog on March 10.

“There’s a lot of great women in our area and a lot of our leaders in our area are women which is pretty phenomenal. We want to show the younger kids in our area who is leading our community, it’s women,” said Fleetwood Library Director Carin Mileshosky.

In addition to the library staff wanting to celebrate Women’s History Month, the story hour is part of the PA Forward initiative through the Pennsylvania Library Association. Going for their gold star, the Girl Power Story Hour was a perfect fit for the civil and social literacy requirement, said Mileshosky.

“I really want them to see that no matter who they are, they can do great things for our community, girl or boy,” said Mileshosky. “If they want to give back to their community and make a difference, they can.”

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Mileshosky is very grateful for the Mayor, Judge, Senator and Pastor who were able to come to the library and read.

“Share their time with the kids in the community, it shows how great of a leader they are to come out on their own time,” said Mileshosky.

The story hour included a coloring activity, attendees were encouraged to colored a picture “She needed a superhero, so she became one.” Her daughter Katelin Mileshosky, 12, a 6th grader, believes the picture says the girl is going to help herself.

“This (story hour) offers girls power and shows that girls can mostly do what boys do,” said Katelin, who also liked that women read the stories. “A lot of girls got to talk about how they felt and while reading the book she asked questions so that made it fun.”

There were a lot of interactions between the readers and the youth that was encouraging and engaging. Gore even got them up dancing. The readers talked about what they do and asked the girls about what they want to be when they grow up.

Mayor Gore read “Call Me Madame President” by Sue Pyatt because there has never been a woman President.

“I think if we’re talking about empowered girls, we need to talk about a woman in the Oval Office,” said Gore. “I think women can do whatever it is they want to do. I think girls need to understand there’s not specific rules for boys and specific rules for girls. I think a woman or girl can do whatever she sets her mind to do, no matter what it is.”

Gore said it was nice to see so many girls in one place.

“Women together, we can help each other. I think that is so important,” said Gore. “As women achieve the things that they want to achieve, they then encourage other women to achieve and so having all of these girls together starts that bond.”

Judge Greth read “Dear Girl” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, noting that she did attempt to tailor her reading to both girls and boys since there were two boys (siblings of girls attending) in the audience of mostly girls.

“I think all the things in this book emphasis is what we hope for in our children and what we foster in our children,” said Greth.

The Judge hopes to promote good self-esteem, good decision making skills and to show girls that in life they really can achieve any of their goals. Greth believes seeing herself, the Mayor, Senator and Pastor sends a strong message to youth, “That women, especially in male dominated professions, have opportunity in those professions. Anyone has an opportunity in any profession today which was not the case 30 years ago. It was not the case when I ran for public office.”

Greth said it was difficult working in a male dominated profession in the beginning, after she was elected she felt this need to prove herself.

“I had enough self confidence to overcome that,” said Greth. “I want to help our youth know that there’s the same opportunity for them as those of us who led this session this morning.”

Talking more about the changes, Greth said, “I think women have come a long way and they are so well respected in our society today and it’s something I’m very proud of. I’m a very big advocate for women and women in leadership roles so when I look around the room, even in the courtroom that I serve, I often see women attorneys, women police. Some days the whole court room is women leaders. It warms my heart, in addition to seeing the men in the courtroom.”

Pastor Hertzog hopes that the girls and the two boys in attendance realize that they can do anything. She read “What Do You Do with an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada.

“I think people should realize that when they have ideas, even if they’re outside of the box, that they should go for them and not give up on them,” said Hertzog. “I hope seeing a woman pastor, because most of them are very used to seeing males, helps them realize that women are in all different careers and that it opens their mind that their careers are limitless as to what they choose to do.”

Sen. Schwank read “Grace for President” by Kelly DiPucchio.

“I have been participating in every Women’s History activity that I possibly could because I think it’s important to inspire girls of all ages to fulfill their leadership potential,” said Schwank. “This particular book was focusing on a young girl in a school who was troubled by the fact there’s no female Presidents and I hope to have explained to the children today that girls can do anything, even be President of the United States someday.”

Schwank hopes that her presence shows the girls the work they can do as a political figure, as a woman.

“I hope to inspire them to reach those same goals and even higher,” said Schwank. “Young women today have so much to offer our communities and we really need to help them fulfill their potential.”

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.