AASI hosts girls empowerment luncheon at UT Dallas (video)

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Women’s empowerment and networking were the primary tasks at hand during a recent luncheon held for 30 junior and senior girls from David W. Carter and Wilmer Hutchins.

Students were seated among professional women from a range of backgrounds and industries who offered real-world advice, inspiration and small-group mentoring Wednesday as part of an African American Success Initiative-sponsored event designed to inspire students to set and reach college and career goals.

Wilmer Hutchins Clarissa Botella and Paloma Quiroga were among the student attendees selected by campus counselors to attend the event.

“I am just so honored to be here,” Botello said. “I really liked listening to how the professional women chose their careers. These talks opened me up to considering other careers and just reminded me that girls can do anything.”

“It was just inspiring to hear other’s stories and to be told it’s okay to explore and figure out what you’re interested in or to have an idea and pursue it,” added Quiroga, who has her heart set on a career in culinary arts.

The was event hosted by the Dallas Independent School District’s AASI, AT&T and Per Scholas, a national non-profit with offices in Dallas that is committed to job training and career development. Speakers and mentors included Ms. Black USA Ocielia Gibson, the Honorable Amber Givens-Davis, 282nd Judicial District Court, and Dallas ISD Chief of Staff Dr. Cynthia Wilson.

Wilson encouraged the students to build relationships with the women at their tables and open up a dialogue about careers and future-planning.

“My passion in life is for girls to understand themselves and be all they can be,” Wilson said.

“We are clearly committed to the success of our students,” added Jamila Thomas, a Dallas ISD AASI coordinator. “Today, these girls saw that commitment first-hand from women in the community. We are rooting for them, we believe in them and we want to help them succeed in their career and in life.”

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