The Empowerment Project
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]veryone fantasizes about achieving wondrous, impossible things. But often fear and doubt hold one back from swimming toward these ships. What would you do if you were't afraid to fail? Together, best friends, Dana Michelle Cook and Sarah Moshman, concocted a wild plan to not only fulfill their wildest dreams of living in a woman's world, but to inspire all women to reach for their own stars too. After assembling a fierce all-female film crew of five, Dana and Sarah hopped behind the wheel of a minivan and began their daunting journey across the country, from Los Angeles to New York City, their hope being to showcase talented women for their unrecognized triumphs. These women stand as role models and trailblazers, fueled by their incredible tenacity and heart, dedicating their lives to their passions and redefining what a woman is and can be. Women who, in the face of adversity, blossomed in career fields astonishingly dominated by men, all because they set aside fears of failure. From blasting off into space, to building a prosperous business from the ground up, to traveling cross-country for a month with perfect strangers, The Empowerment Project teaches that with passion and dedication, any mission is possible.
The Empowerment Project encourages the idea that if women come together to build one another up with kindness, this man's world that we live in can become so much more. "[Women] always have these insecurities, and what better way to bring ourselves up than to help each other? That's why I think it's so important for girls to help other girls, because everyone else is trying to bring us down, so why should we also bring ourselves down? We should bring each other up, and band together to make change," Jenna Norton, junior, says. Alone, women throughout history have captured the moon and more. But as a community, women are fueled to be a thousand times stronger and more influential.
Sarah and Dana, the creators of the Empowerment Project, began with a simple question that snowballed into a poignant movement: what would you do if you had no fear? "If you nothing stood in my way, I would be able to go to the college of my dreams and be successful. I feel empowered when I am able to complete a task by myself that women wouldn't be expected to do," Sarah Crowe, sophomore, firmly responds, her answer ever-so eloquent. "If I had no fears, I would just do something super adventurous and crazy, like deep-sea scuba diving or sky-diving or bungee-jumping," Kathryn Versteeg, senior, laughs at the mere prospect of being so adventurous.
Most of all, the Empowerment Project has taught that empowerment starts with the individual. Being lifted up and supported by others makes continuing the spread of empowerment seem less like work and more like fun. "My mom empowers me to be a better woman, because she has always told me that you can never really depend on anyone but yourself," Sandy Canizal, sophomore, says of her Spanish-speaking mother, who inspires Sandy to challenge herself in the pool and in class.
"I am empowered by my friends and family, who encourage me when I'm down. They tell me that I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it," Kathryn Versteeg says.
"Well, I know that in all things God empowers me," says sophomore, Isa Gallegos.
"An important role model for women today is Hillary Clinton, because she is breaking down barriers in politics and going places where no women has ever gone before. Any woman who knows what she stands for and is independent enough to provide for herself is a role model, in my opinion," Sarah Crowe, who perfectly embodies the strength and determination she describes of her role models, says.
Feeling empowered is confidence, happiness, having immense pride in oneself. When people feel empowered, they rise to their most extreme potential, and this enthusiasm for life is contagious. "I defiantly feel empowered when I'm all dressed up and I have all my makeup on and a really cute outfit on and my hair looks good, and that's mostly just because I feel food about myself. But then, I also feel good about myself when it's the exact opposite, when I'm actually just working out," Jenna Norton says.
"I feel empowered when I'm at soccer, and I've just scored a goal, and I feel like I'm on top of the world, and that's really cool. Me, myself, and I empower myself." Sophomore, Zoe Metoyer's grin overwhelms her face, reliving the moment.
Sophomore, Isa Gallegos, recalls the rush of a successful show, "I feel most confident when I am on stage performing or dancing. It makes me feel truly happy."
"I feel empowered when I feel like I'm having a good day. I am able to look at things in a more positive way and just feel more confident in general," An Vu, sophomore, says delicately. Fellow sophomore, Theresa Pham, adds in with fervor, "I feel happy, confident, and proud once I reach my goals, because I feel accomplished and I feel like there's hope for even more later on."
"When I accomplish a goal, I feel empowered. Like, getting second place in the science fair, after putting all of my hard work into it, it pays off. If I had no fear, I would be living life right now: traveling the world, jumping off cliffs, I would do things out of the ordinary, because life is too short to be ordinary," Michelle Pham says.
No fear, no doubt, and no person can stand in the way of what you believe in. Finding a passion and pursuing it, setting goals and accomplishing them, and aspiring to be something grander than what you are in this moment are the greatest strengths any person could possibly have.
Photo Credit: http://empowermentproject.com/