Chatham to begin chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls

In Maine last year, a group of 14 year old girls made history when they petitioned Seventeen to eliminate photoshop editing. Accepting the criticism, the magazine agreed. Seventeen is now photoshop free, and teen girls see real women in every photo.

Working towards positive social change in Pittsburgh, Chatham is creating a new chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls. Strong Women, Strong Girls pairs college women with elementary school age girls through an afterschool mentoring program.

Strong Women, Strong Girls is a national organization committed to providing young girls with the resources to understand and change the social roles of women. The organization’s website contains various blogs and articles about strong female role models and women’s issues. They even have a blog called “Strong Female Fridays.”

Various organizations are getting involved as well. Chatham volunteers will be working with the Girl Scouts organization throughout schools. Through various activities, the main goal of this club is to find out what young girls want. Once that is determined, an act toward social change becomes the new goal. In order to challenge women’s roles in a positive way, the mentor-student relationship allows the girls to be themselves without feeling vulnerable.

A key aspect of Strong Women, Strong Girls is having college women mentor young women. The organization provides a role model for the girls and relies on that relationship to provide a sense of empowerment for the girls. It also encourages education through these relationships.

That is why Sophomore Kelley Connell wants to be a part of the organization. “I want to be involved in Strong Women, Strong Girls because of the support network it will provide for [young girls],” she said.

Last year, the organization mentored 400 girls with 110 mentors from Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, and the University of Pittsburgh. It is also a member of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development network.

Often, skill-building activities are used to examine female role models. An organization called Girls Coalition will supply the club with a curriculum filled with activities.

The Girls Coalition works with various female empowering organizations. Hardy Girls is another program geared toward middle school aged. Similar to Strong Women, Strong Girls, the Girls Coalition supplies Hardy Girls with their curriculum as well.

Training will ensure that the correct message is given to the middle school girls. Hardy Girls is not offered as a club, but as an internship opportunity that will be opening up for spring semester.

Strong Women, Strong Girls and its counterparts appear to be a key aspect in creating positive social change for women and girls everywhere. The club allows strong women to teach girls what they’ve learned; and learn from the girls as well.

Waiting for intermission: review of “The World’s End”

As mentioned in earlier reviews, many of this year’s summer films have failed to live up to their hype. Audiences are seduced by a knockout trailer, but then leave the movie disappointed. Then there are films that lived up to the trailer…of a mediocre film. Such is the case of Edgar Wright’s “The World’s End,” the final installment in the “Cornetto Trilogy.”

Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the film follows Gary King (Pegg) who, in an attempt to relive his high school glory days, rounds up his more successful school buddies to embark on a night of barhopping in their hometown.

As the night drags on, Gary and his friends discover that the town has been taken over by alien robot creatures set with a plan on taking over the world. While there are many entertaining and poignant moments, it is lost in a contrived plot and muddled character motivations. The trailer promises a mediocre sci-fi film and delivers just that, nothing more.

For those few living in the pop culture doldrums, the “Cornetto Trilogy” is a series of parody films starting with “Shaun of the Dead” in 2004. Followed by “Hot Fuzz” in 2007, the trilogy achieved massive international success. What makes the trilogy so appealing is the fact that the films are commentaries of genres rather than simple parodies.

Each film is unique, capable of being watched independently from other films in the trilogy. The film begins on a strong note with the introduction of Gary King. From his trench coat to his Sisters of Mercy tattoo, Gary is an anachronism. When not in rehab, he spends his weekends partying to forget how life has moved on without him. Between the awkward silences between childhood friends and his naïve oblivion, Pegg’s performance of Gary hits almost too close to home. Cataloguing his descent to rock bottom accounts for the film’s poignant moments.

Blending with these moments are very hilarious scenes, including a lengthy conversation on what to call their apocalyptic adversaries. The chemistry displayed between actors Pegg, Frost, Martin Freeman and others is very natural, something which is portrayed in the film’s dialogue. “The World’s End” is a comedy that knows how to be serious.

But oh man, is this movie self-referential. Half of the film’s jokes rely on knowledge of having seen the other films in the “Cornetto Trilogy.” Though the preceding films of the trilogy offered similar jokes, they were few in number. The consistency of these jokes alienates those audiences who have not seen the trilogy and destroys the uniqueness of this film. However, the tendency to rehash the same jokes is not what diminishes the quality of the film; it is lack of a coherent plot.

Many of the subplots shoved into the two-hour film are hinted at but never fully resolved. The climax revolves on a bad joke. Though Gary is slated to have his character transformation, it is haphazard and makes for a stilted end to the film. Despite some moments of fresh comedy, it is watered down, and audiences are left scratching their heads.

Instead of spending $10 on this movie, wait for it to come out on DVD. In the meantime, watch “Shaun of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz.” You’ll be less disappointed.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

reprinted with permission from the Moviola

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