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Middle School “Brave New Girl” Conference is for Educators and Parents

Orchard House School announces “Brave New Girl,” a conference designed for educators and parents of adolescent girls to be held Saturday, March 21, 2020, at the middle school in Richmond’s historic Fan District.

Learning and growing with confidence through the adolescent years can be a challenge for girls, given their developmental changes and the external pressures they feel in a rapidly changing world. With evolving career opportunities, new ways of thinking about identity, an ever-diversifying population, real and perceived polarization, and the pressure of social media, challenging and supporting girls can feel overwhelming to both parents and professionals.

Speakers at the daylong conference comprise a dynamic selection of authors, activists, educators, and professionals who are passionate about guiding girls in their quest for self-discovery and confidence. Conference workshops address a wide variety of issues, ideas, and strategies impacting girls in today’s world.

Award-winning writer Sara Pipher Gilliam presents a keynote address at Brave New Girl. She has teamed up with her mother, nonfiction author Mary Pipher, to revisit Pipher’s 1994 best-seller, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. That book revealed the poisonous culture that had brought eating disorders, addiction, sexual violence, and objectification upon adolescent girls. Pipher and Gilliam’s 25th-anniversary edition, published in June, explores adolescents’ challenges in a post-Columbine, post-9/11, social-media obsessed culture. .

Eva DeVirgilis, a vocal advocate for the empowerment of women and girls globally, also keynotes at the conference. An award-winning playwright, actress, and makeup artist, DeVirgilis is on a mission to “end the apology.” Her TEDx talk about self-acceptance, body image, and often unrealistic 21st-century beauty standards is one of the most viewed talks in TEDxRVA history.

Attendees can choose to attend two (as space allows) from among more than a dozen hour-long workshops offered by experts in the field:

  • Girl, You Can Do Hard Things
  • Grounded Girls, Thriving Girls: Strategies for Parents and Teachers
  • App It Out!
  • Affirmation Training: Changing the Messaging for Girls
  • Exercise & Resilience: Keep Moving to Stay Strong
  • The Basics, Understanding LGBTQ+Youth
  • Graphic Novels for the Win!
  • Strategies to Foster Media Literacy and Positive Body Image in Adolescent Girls in the Age of Social Media
  • Leveling Up: Using Math & STEM as a Pathway to Success
  • Life Skills That Stick: An Integrative, Sustainable Approach to Developing Strong Women and Healthy Communities
  • Mindfulness to Mindset
  • Why Conversation About Race & Racism Belongs in the Classroom
  • Fostering Resiliency in Girls Through Empowered Advocacy
  • Let’s Start Talking: Dating and Consent

The program day wraps up with informal discussion breakouts and networking. Attending educators can earn five continuing education units.

The conference begins with registration and coffee at 8 a.m., and the event concludes at 4 p.m. Lunch is included in the registration fee of $150 through Feb. 21 and $175 thereafter. Orchard House School is located at 500 N. Allen Ave. Free parking is available at Lowe’s Home Improvement located two blocks away at 1640 W. Broad St. An Orchard House School bus will shuttle attendees to and from the conference location at 7:30-8:15 a.m. and 5-5:30 p.m.

For more information and to register, visit


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