MODESTO -- Tween girls talked fashion, got some tips on handling bad guys and giggled over a boy band Saturday at the Live Your Dream event put on by local Soroptimists.
Some 200 seventh- and eighth-graders from Modesto's four junior highs took part in Saturday of Service. Biggest hits: an impromptu "Harlem shake" dance at lunch and the High Voltage band, brought to the event by keynote speaker Brenda Francis of Modesto Sound.
Francis said, in talking to the girls, she focused on her story, building a youth- centered recording studio housed on the Gregori High campus. "I tied it into living your dream and being positive," she said.
Girls chose from three sets of workshops, from drawing anime to good manners to the risks of liquor and dealing with bullies.
Mark Twain Junior High eighth-graders Alexandra Martinez and Dominique Martinez said the "Mean Girls" workshop was eye opening.
"Girls can be really judgemental," Dominique said.
"I think everybody has it in them," Alexandra said.
The "Liquor and Lip Gloss" workshop packed a warning. "A lot of people die from drinking," said La Loma Junior High schooler Alison Terra. Alison also took the etiquette class. "I learned how to be proper," she said with a smile.
The "Fashionista" workshops had the highest attendance, said organizer Catherine Millerman. She said her Soroptimist group chose the 11- though 13-year-olds because fewer services are available to them.
"We decided to focus on junior high girls because we believe that they are an at-risk group and the project perfectly fits our mission statement of 'improving the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world,' " she said.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339, on Twitter, @NanAustin, www.modbee.com/education.