2013 Women’s Leadership Luncheon

What an incredible lunch hour! With nearly 700 women attended in support of our community’s children, the 2013 Women’s Leadership Luncheon & Purses Plus Silent Auction began with excitement and energy.

We were thrilled to welcome Erin Gruwell as our Keynote Speaker to this year's event.

Erin is a teacher, author of the Freedom Writers Diary, the woman behind the move Freedom Writers, and now an educational activist. She shared her story with humor and poignancy.  At the very beginning of her teaching career, she walked with overwhelming positivity into her first classroom at Wilson High School in Long Beach California. She soon realized that the only thing the students had in common was that they hated her and hated writing. The students she worked with were living in unimaginable situations dealing with homelessness, gang violence, hunger, to even losing friends and families to murder. But they grew together as a group when they began to see how alike they were. Erin encouraged them by providing books written by kids and for kids like The Diary of Anne Frank she had personally purchased for them. She challended them to write their stories and allow themselves to be seen and heard and find their voice. Many of her students went on to be the first from their families to graduate from high school.

If you'd like to hear her inspirational message, you can watch her complete keynote address HERE.

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