IN THE HEIGHTS Stars Launch Girls Camaraderie Project Today, 7/22

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IN THE HEIGHTS Stars Launch Girls Camaraderie Project Today, 7/22

The Girls Camaraderie Project (GCP)-a philanthropic organization that hosts full-day workshops and a pay-it-forward video project that inspires connection, acceptance and community among middle-school girls (ages 10-13)-is set to launch their first workshop today, July 22nd at the historic Women's Club of Hollywood. An Indiegogo fundraising campaign is active now through September 12 to help raise funds and awareness for the organization's upcoming events at http://www.indiegogo.com/weareGCP.

The GCP organization was founded by Broadway star Arielle Jacobs (In the Heights, the upcoming Boy from New York City by Million Dollar Quartet writer Floyd Mutrux) with one simple mission: to inspire connection, self-awareness, community and a sense of belonging among young girls world-wide, while allowing them to contribute to each other's growth and empowerment.

Co-producer of the Girls Camaraderie Project, Lexi Lawson ("American Idol", In the Heights, RENT) says that "GCP is important because it's a 'safe house' for young girls to express themselves fully to each other, at an age when they may feel most vulnerable and susceptible to negative impact."

"Yes, definitely," agrees Jacobs. "Middle school girls live through the most challenging times. Dealing with puberty and bodily changes hits hard hit on self-esteem, not to mention the competition that develops between girls when boys enter the picture. Girls can become jealous, isolated, and unsure. However, when girls feel supported and accepted by other girls in their community, they begin to understand and experience the benefits of living as one tribe. They know they can achieve their dreams through supportive means, without needing to fight their way to the top. To me, 'Camaraderie' means a feeling that other people in my community are seeing me as the best version of myself and supporting me in whatever I dream for myself. It's about vowing to be there for each other. It's about promising to be a support, no matter what. And to be a friend."

The GCP experience is a two-part process. First is the workshop in which the girls participate, reflect, transform, and define what camaraderie means to them. This free workshop engages middle school girls to look within and share their hopes and fears, awaken their creativity and imagination, and connect to each other in a meaningful way. After this afternoon, they will realize their similarities and understand that the desire to be seen and appreciated is universal. Girls will feel empowered to appreciate each other and support each other in whatever they want to create in their own lives.

A very special part of the workshop day will include a transcontinental craft exchange project with the nonprofit organization PeopleWeaver-a charity dedicated to the assistance of Ugandan women in the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement. PeopleWeaver has kindly donated colorful beaded necklaces made by the women in their organization, which the girls from the GCP workshop will in turn fashion into bracelets and exchange with the women back in Uganda.

The second fundamental element of GCP is the pay-it-forward video project. At the end of the day, the girls will come together to create a video pay-it-forward project that is sent to another group of girls in a different city, state or country who have gathered for their own day-long workshop. The video project will be a welcome message and invitation for them to participate in this transformational day, and to let the new girls know they are supported by girls they have never met.

GCP's inaugural workshop will take place today, July 22 from 10am to 6pm at the historic Women's Club of Hollywood, located at 1749 N. La Brea Ave. For more information on GCP, upcoming events, and to find out how you can contribute to the organization, go to www.weareGCP.org and follow them @weareGPC and www.facebook.com/weareGCP.

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