Editor's Note: Women Who Dare

Editor's Note: Women Who Dare

Michele Ellson
Women Who Dare

The author and her interviewers, participants in Girls Inc. of the Island City's Best Foot Forward program. Photo by Jessica Travenia.

A few months ago, I received an exciting phone call: I’d been selected as one of a half dozen teens and women to be honored this month by Girls Inc. of the Island City as one of its Women Who Dare.

The awards luncheon will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 28 at the Albert H. DeWitt Officers Club, 641 West Redline Avenue, Alameda Point. Tickets are $60 and are available online, and the money supports Girls Inc. of the Island City’s programs, which range from science to sports and self-defense. This year’s theme is Risk, Resiliency, and Reward.

Girls Inc. of the Island City has been providing care and support to Alameda’s girls and teens since 1964, and more than 20,000 girls have been served by the organization over the years. Girls Inc.’s goals are to help its young charges become physically active, educated and assertive women who are advocates for themselves and others; in short, they’re training girls to be “strong, smart and bold.”

To do that, Girls Inc. offers a variety of programming, including after-school sessions that teach younger girls skills like conflict mediation, goal-setting, economic literacy and self-defense, technology skills and sports. The organization also offers Eureka!, a science, technology, engineering and math summer program for seventh and eighth graders that covers topics that range from engineering and game design to architecture, biology and physics, said Christine Chilcott, interim executive director of Alameda’s Girls Inc. branch.

“We offer a variety of programs, from science to economic literacy to sports and self-defense, that not only teach our girls and teens important skills they need now, but the necessary skills to become healthy, independent, and educated women,” Chilcott said when I asked for some information for this editor’s note.

One other program Girls Inc. offers is Best Foot Forward, which teaches girls interview, public speaking and etiquette skills. They’ll be showing off the skills they’ve learned at the luncheon on March 28.

I got a preview of the girls’ formidable interview skills a few weeks ago during a wide-ranging group Q&A session that covered everything from the mechanics of my work to my favorite ice cream flavor and celebrity role model (the pioneer broadcast journalist Linda Ellerbee, if you’re wondering). Based on what I experienced, I think it’s safe to say that any one of them would make an excellent journalist.

In addition to the young ladies from the Best Foot Forward program, I’ll be sharing the stage with Lt. Liz Hunter, one of just two active female Coast Guard divers in the United States, and Dr. Tanya Moore, a creator of the Infinite Possibilities Conference, which works to close the academic achievement gap for underrepresented minority women mathematicians.

Students being honored at the event include Edylwise Romero, an Alameda Science and Technology Institute senior who immigrated here from the Philippines at age 10 and will be the first member of her family to attend college; Cecilia Nava, an Alameda High School senior who has overcome multiple traumas through athletics; and Gabriella Gustafsson, an Encinal High School freshman who actively pursues an interest in science through Girls Inc.’s Eureka! program and is an active student athlete and club participant.

More information about Girls Inc. of the Island City and the programs it offers is available through its website; if you can’t make it to the luncheon, you can contribute to the organization’s work there, too.

Hope to see you at the O’Club on March 28!


Submitted by Laura Thomas on Thu, Mar 5, 2015

I am glad they chose a real reporter, someone who has moved from the venerable old school to the new. You were definitely daring Michele and deserve this honor!

Submitted by frank on Thu, Mar 5, 2015

yea Michele!!!!!

Submitted by Scott (not verified) on Thu, Mar 5, 2015


I kid, I kid. Congrats Michele, a very well-deserved honor!

Submitted by Terry W. (not verified) on Thu, Mar 5, 2015

I knew years ago that you were a daring one ... obviously, word has spread. Salaam..

Submitted by Denisea (not verified) on Mon, Mar 9, 2015

So well deserved Michele!! The Alamedan is an incredible resource. This newsletter has offered great breadth and depth of coverage of local issues and as such, has dramatically contributed to much more thoughtful public discourse. Congratulations!!