“Strive for Strength is a local organization meant to educate, empower, and inspire young girls. We create and operate a yearly retreat where we host speakers, play team-building games, and open up about our experiences as young women,” states Molly Maseba, Vice President of Strive for Strength and a junior at Laguna Creek High School.
Strive for Strength (S4S) was founded in 2007 by Julie Ota and her daughter Tricia Ota. The organization is administered by Sacramento’s high school girls who are dedicated to empower and educate other young women about the everyday struggles that come with being a teenage girl. These every day struggles include depression, anxiety, self-confidence and body image. Even though these issues are among us everyday, they are stigmatized. Strive for Strength is here to change that.
Every year S4S organizes and leads a one-day retreat for middle and high school girls. These retreats include bonding activities, guest speakers, games, and even sometimes a concert by a local artist. COVID-19 did not stop S4S from hosting their annual retreat as on April 10th they held, “a successful virtual retreat!”
“This year’s retreat in particular was focused around mental health during quarantine, and we were able to have multiple speakers that were educated in the field. We had a course on coping and stress from Dr. Urmi Patel, mindfulness exercise from Carol Williamson, Zumba from Julie Ota, and an introduction to Friends and Mentors, a youth organization rooted in peer support,” Maseba describes.
S4S provides a safe and welcoming environment that establishes loyal members, which causes a sense of tradition. “My older sisters were also members of Strive for Strength, so I’ve been involved since about 7th grade… I built a lot of memories and relationships with the girls around me. I was really excited to get to high school so I could become a member, and now I’ve worked my way up to the upcoming President this year!” Maseba states with excitement.
Too often girls are faced with double standards, unrealistic beauty standards, insecurity, whether it be on social media, at school, in public, or even in their own mind within the four walls of their bedroom. S4S makes it so teen girls do not have to face those struggles alone and S4S makes sure teen girls have the tools to combat those struggles as well.
“I highly encourage any young girls to join Strive for Strength! Everyone that I’ve met through our organization and retreats have been so welcoming and kind. It’s great to get involved with people that want to support one another and empower the group. You can learn a lot about yourself and make new friends with other supportive girls. If you enjoy our retreats or what our organization stands for, you can even join as a board member! We are able to give back to our community, which always makes us feel more connected with our local family,” Maseba concludes.