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Girls on the MOVE

by | Jun 12, 2019 | Education

Hopkinton duo’s empowerment organization continues to grow

Ashley Olafsen co-founded MOVE when she was a Hopkinton High School student six years ago.

Two young women from Hopkinton are helping girls learn about positive self-worth and empowerment with one word: MOVE.

MOVE (Motivate. Overcome. Value. Empower.), founded by Ashley Olafsen and Lexi Phipps, is a program that tackles issues such as body image, social media and mental health. MOVE’s mission is to “enable young women to reach their maximum potential by giving them the tools to become confident and active leaders in their communities.”

For the past six years, Olafsen and Phipps, both Hopkinton High School graduates, have hosted after-school programs and workshops for girls to join together, share stories and connect with others who might be having the same struggles. MOVE has held more than 50 workshops at schools around Massachusetts since it was founded, and in 2015 the organization hosted its first five-day summer program, which has been held in Hopkinton every year since. This year’s edition is scheduled for Aug. 5-9.

“The summer program is a week of fun and games,” Olafsen said. “We have guest speakers every day who talk about issues like body image and leadership.”

The camp, which is for designed for girls entering Grades 7-10, covers a broad range of topics such as leadership skills, public speaking, communication, self-confidence, problem resolution, politics, finding a career path or starting a business.

​For parents who are struggling with ways to help their teen during these difficult years, Olafsen will be hosting a free parent workshop on June 15 from 2-3:30 p.m. at the Hopkinton Public Library called Bridging the Gap Between Parents and Teen Daughters: How to Help Girls Navigate (visit MOVEofficial.com for more information).

In this interactive workshop, parents will learn how to help their teenager navigate body image, friendships, relationships, social media and mental health. Olafsen will share insights on what girls may be struggling with, what girls wish their parents knew, and how parents can offer support during middle and high school.

“I have a lot of valuable information to share with parents about what girls are thinking and worrying about,” said Olafsen, a recent UMass-Amherst graduate who has first-hand knowledge of issues affecting teen girls.

“When I was 16 years old, I struggled with body image issues and unhealthy relationships,” she said. “I was able to use that to talk to other teens openly and honestly.”

Since then, Olafsen has become a two-time author, TEDx speaker and social entrepreneur who is passionate about issues that affect young women. She recently launched an online video series, “Let’s Talk About It: The Workshop Series For Students,” focused on some of the same issues that will be discussed during the workshop.

At the workshop, parents will hear from Olafsen as well as three high school girls about why teenagers react to certain situations, how to approach tricky conversations and challenges, and about the best way to navigate their own relationships with their daughters.

“This is a great opportunity for parents to learn how to best support their daughters as they grow into young women,” she said.



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