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Annual Around the World gala raises $13K for GIRLPowR

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The annual Around the World Gala, which 130 guests attended May 19 at the DelRay 817 in the Haymarket, raised $13,000 for the Lincoln-based nonprofit GIRLPowR.

“On behalf of everyone at GIRLPowR, we thank you for being a part of our Around the World Gala,” said Julie Reager, GIRLPowR founder and executive director. “It’s with your support and the generosity of the community that we are able to continue educating and empowering girls here in Lincoln and abroad to reach their potential and pursue their dreams.”

Khalidah Shammo, Ashley Perez Ortiz and Sara Ahmed from GIRLPowR Nebraska shared their testimonials about how GIRLPowR has impacted their lives by shaping the way they view themselves, empowering them to speak up, and inspiring them – through women guest speakers from Lincoln and Omaha in various career fields – to follow their dreams and explore new paths.

Khalidah, a 14-year-old Yazidi student from Iraq, shared, “I remember one time in GIRLPowR that meant a lot to me was when we were in the summer camp for GIRLPowR. Our theme was career exploration and leadership, and we had several women guest speakers, and they had all run their own companies and were all so experienced in the workforce. Jannette Taylor, the CEO of Women’s Center for Advancement in Omaha, came and spoke with us. That moment meant a lot to me, because she talked to us about how we should be our own bosses and how we should follow what we want to do and not what others want us to do. I was able to learn a lot from that experience. I found out that I am a powerful person in charge of my life, and I am the one who controls what I will be in the future, and I will also be great at it.”

Other event highlights included:

- A performance by the Bellajhara belly dancing group;

- DJ Kef spinning international tunes from around the world;

- A presentation and video by Reager;

- A presentation by keynote speaker and spiritual leader Kirstie Engel;

- Ava Thomas, president and publisher of the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World Herald, serving as emcee;

- Community Partner Award presentation to Dr. Meghan Winchell and the Nebraska Wesleyan University U.S. Women’s History course for their research and work on GIRLPowR curriculum development over the past six years;

- Silent and live auctions; and

- A Fund-A-Need segment to pay for a year of school, summer camp, and school backpacks and supplies for one year for girls in need.

As always, the event offered a mouthwatering spread of foods from local favorite restaurants including jerk chicken from Stur 22 Caribbean & African Kitchen, crawfish and seafood from Bourbon Street, Seoul Korean pasta from the Eatery, jambalaya from Buzzard Billy’s and sweets from Nothing Bundt Cakes and Hurts Donuts.

Reager gave special thanks to Tiffany Verzal and V2 Content for creating GIRLPowR’s new film.

If you are interested in volunteering for next year’s event, current job openings and board positions, signing up for the GIRLPowR newsletter email, learning more about programming or donating to GIRLPowR, visit or email


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