Today’s blog focuses on the stories of two amazing women, Shamare Holmes and Wiktoria, a Thrown Stone intern, who are using their passions to carve space for others — and to follow their own dreams.
Shamare serves as the Program Director for Live Girl, a New Canaan, CT organization founded by Sheri Weist in 2014 that provides year-round leadership development and mentoring for girls Grades 5 through college. According to Shamare, the program encourages middle school girls to “lead themselves,” high school girls to “lead each other,” and college-aged women to “lead in the workforce.”
Women’s empowerment in the workforce is best furthered by paid opportunities. Shamare told me that many women want to take internships but can only afford to do so if they are paid. Cue the creation of SheWorks.
During the pandemic of 2020, Live Girl started the program, which serves primarily to place college-aged women in paid internship programs. In its first year, SheWorks placed 20 women in remote, paid internships. Impressive in any right, but even moreso amidst the turmoil of the pandemic. The SheWorks internships not only included the opportunity of paid work in a field of interest— they also provided interns with a mentor in their chosen field. Between career training, mentorship, and introduction to industries such as tech, finance, startups… “everyone gets something” Shamare explained. The SheWorks program not only benefits the interns — it is also a gift for the mentors and companies providing the internships.
Still, Shamare felt something was missing — an expansion of the definition of “workforce.” There were no arts organizations in the program. And, while it was doing amazing work in many different industries, Shamare was struck by the fact that young women may want to be leaders and entrepreneurs in artistic fields, and that SheWorks could provide those opportunities. With the vision and support of Liz Shapiro (Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums
Connecticut Office of the Arts and State Historic Preservation Office) whom she met on the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls (COWAG) Education and Art subcommittee, funding was put in place to create 5 grants to fund women in arts-related internships.
And this is where Thrown Stone and Wiktoria come into the picture. Thrown Stone applied to be one of the SheWorks arts organizations. The application was successful, and the Thrown Stone-SheWorks partnership began. Wiktoria, who is studying finance at the University of Connecticut, has a background in theatre which includes both performance and technical work, and was very excited to continue work in the theatre. This summer, she will work with Thrown Stone in a variety of capacities which include running crew, prop coordination, build and strike, and more. During our interview, her face lit up when describing the opportunity. Clearly, this internship is a great fit for her.
Importantly, Wiktoria heard about the SheWorks program from a friend in a classroom, who encouraged Wiktoria to apply. Shamare mentioned how important word-of-mouth is for getting more women and girls involved in the SheWorks program. Thrown Stone is proud to partner with the SheWorks program and will share more details at Positive Parenting: Resources for Teen Girls on July 5th at 7pm at the Ridgefield Library, where Shamare will serve as one of our expert panelists. Learn more about LiveGirl and the SheWorks program at: golivegirl.org.