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press release

Carissa Phelps to Inspire Thousands of Teen Girls to Create Social Change


San Jose/San Francisco, Calif. Oct. 23, 2007 – Girls For A Change (GFC), the leading non-profit organization for urban girls, today announced they will feature Carissa Phelps as a keynote speaker for the 5th Annual Girl Summit presented by Sephora, October 30, 2007 at the San José Convention Center.  In a new riveting documentary “Carissa,” produced by Academy Award-winning director, Davis Guggenheim, Phelps shares her story of being abandoned and homeless at the age of 12, left by her mother in the lobby of Fresno’s Juvenile Hall.  With Phelps’ struggle comes an eye-opening success story of education and perseverance that each Girl Summit attendee will hear firsthand.  The Girl Summit brings together more than 1,000 urban middle and high school girls to become social change makers and innovators, by empowering them to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that tackle problems they face in their neighborhoods.

“I’m honored to be part of the GFC Girl Summit whose focus is geared towards empowering at-risk urban girls in high school and middle school.  It was at that age I found myself alone on the streets to fend for myself, failed by the juvenile justice system and could have benefited from an organization like GFC.  I want to show these young ladies they can not only survive but thrive,” said Phelps.  “Through my partnership with Virgin Mobile USA and The RE*Generation campaign to end youth homelessness, I am excited to leverage both the ‘Carissa’ film project and National Homeless Awareness Month in November to not only raise awareness of this crucial issue, but in fact change the situation for exploited and disempowered youth in the U.S. from one of hopelessness to one of hope and promise.”

Phelps will join a number of other well-known speakers including, Olympic Gold Medalist, Jessica Mendoza and Ashley Qualls, the 17-year founder and CEO of Whateverlife.com, an online graphic and community resource Web site.  It offers anything from web and social network layouts to tutorials and free user-generated online magazines for teenage girls and young adults alike. The site receives more than 200,000 unique users daily and 60 million page views a month.  Qualls has been featured in Fast Company and Seventeen Magazine, ABC’s “The View,” CNN, and more.  The facilitators are there to educate participants on current issues, prepare young women to speak up, lead and implement change in their 2007-2008 social change projects. 

“The goal in the annual Girl Summit is to share stories like ‘Carissa’ to raise awareness for a population that has been invisible for too long,” said Whitney Smith, Co-CEO, Girls For A Change.  “GFC catalyzes this group of young girls to be leaders in their classroom, community and life.” 

The Girl Summit is proudly presented by Sephora and also generously sponsored by the City of San Jose, National Semiconductor, Nike, and Virgin Mobile USA and its pro-social initiative, The RE*Generation.  Additional corporate sponsors include eBay, Camino Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente, S.H. Cowell Foundation and Wells Fargo.

About Girls For A Change
Girls For A Change (GFC), a non-profit organization, catalyzes professional women to support urban middle and high school girls to become social change makers and innovators, by empowering them to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that tackle problems they face in their neighborhoods.  GFC provides the tools, resources and support girls need to move from being spectators to being leaders.  To learn more about the organization please visit: http://www.girlsforachange.org/ 

About Sephora
Sephora, the beauty authority, revolutionized the global beauty industry with its unique retail concept rooted in a powerful combination of unparalleled brand and product assortment, distinctive store design and the beauty expertise of its sales consultants. Sephora offers clients a choice of more than 200 beauty brands across a broad range of product categories including skincare, makeup, fragrance, bath & body, hair care, smile care and tools, as well as the company’s own private label. 

Founded in France in 1969, Sephora opened the first US door in 1998. Today, Sephora operates more than 170 stores in the United States and Canada, and the world’s top beauty website, Sephora.com.  Thanks to recent partnerships with HSN and JCPenney, the beauty authority is now accessible to more clients than ever before.

Sephora is proud to announce their commitment to Girls For A Change, and supports their mission to empower young girls to create social change in their communities.  http://www.sephora.com/

For more information:
Whitney Smith
Girls For A Change

Katie Watson
Voce Communications, Inc.

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