Nonprofit helps girls and young women who've lost their mothers

Published on Wednesday, 3 April 2019 20:25
Written by Michelle France


NEW BRITAIN - A Massachusetts-based nonprofit serving girls and young women who have lost their mothers will host a launch party tonight to celebrate its new empowerHER Connecticut chapter.

“This celebration is just the beginning of our journey and underscores our unwavering commitment to building and supporting the empowerHER community in Connecticut to serve young girls who may need a reminder of their own strength,” said Connecticut empowerHER ambassador Laurie Faye.

The event will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Back Nine Tavern at Stanley Golf Course. Guests can enjoy “lite bites” and a cash bar and hear from speakers including empowerHER founder Cara Belvin, award-winning broadcaster Candy O’Terry, and a few girls enrolled in the program.

The organization’s mission is to empower, support and connect girls of all ages who have experienced the early loss of their mothers. The volunteer-driven organization does this in two ways: through mentoring and events

The mentor match program matches girls and women 5 to 24 years old with a mentor who can relate to the loss of a mother and who can provide support and resources for the girl throughout the year.

“We match the girls with a positive role model in the community,” said Belvin. “All the mentors are screened, trained and supported by the organization.”

The nonprofit also offers a series of events for girls to connect with other girls who can relate to their loss.

“Losing a mother is a very isolating experience,” said Belvin. “The girls get to meet girls just like them that they would otherwise not meet.”

Themes have included a beach bash, cooking classes, and a Mother’s Day retreat where girls spend their time connecting and honoring their mothers with activities, dinner and a sleep over.

All programs and activities are offered at no charge to the family. The organization is funded entirely by private donations and business sponsors. State-based sponsors include Eversource and The Hartford.

Belvin, a Southington native who was 9 when she lost her mother to breast cancer, formed the organization out of gratitude for the support her family had received.

“It started five years ago and it grew like wildfire,” she said.

Until now, the organization has only operated in Massachusetts It now has 400 volunteers there, serving over 150 girls. The newly formed Connecticut chapter has 12 girls enrolled.

“I think after Thursday night we’ll have more girls,” said Belvin.

Belvin said all the girls in Connecticut are invited to join any event in Massachusetts until Connecticut builds its own series of events.

Belvin is the lead producer of HBO’s “The Conversation: Stories that Matter” speaker series, and the episodic digital series “The Dinner Conversation,” about women powering through their grief, according to her website. Her efforts to support young girls have been featured on the ABC network’s Boston affiliate, WCVB-TV, and on PBS’s “NewsHour.”

The organization is looking for mentors across Connecticut. To volunteer, visit .

To enroll a girl, visit .

To purchase tickets for the event, visit

Michelle France can be reached at 860-801-5087 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 3 April 2019 20:25. Updated: Wednesday, 3 April 2019 20:28.