The empowerHER story starts with a young girl who has lost her mother. However, ours is not a story about our grief necessarily, but about just how we draw strength from one another - and how we empower one another.
empowerHER supports young girls who have experienced the early loss of their mothers. By creating enhanced experiences surrounding our events, we instill confidence and reduce isolation through a community of sisterhood that offers hope to each of the girls we serve.
empowerHER is the only organizations in the country specifically working to address the struggles of girls whose mothers have died. We serve 130+ girls throughout Massachusetts by providing an integrated series of programming featuring year-round group events and retreats. Events such as our signature Mother’s Day Retreat, Beach Bash, Writing Workshops and more are designed to build a supportive peer community and remind girls they are not alone in their grief.
Events take place in tandem with a thoughtful one-on-one mentor match program with caring and responsible community volunteers. Mentorship gives them a strong female role model as they traverse the difficult terrain of grief and as they mature into young adults. All programs and activities are provided at no charge to the family.
"I envisioned an organization that would allow us to talk about the loss of a young mother in our community and ways to offer help to the family that would not be intrusive."
— Cara Belvin, empowerHER Founder
Cara Belvin is passionate about volunteerism. She spent countless hours as a breast cancer advocate, and it was in this role that she saw a need in the community. Her own mother passed away at the young age of 37 after a two-year battle with breast cancer when Cara was just 9 years old. Cara’s extended family and friends assisted in filling the void left behind by this profound loss. empowerHER was formed out the gratitude she felt for all the layers of support her family received growing up – And, now as a mother, she felt it would be as much for these mothers as it would be for these young girls.
She frequently presents on issues surrounding adversity, women’s empowerment, and social entrepreneurship. Cara 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. Her efforts to support young girls have been featured on the ABC Boston Affiliate Channel 5 and on PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff.
- BOARD OF DIRECTORS -
Dolly Di Pesa, President
Managing Partner & CPA
Dipesa & Company CPAs
Erin Devine, Treasurer
Susan Daileader, CFP, CLTC,
Vice President, Financial Advisor
Joan Quealy, RN
Mentor Program Coordinator
Emily Miller, LMHC
Center for Integrative Counseling & Wellness
Michael Rogers, Development
Director of Development
NVNA & Hospice
CEO & Founder
Sue Di Pesa
Jack Conway Realty
Ohrenberger, DeLisi & Harris, LLP
Author, Motherless Daughters
Nobel Weather Associates
Each semester, empowerHER partners with Boston College interns looking forward to a career in the nonprofit sector. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student from another college or university and interested in creating a valuable internship opportunity, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Megan Karcher, University of Massachusetts Amherst Undergraduate
empowerHER welcomed junior economics major Megan Karcher as a digital marketing intern during her winter break. “I grew up in Scituate, MA, and I got involved with empowerHER because as someone who lost their father at a young age, I know how important it is for young people to have others to look up to. I think the idea of empowerHER is inspiring and I am so glad to be a part of it.”
Rachael Villiers, a Psychology graduate from England taking a year out from studying to gain some volunteer and work experience before continuing to Clinical Psychology or venturing to Medicine. Rachael shared "Fortunately, I have close family living in Scituate and was privileged to be offered an internship at empowerHER. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be involved in all the hard work put in behind the scenes to make a difference to so many young girls lives, and I can truly say the experience has inspired me. I hope to return to support empowerHER and live in the USA in the near future!"
Samantha Murphy, Boston College Undergraduate
empowerHER welcomed sophmore Samantha Murphy as a programs intern during her winter break. "I grew up in Scituate, MA and want to be involved with empowerHER because it is making such a difference in our community and beyond. I went to an all-girls high school and through my experiences with my peers, I learned first hand how important it is to empower and support other women in their journeys. In my free time, I like to run, cook, and spend time with my friends and family."
Amelie Lyons, an English and Women & Gender Studies major, served as our Mentor Outreach Coordinator internship and helped to expand our reach like never before. Amelie was born and raised in New York City, which she loves, except for when the subways are being rerouted. She fostered her love of working with non-profits that empower girls over the summer while interning at Girls Write Now and thankfully shared her experience in youth mentorship with empowerHER.
Katie Lindahl, a Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies major, served as our Mentor Program Coordinator and grew our activities and one-on-one mentor program with great enthusiasm. Katie has a passion for combating gender violence and empowering women and previously interned with a number of non-profit organizations in Washington, DC in the areas of fundraising and event-planning. She was involved in mentorship and leadership programs at BC, most notably the Emerging Leader Program for freshmen students.