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Eagle Valley High School student reaches out to area’s young girls

Johanna Moch wants to help young girls become confident young women. Last year Moch, a senior at Eagle Valley High School, participated in the Eagle Valley Youth Foundation’s “Voices Carry” girls’ empowerment and leadership program. That experience led to the creation of a Web site designed to help middle school girls make the transition to high school with confidence.

Moch and fellow classmate Yanavey An worked together on the “Girl Meets World” project over the course of a year. Half of the time was used for leadership training; and the other half on creation of their project. Now maintained by Moch, the site has been in operation since last May.

“We really wanted to focus on teen girls. It came from the heart. It’s my baby,” said Moch of the site. The Internet site offers visitors

opportunity to seek advice about topics including self confidence and self esteem, boys, grades, and fashion. They can share their fears about peer pressure, sex, and other teen issues. The site includes a page allowing visitors to post poetry, songs, and other creations.

“I was shocked to hear what some of the eighth- graders were experiencing,” said Moch. “Girls are growing up so fast.”

“High school was a real experience. It was different each year and taught me so much. Not everything was fun. It was tough. I wanted to save them or help them relate to what obstacles or trials they might face,” she said.

Moch had to learn a lot of new skills in order to create and maintain the site. Learning to build a Web page was tough. Moch threaded her way through use of HTML codes and page formatting. Then she had to work with the content of the Web site.

“It was tough coming up with what I was going to say. I wanted girls to understand it and want to read it, yet be profound enough to make a difference in their lives,” she said.

She is also getting a crash course in marketing.

Originally, Moch tried to update the site every month. Given time constraints, she now updates the site seasonally and is looking for ways to keep the site going even after she leaves for college. She is currently exploring ways to get the site listed with major search engines to encourage more hits. Moch is considering approaching outside entities or programs to help her keep the site going, and is looking for more experienced computer help in making the site more attractive to young girls.

“I am looking to update the site but I don’t know how to get and keep the attention of young girls. The initial reaction was pretty enthusiastic,” she said. The site was promoted through a presentation at Berry Creek Middle School, and through use of flyers and passing along information to teachers.

The site has also been a launch pad for Moch’s other personal goals.

After putting together the site and hearing about the fears and needs of other young girls, Moch, who will be attending the University of Portland in Oregon, has decided to major in psychology and minor in creative writing.

“I love everything to do with women’s rights; but with psychology, I want to do family and youth counseling,” said Moch.

For more about the Youth Foundation call 926-8905. To visit the Girl Meets World web site, log onto http://geocities.com/girlmeets_world.


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