Victoria Pettibone & Sasha Eden
WET’s Risk Takers Series
Close your eyes when talking to Victoria Pettibone and Sasha Eden and you would be hard–pressed to tell the two women apart. Little wonder. The founders of the acclaimed non–profit WET Productions, have been friends since they were teens in New York.
Today, the organization’s free, city–wide media literacy and leadership program, WET’s Risk Takers Series, uses film as a launching pad for discussion. The program is designed to bolster girls’ self–esteem, providing them with leadership tools, and valuable information on their health and well being.
The ultimate goal? To help girls take empowered steps to make their dreams come true.
For six Saturdays over six months, more than one hundred and fifty girls from approximately 80 schools walk through the doors at 9 a.m. and screen films about women or girls being brave. Whether they’re settling in with The Breakfast Club (Ally Sheedy visited that day) or North Country (Frances McDormand fielded questions after the screening) the girls are encouraged to think critically about topics ranging from domestic abuse to suicide, and from teen pregnancy to overwhelming peer pressure.
Following the screening, they break into small groups of eight or twelve, lead by adult mentors with a background in teaching, guidance and psychology for teens. Feeling safe and protected, girls have an opportunity to open up about their own lives and explore negative feelings and problems that seem insurmountable and dampen their self esteem.
"We tell the girls, ‘Here is your chance to be that person you know you are inside. Here’s a place where you will learn how to be true to yourself,’" says Sasha. "When you decide to take empowered risks to be your true self, amazing things can happenâ€”your dreams become your reality."