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Girls Support Network


Our fabulous girl power programs are open to ALL middle school girls in Orange County! 

Meeting Place:

Mission Lutheran Church
Mission Hall
24360 Yosemite Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Get Directions


2015/16 Programs:

GSN's regular programming will be on hiatus for the 2015/16 school year.

2014/15 Programs:

6th/7th Grade Program ~ 2014/15 (back to top)

Meeting Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Format: The 6th/7th grade meetings begin in a large group format, seated theater-style, as we welcome the girls, recite our House Rule, and give any updates and announcements.  We then move on to fun large group games.  Next, we invite our evening's guest speaker to give their interactive presentation on that night's Hot Topic.  When our speaker is finished, we move into small groups seated on the floor on comfy pink blankets for small group discussions, activities, and journal time.  After small groups, we enjoy refreshments before adjourning for the night.

  1. Friday, September 12, 2014 ~ Guest Speakers: Cindy Gideon & Amber Guzzetta
    to our Kick-Off Celebration!  GSN’s Cindy & Amber host an evening filled with fun, games, and new friends!  We’ll get that self-esteem pumped up and unleash the
    girl power within, as we embark on a new middle school year together! 
  2. Friday, October 10, 2014 ~ Guest Speaker: Deborah S. Reisdorph, Esq.
    When you set your own personal boundaries with strength, confidence, and character, you know exactly when those boundaries have been crossed! Join us as Ms. Deborah teaches us how to determine our own personal boundaries and put them in place in order to protect ourselves against bullying and other unwanted behavior.

  3. Friday, November 14, 2014 ~ Guest Speaker: Erin Runnion
    Get ready to be BRAVE!  Ms. Erin comes to GSN to present her exciting new personal safety empowerment program, BRAVE. This interactive workshop will teach us important safety lessons that include verbal and physical skills to defend ourselves, and will empower us to make brave, safe, and healthy choices.  
  4. Friday, December 12, 2014 ~ Guest Speaker: Gracie Doran
    December is Girls Give Back month as we launch our 4th Annual CHOC Toy Drive to benefit the kids at Children's Hospital of Orange County! And 15-year-old guest speaker Gracie Doran will share her experiences as a stroke survivor and why it's so important to give back.
  5. Friday, January 9, 2015 ~ Guest Speaker: Carly Ketchum
    Flip through any magazine today and you'll see beautiful women gracing the glossy pages looking fabulously flawless.  Or could it be fake?  Ms. Carly gives us the real scoop on today's media and the negative impact it's having on girls, in an effort to prevent body image issues and eating disorders. 
  6. Friday, February 20, 2015 ~ Guest Speaker: Marissa Presley
    Love is in the air this time of year, but do you know what a healthy relationship looks like?  In this age-appropriate proactive presentation, Ms. Marissa talks about the necessary components of a healthy relationship and gives us tips on how to recognize the red flags and resolve conflicts with others.  Please Note: This talk contains factual information on real cases of teen dating violence. No graphic materials will be shown. Parents are welcome to attend.
  7. Friday, March 13, 2015 ~ Guest Speaker: Aneta Dorhout
    Being a good student and getting good grades is very important for our future.  But school and studying can be tough!  Join us as college professor Ms. Aneta teaches us the tools and tips we need to be successful students. 

  8. Friday, April 17, 2015 ~ Guest Speaker: Deputy Clay Cranford 
    In elementary school, we learned about the dangers of drugs and alcohol during programs like Red Ribbon Week and 5th Grade Drug Ed.  Yet some of us still choose to experiment with these unhealthy substances in middle school, putting our futures at risk.  Deputy Cranford comes to remind us why we should stay away from drugs and alcohol and practice healthy habits instead, so we can achieve all our dreams.

  9. Friday, May 8, 2015 ~ Guest Speakers: Cindy Gideon & Amber Guzzetta
    GSN’s Cindy & Amber take us back in time as we review all the meetings from this past year and all the great stuff we've learned!  We'll then turn our focus on the future as
    we write letters to “Our Future Selves” and work on our annual pledge board, all while learning what's to come as we get ready for the transition into our next year of
    middle school.

To print the 6th/7th grade schedule, click here.

8th Grade Program & Outreach ~ 2014/15 (back to top)

Meeting Time: 8:00pm - 9:00pm

Format: The 8th grade meetings are designed to be "one large small group."  In this smaller group format, girls are given the opportunity to dive deeper into the issues that are affecting them, develop closer friendships with each other, and be mentored by our dynamic and skilled Program Leaders.  We also spend time with fun activities, games, and journaling before enjoying refreshments and adjourning for the night.

  1. Friday, September 12, 2014 ~ Topic: Friendship

    Friends are more than just the people we sit with at lunch.  They are the people we confide in, the people we put our trust in, and often they become our role models.  Friends are very important and make a huge difference in our lives, and that is something to celebrate!  Come chat about your friends, make some new ones, and
    learn how to maintain healthy friendships.

    September Service Project: We will be cooking dinner for the residents at
    The Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach! Saturday, September 13th at 4:30pm.

  2. Friday, October 10, 2014 ~ Topic: Following Your Dreams

    If If we asked you right now what you want to be when you grow up, or where you see yourself in ten years, we bet you would come up with some pretty awesome answers –
    a rocket scientist, a time traveler, the first female president… and why not??  Now is the time to dream big and reach for the stars!  We believe in your dreams and want to help show you how to reach them.

    October Service Project: We will be hosting a public screening of the acclaimed international girl power film, Girl Rising in Mission Hall at MLC! Friday, October 17th
    at 6:15pm.

  3. Friday, November 14, 2014 ~ Topic: Gratitude

    We have so much to be thankful for, every single one of us!  Even when it feels like nothing is going our way, we can find something to be grateful for.  Seeing the good is important and helps us live happier lives.  Come learn how to find that silver lining even on our worst days.

    November Service Project: We will be distributing Thanksgiving food baskets to the needy at Families Forward in Irvine! Saturday, November 22nd at 11:15am.

  4. Friday, December 12, 2014 ~ Topic: Giving Back

    With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of why we give, and how to receive gifts well.  All of us come from different families with different incomes, values, and traditions, but we can all agree that receiving a thoughtful gift feels great! Join us as we discuss the art of giving.

    December Service Project: We will be collecting and delivering toys and gifts to the children and families at the Ronald McDonald House in Orange! Saturday,
    December 20th at 11am.

  5. Friday, January 9, 2015 ~ Topic: New Year, New You

    The New Year is about starting fresh and moving forward!  So let’s talk about resolutions and new routines that will help us be healthy, happy, and empowered girls.  We will discuss setting new goals, implementing systems to achieve those goals, and how we can support each other as a community.

    January Service Project: We will be an all-girl organization helping another all-girl organization as we go on special assignment at Girls Inc. in Costa Mesa!  Saturday, January 17th at 10am.  updated 5/7/14

  6. Friday, February 20, 2015 ~ Topic: Love & Beauty

    Love isn't just meant for others, it's meant for you, too!  Often times we forget how important it is to love and appreciate ourselves and all that we are capable of.  Come learn how to see the true beauty that exists in every single one of us.

    February Service Project: We will be holding a bake sale to raise money for
    Laura's House during their annual Teen Dating Violence Awareness event in Tustin! Friday, February 6th at 5pm.

  7. Friday, March 13, 2015 ~ Topic: Community Awareness

    What’s up Orange County??  Do you know?  I mean, do you really know what’s going on in our area?  There are some amazing causes, events, and opportunities happening all over the place, right under our noses!  This month we will bring awareness to those causes, and shed some light on the ways in which we can help bring about positive change in our community.

    March Service Project: We will be hosting a March Birthday Party for the residents at the OC Rescue Mission in Tustin! Friday, March 20th at 5pm. 
    updated 8/14/14

  8. Friday, April 17, 2015 ~ Topic: Environment

    We only have one earth, so let’s take care of it!  Come and learn about the environment and the impact that we have on it.  We will be sharing with you all the ways you can get involved this Earth Day, and brainstorming ways we can lower our carbon footprint.

    April Service Project: We will be participating in the Laguna Niguel Earth Day Celebration by planting, weeding, and cleaning up the Niguel Botanical Preserve! Saturday,
    April 25th at 8:30am. Please Note Date Change: Saturday, April 18th at 8:30am.   updated  2/4/15

  9. Friday, May 8, 2015 ~ Topic: Graduation

    Congratulations!  You're graduating GSN and Middle School!  Time to celebrate!  Join us as we take a look back at our year together and celebrate the positive impact we've had on ourselves, each other, and our community.  We'll then turn our focus on the future as we engage in a High School Q&A, all while sharing bits of advice as we send you on your way to your amazing future as a truly empowered girl!!

    May Service Project: We hope this past year has impacted you as much as it has us!  We loved traveling with you on your journey through middle school.  For your final act of service this year, we'd like you to take a look back at our year together and see how far you've come and what you've learned.  We invite you to then write down your fondest memories and favorite lessons in a final letter to "Your Future Self," and create your final pledges for our pledge board.  We are SO proud of you, and we hope to see you back next year as a GSN High School Volunteer!! 

Please Note: Dates and times for service projects are subject to change depending on the needs of the organizations we serve. Notification of any changes will be sent via email in the weeks prior to each event.

We Sign For Service Hours!  Do you need community service hours for a middle school award, club, or ASB? 
Our Volunteer Coordinator will be happy to sign for the hours you put in for our service projects!

To print the 8th Grade/Outreach schedule, click here.

Girl Rising Public Screening (back to top

GSN is hosting a public screening of the acclaimed international
girl power film, Girl Rising
 on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 7pm!

Mission Lutheran Church
Mission Hall
24360 Yosemite Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Get Directions

Tickets are $5 each and available through Eventbrite:

All proceeds go toward the Girl Rising Fund and GSN's Community Outreach Program.

Everyone is welcome!  Tell your friends!
We look forward to seeing you for an inspiring night of girl power!

More on the film:

Girl Rising is a groundbreaking film, directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, which tells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers and narrated by 9 renowned actresses.  Girl Rising showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world.  This film is rated PG-13 and runs 1:41.  Watch the trailer here

Voice performances by:

Anne Hathaway
Cate Blanchett
Selena Gomez
Liam Neeson
Priyanka Chopra
Chloe Moretz
Freida Pinto
Salma Hayek
Meryl Streep
Alicia Keys
Kerry Washington


High School Volunteer Program (back to top)

Come help us empower middle school girls while gaining valuable leadership experience and service hours for high school, college, and resumes! 

Volunteers serve as mentors to our middle school girls and lead small groups during our monthly meetings.  We encourage program participants to return as volunteers once they have graduated from our program. 

Volunteer candidates must apply and be approved through our volunteer application screening process.  To download the application, click here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Pearl Cotliar Award (back to top)

GSN is honored to present the Pearl Cotliar Award!
The Pearl Cotliar Award is in loving memory of Pearl Ruth Cotliar of
Newport Beach, California, who passed away on December 24, 2011. 

Pearl's character and life reflected the core values of GSN, and we are deeply
honored to be a part of this very special award generously donated by The Cotliar Family. 

To download the PCA 2015 application, click here. ***Application period is now closed***

Congratulations to the 2015 Pearl Cotliar Award Winner,
Eve Viramontes!

Congratulations to the 2014 Pearl Cotliar Award Winner,
Sabrina Horn!

About Pearl Cotliar:

Pearl Cotliar was a woman with strong morals.  She was committed to her husband and her family, as well as her faith and community.  She stressed the value of education, both secular and religious, and taught her children to be honest, kind, and respectful of others.  She believed in the importance of individuality, and she encouraged her children to believe in themselves.  Pearl never gave in to other people’s expectations.  Instead, she was committed
to being true to herself, and taught her children to do the same.  Throughout her life, Pearl put the needs of others ahead of her own.  When her father passed away, a young Pearl went to work helping to support her mother and brother.  When she was married, she supported her husband George as he rose through the ranks at the Los Angeles Times to become
managing editor, while also raising their two children, David and Sharon.  Pearl also believed in the importance of giving back, and worked countless hours helping to build the religious school curriculum at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach.  Pearl Cotliar embodied the values of
Girls Support Network because she was a strong, independent woman who believed in herself, and because of that, she was able to help her family and her community thrive. 

 Pearl Cotliar Award 



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