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'I AM Retreat' seeks to empower females

February 14, 2011

Kathy Oakland, instructor, Department of Teaching, 319-273-2591,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Research shows that students who are involved in the arts are more motivated, focused and creative. The upcoming "I AM Retreat" will give 45 East and West High School females the opportunity to tap into their creativity by participating in art and personal development workshops.

The retreat will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, in the Schindler Education Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus and from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, at Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church, 1044 Mobile St. in Waterloo.

Saturday's workshops will include "My Vision, My Plan, My Future," "Let’s Talk About Sex and Body Image" and "Financial Planning and Budgeting." The additional workshops will cover topics such as fashion, dance, music, acting and fine arts. A reception/celebration will follow from 7 to 10 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. On Sunday, participants will attend a church service, which will be followed by lunch and an open mic session.

UNI and the Waterloo Community Schools partnered with the Suber-Sallis Foundation of Arts and Humanity to bring this event to the Cedar Valley for this empowering retreat. Monifa Samora Suber, creator of, and Nicole Sallis, an East High Waterloo graduate, formed the foundation to help youth enrich their minds and spirits through creative and artistic programs.

"The 'I AM Retreat' will assist in the transformation of young female minds through the process of planning and executing their dreams while instilling a foundation of professionalism, self-empowerment and integrity through artistic and personal development workshops," said Sallis.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Kathy Oakland at 319-231-7174.