Charlotte Wasserman wanted to be a resource to fellow teenage girls.
She knew how difficult it was to grow up in an era filled with social media influence and to feel pressure to be a certain way while balancing school and extracurriculars.
She wanted to change that.
A few years back as a sixth grader, she created a light-hearted blog, “It’s a Girl’s Life,” for teen girls to read about food, fashion and fun.
To go one step further in 2018, she teamed up with the San Diego nonprofit GRACEDBYGRIT foundation she found through her blog to create GET GRITTY Cleveland, an event where girls learned about the importance of a growth mindset, resilience, grit and finding a supportive team.
After finding success with the first GET GRITTY Cleveland event she planned, Charlotte’s second event – planned along with GRACEDBYGRIT and Charlotte’s mom, Hallie – is back to teach girls how to be their best selves through lecturers, discussions and presentations. GET GRITTY takes place Feb. 1 at RedSpace in downtown Cleveland. And Charlotte, who did a majority of the event’s planning, is just 16.
“I believe it’s really nice to be able to help girls and give them resources to be able to take into their everyday lives because being a teen in today’s environment is pretty tough with a huge social media influence,” Charlotte said. “All the constant technology and struggling with academics and athletics and then social experiences you do outside of schools is really challenging, so if I could be able to provide any support or help to these girls that I know were feeling the same way – that would be so cool.”
This year’s theme devised by Charlotte is “mind, body and heart,” and it tackles what a growth mindset is, how to make small changes for a big difference, using self care and wellness and learning confidence and courage in leadership. The speakers, all brought in by Charlotte, include keynote by Lindsay Gottlieb, assistant basketball coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Dr. Tira Stebbins, clinical psychologist; Allison Meyer, creator of online storytelling platform “Never, Ever Give Up Cleveland” and “Letters of Hope” project; Sindy Warren, life coach, yoga instructor, lawyer and author; Nikki Lang, yoga instructor; and Abigail Taft, registered dietitian, nutritionist and author. All girls in grades seven to 11 are invited to sign up.
“I wanted to do this theme because it was important for girls to be able to take what we talked about in the event regarding mind, body and heart and then adapt it and use it in their own life,” Charlotte said. “So I thought that if you learned about a growth mindset, how to keep your body healthy and how to have passion, you could be able to combine what you learned and take it with you in your everyday life experiences and journey and so forth.”
Last year’s event attracted 115 girls through word-of-mouth and social media posts, and because of this year’s addition of a now 25-member teen board to help market and fund raise for the event, Charlotte’s hopeful for a turnout similar if not greater in size.
This year, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital reached out to Charlotte to partner up for GET GRITTY Cleveland 2020 and additional sponsors followed. The money raised will go toward a college scholarship for a Cleveland-area teenager who has overcome adversity through an application process selected by the GRACEDBYGRIT foundation, as well as to UH’s Children’s Hospital’s adolescent program and for paying the fees of the space.
Between balancing 10th grade at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, working on the school’s Grow Foundation, taking ICNext at @Akiva, theater, writing her blog, attending Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike, and maintaining some kind of social life, Charlotte says her life was hectic before taking on GET GRITTY Cleveland as both the planner and participant. But with everything on her plate, she couldn’t help but smile.
“I really like doing this – it’s not a job,” Charlotte said. “I find it really fun and entertaining to be able to learn about how to put on an event or how to reach out to people and ask if they’re interested in speaking at my event or if they’re interested in just sharing the event with others. Planning the event and writing my blog has kind of shaped who I am.”
The Cleveland Jewish News is a media sponsor of the event.