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Released June 17, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Helping young women learn the skills needed to become successful community leaders is the focus of a new book written by a University of Southern Mississippi gifted studies professor and one of her former students.

Dr. Frances Karnes, director of the Karnes Center for Gifted Studies, and Dr. Kristen Stephens, coordinator of educational outreach with Duke University's Talent Identification Program, are the authors of "Empowered Girls: A Girl's Guide to Positive Activism, Volunteering and Philanthropy," recently published by Prufrock Press.

"This book is intended to be both a handbook for involvement and empowerment and an inspirational guide for young women wanting to make a difference," Karnes said.

Karnes and Stephens offer solid reasons for young women to be actively involved in their community as well as strategies and methods for getting involved. In addition, the book offers advice on how to be a positive activist, includes profiles of girls who are involved in leading their community and contains resources ranging from funding sources to organizations that are seeking volunteers.

Twenty-seven young women, some from Mississippi, and their accomplishments are featured in the book, including Victoria Copland of Clinton, who collected and sent pens and school supplies to Bosnia; Shireen Dogar of Madison, who volunteered to create a school flowerbed; Amy Dykman of Brandon, who collected teddy bears for those impacted by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; Nicole Fortenberry of Hattiesburg, who also collected teddy bears for the Forrest County Sheriff's Department; Amanda Napier of Petal, who volunteered at an animal shelter; and Megan Tidwell of Pontotoc, who participated in a volunteer project emphasizing the importance of breast cancer awareness.

"Dr. Karnes' work to help young women become effective leaders in our community is invaluable, and this new book is a testament to her desire to bring out the best in all young people to make our world a better place," said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames.

For more information, contact the Frances Karnes Center for Gifted Studies at (601) 266-5246.


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June 21, 2004 1:41 PM