Free Her-Self Awareness workshop focuses on ‘The Power of Connection’

Donna Cimarelli is hoping to fill an upcoming Her-Self Awareness workshop called the Power of Connection with young women ages 13 to 17 who want to learn how to stay safe and be mindful of dangers in society.
The workshop is free for up to 21 girls, and will take place Tuesday, July 23, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Star Factory, 3520 Main Street, Stratford.
Check in will start at 10:30 a.m.
The Her-Self Awareness program was established by the Maren Sanchez Home Foundation, which Cimarelli founded in memory of her daughter, Maren Sanchez. Maren was the victim of an attack at her high school in 2014, and the foundation aims to empower young women to protect themselves.
The foundation runs a Her-Self Defense Class, a two-hour self-defense course for young women, and a Her-Self Awareness Lecture to educate youth and parents on critical safety measures. The foundation also recently kicked off an outreach program called Maren’s Magical Moments, which aims to spread joy through special events.
The July workshop is new and is the first that the foundation is offering, featuring speakers on a range of subjects.
“This is designed so girls ages 13 to 17 can get information they’ve never gotten before,” said Cimarelli. “It really is to raise awareness.”
The keynote speaker will be Dr. David Bernstein, a forensic psychologist and owner of Forensic Consultants.
“A leading expert in his field, Dr. Bernstein has consulted with numerous law enforcement agencies and has appeared on many television and radio programs,” according to the event program.
Guest speakers include Diane Frankel-Gramelis and Cat Davis.
Frankel-Gramelis is a public health practice manager at Yale University and an adjunct educator at Southern Connecticut State University. She has been designing health and wellness programs for more than 30 years, promoting wellness and living a healthy lifestyle through education, mentoring and being a positive role model.
Davis is a trauma therapist at the Post Traumatic Stress Center of New Haven, and the director of the ALIVE Program, which offers a school-based public health approach aimed at mitigating the effects of stress. She is featured in a documentary called, “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and Science of Hope.”
The workshop will end with yoga, led by Traci Weber.
Weber is a yoga instructor who says that yoga saved her life. She runs her own business, WalkAboutYoga, specializing in using yoga to cope with trauma.
“Through creating a safe space with an emphasis on synchronizing the breath with movement, Traci helps you flow with more ease and grace while deepening your physical and spiritual practice,” according to the program.
Parents are welcome to stay for the keynote address.
The workshop will include a continental breakfast provided by The Pantry of Fairfield. The foundation will provide lunch.
Each girl will receive a one-of-a-kind journal created especially for the foundation, Cimarelli said.
To register contact Cimarelli at