Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament Hosts Girls Summit

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Big Ten Conference, Indiana Sports Corp, Give an Hour Indiana, Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, Indiana Fever, Marion County Public Health Department, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana Department of Education, and Drug Free Marion County are teaming up to host the Give an Hour IPS Real Girls Feel Summit tomorrow at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Summit’s focus will be aimed at introducing elementary school girls to positive role models who will educate the students about healthy habits that promote emotional wellbeing.

Approximately 100 girls will attend the Summit at Bankers Life Fieldhouse from IPS elementary schools, Floro Torrence School 83 and Meredith Nicholson School 96.

“Give an Hour is thrilled to work with its partners to educate elementary school girls about the five signs of emotional suffering, the risks of harm from youth illegal drug use, and the five healthy habits of emotional wellbeing,” said Suzanne Clifford, Senior Advisor of Give an Hour Indiana.

The Real Girls Feel programming is an interactive, culturally and trauma responsive program that promotes wellbeing and healthy habits for elementary school girls in selected Indianapolis Public Schools. The program teaches and promotes emotional well-being through the Change Direction campaign which encourages everyone to know the Five Signs of emotional suffering and to pay attention to our emotional well-being just as we do our physical health.

“We are excited to collaborate and advocate for a healthier, safer Marion County through prevention and education to reduce substance abuse among youth and adults,” said Michaelangelo McClendon, Interim Executive Director, Drug Free Marion County.

The summit will feature the older girls in the weekly Real Girls Feel program who will teach the younger girls what they have learned. In addition, they will have the opportunity to hear from several speakers, including a Big Ten Conference representative, IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson, and Natalie Achonwa of the Indiana Fever on the topic of mental health. The girls have developed questions to ask Natalie about how to cope with feeling nervous or stressed, helping friends who are having a hard time, etc.

“Talking openly about healthy behaviors and empowering young girls to take control is a great way to equip them for success in school and relationships,” said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department.

Closing out the program, participants will also meet some “Girl Bosses” from our community including Executive Director of the Women’s Fund Jennifer Pope Baker, Chief of Staff and General Counsel for The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County Tavonna Harris Askew, and Director of the Marion County Public Health Department Dr. Virginia Caine. The speakers and programming are aimed to open the eyes of the girls to realize the different career paths that are available, and if “they see it, they can be it”. Following the Summit, the girls will get to enjoy a second round game at the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament.

“We are excited to address and build awareness surrounding mental health during the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament,” said Jennifer Pope Baker. “It’s vital that girls of all ages have access to mental health resources and role models in the community they admire.”

The 2020 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse takes place March 4-8 and marks the 23rd time in the event’s 27-year history it has resided in the Circle City. All 14 teams from the Big Ten Conference will be traveling to Indianapolis to battle it out on the hardwood to claim the conference tournament title. For a complete list Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament ancillary events and ticket information visit or the Tournament Central page


About Indiana Sports Corp Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit

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