Milaan Foundation hosts 'Celebration of Girl Leaders'

The Milaan Foundation will host its annual gala at the Gloria Dei Center on the campus of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart.

The Oct. 28 event, "Celebration of Girl Leaders," will highlight the stories of grass-roots adolescent girls in India working to transform their communities by completing a two-year fellowship program, The Girl Icon Fellowship Program.

Started in 2015 by co-founders Alyssa Newlon and Dhirendra Pratap Singh, the Milaan Foundation has a mission to inspire, nurture and amplify the voices of girl leaders as empowered agents of change in their communities and the world.

"We're thrilled that the Milaan Foundation opted to host their gala in our beautiful Gloria Dei Center," Woodlands Academy Head of School Meg Steele said. "Clearly, their mission of empowering young women in India to be agents of change in their communities very closely aligns with the work we do with our students in and out of the classroom."

The evening will include a message from keynote speaker Raka Ray, Ph.D., a professor at Berkley College, and others working to build a world of empowered girl leaders. The evening will include dishes from India and Indian dance performances by Natya Dance Theater.

"Our heart in the U.S. is very much in the Chicago area," Milaan Foundation co-founder Alyssa Newlon said.

"We were so excited when Loren Kateen, our volunteer and intern in Chicago - and a 2013 graduate of Woodlands - introduced us to the beautiful Gloria Dei Center as a possibility for our gala. Finding a venue that was meaningful to our mission, rather than just a beautiful banquet hall, was important to me."

Tickets to this charity community event cost $75 per person, with discounts for couples and youth. All the proceeds will go toward Milaan Foundation's Girl Icon Program. For tickets, visit

Milaan Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, started in 2015, with the mission to inspire, nurture and amplify the voices of girl leaders as empowered agents of change in their communities and the world.

The foundation's flagship program, the Girl Icon Fellowship Program, has received almost 15,000 applications from girls ages 12-18, and currently works with 100 Girl Icon Fellows and 2,000 Peer Girl Icons.

With one in 100 girls in rural India dropping out of school before completing 12th grade, the foundation leadership finds it imperative to work from a grass-roots level upward by activating girl leaders as change agents in their own community.

The fellowship program begins with a leadership and development training and continues on over two years as the fellows complete social action projects in their own communities.

By activating these inspirational leaders, Milaan Foundation's efforts work to tackle early child marriage, secondary school dropout, unpaid labor, and reproductive health and hygiene issues.

For more information about the Girl Icon Fellowship, visit

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