‘She Can Be Anything’ Celebration Hosted by USO North Carolina Encourages Young Girls Within the Military Community to Follow Their Dreams

During Women’s History Month – March 8, is regarded around the world as International Women’s Day. It’s the day when we celebrate the accomplishments, both big and small of women across the globe, and a perfect day to celebrate with our daughters.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate International Women’s Day, the USO North Carolina Coastal team made it a point to educate and celebrate daughters of service members living on or near the Camp Lejeune, N.C., area by hosting a ‘She Can Be Anything,’ celebration to encourage young girls within the military community to follow their dreams.

The purpose of this event was to encourage our future female leaders of the world that no dream is too big or too small. If they can dream it, they can achieve it.

“Hosting this event was important to ensure young girls in our military community know that nothing can hold them back from reaching their dreams,” said Sara Rizzo, Center Programs Manager, USO NC Coastal area. “I have been so fortunate to have so many strong, passionate, and uplifting women in my life, both personally and professionally, who encouraged me to reach for my own dreams. My hope is the young girls who attended this event left feeling this same way – that everything and anything is possible when women empower women.”

During the ‘She Can Be Anything,’ event, USO staff and volunteers shared complementary copies of the book ‘ABC What She Can Be,’ and all attendees enjoyed crafts, goodies, and inspiration stations to inspire young girls to be whatever they wish to be when they grow up.

“Fostering an environment of learning, creativity, inspiration, and encouragement has had an immeasurable impact on these young participants,” said Rizzo. “Watching parents interact with their children at the inspiration stations, the absolute joy on everyone’s face, is something that cannot be quantified with a survey.”

Attending girls were welcomed to come dressed as what they’d like to be when they grow up; and there was no shortage of doctors, architects, scientists, artists and musicians who attended the celebration. Although this event was geared towards girls ages 3-10, their siblings were more than welcome to join in on the fun as well, while learning about famous women throughout history.

Four-year old Peyton Dudley and her mother Jordan Dudley, enjoyed the afternoon together celebrating the ‘She Can Be Anything’ celebration with USO North Carolina. March 8, 2023. | Photo credit USO Courtesy Photo

When four-year old Peyton Dudley was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she proudly responded – “a paramedic,” following in the footsteps of a close family friend named ‘Aunt Paige,’ who is also a paramedic.

The atmosphere in the room was magical and encouraging, the children were so engaged in all of the careers shared throughout the afternoon, and the daughters and their attending parents all had an enjoyable time celebrating International Women’s Day together.

“It’s important to show them [our daughters] that there’s so many more opportunities besides your standard things that they can do, and to empower them to be powerful women as they continue to grow up,” said Jordan Dudley, mother of Peyton Dudley.

The USO offers programs and services to military children and military families at many of our more than 275 USO locations around the globe. The USO aims to create events that help strengthen military families by bringing them closer together – which can be especially important after a parent’s return home from deployment – or allow military children to meet and connect with other military children their own age.

USO programs for military children can include everything from arts and crafts activities to family game nights, to virtual cooking classes to scavenger hunts.

No matter what activity they are engage with, USO programs are designed to provide military children a fun and safe activity, while enabling them to unleash their creativity, sense of adventure, and to follow their dreams.

“Hopefully, today’s event planted a seed of inspiration, or watered one already planted, that you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up,” said Rizzo.

Military children can always turn to their local USO center as a place of comfort and fun, where they will be surrounded by a supportive community and other military children who understand the unique challenges they face in their lives in the military.

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