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Community Spotlight: Sarasota School Empowers Young Women Through Mother/Daughter Book Club


SARASOTA – Temple Beth Sholom (TBS) Schools has launched a unique book club for its fourth grade female students-- a book club that teaches them about popularity, cliques, bullying and confidence with the help of some very special guests: their mothers.


The mother/daughter book club, founded with the intention to empower young women through fostering and building positive relationships, was established after the school realized the importance of enhancing its social-emotional curriculum with special emphasis placed on supporting the unique needs of the upper elementary and middle school population.


Dr. Cheryl Ellerbrock, an assistant professor of education at the University of South Florida, worked with TBS Schools staff to deliver informational meetings to parents, designed specifically for fourth-grade girls and their mothers called the "Empowering Young Women Book Group."


This semester, fourth-grade girls and their mothers met twice monthly to discuss the content of two books: Trevor Romain's Cliques, Phonies, and Other Baloney and Cynthia Lord's Rules. “Upper elementary and middle school students need opportunities to unpack the multitude of changes they are experiencing in their social worlds,” said Dr. Ellerbrock. “This book group is just one example of how TBS Schools is supporting the whole child, especially their social-emotional needs,” she said.


Aireal Young, a local entrepreneur of a successful fitness company, was excited to take part with her daughter, ten-year-old Ava, who attends TBS Schools. Young was enthusiastic about bonding with her daughter, but didn’t fully anticipate the discussion and communication that would result from the book club.


Ava, a bright and extremely well-spoken fourth grade student, was confident in her ability to connect with her mom before the book club, but definitely appreciated the life lessons she learned during the process. “I was more excited than nervous about the book club and sharing my feelings because I knew that my mom would be there to support me, and that the girls in my class would support me because I would support them, too. The books we read had really unique characters, and that helped us see how everyone is different and unique. One of the characters had disabilities, and that shows how everyone communicates in their own way, and we all handle things and react differently,” said Ava Young. Her mom, Aireal, added, “You can’t please everyone. Everyone works through problems differently, and it is important to help empower our children, and teach them how to treat others.”


“I got to be myself, and I didn’t have to hold anything back. We are going through struggles, but we have our moms and our families to help and we don’t have to do it alone. I’ve opened up more to my mom, and we have a great relationship,” Ava shared. Her mom, Aireal, added,” It was so precious to watch her feel comfortable and confident. Because I own my own business, my time and my personal freedom is limited. Our time together is sacred, and this really allowed me to immerse myself in her world. I am so proud she’s had this opportunity to open up, and I’m so glad we’ve had this experience.”


Aireal Young and her daughter, TBS student Ava

About TBS Schools

Temple Beth Sholom (TBS), a Sarasota Preschool to 8th grade private school, is open to all faiths and established its Preschool program in 1974. TBS Schools has been in its current building located at 1050 S. Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota, Florida 34237, since January 1988. The Justin Lee Wiesner Preschool program consists of classes for Baby Play and children up to four years of age. The Goldie Feldman Academy (GFA) was founded in 1992 as an expansion of the Justin Lee Wiesner Preschool. It has continued to grow and flourish under the careful guidance of our administration, dedicated teachers, volunteer leadership, staff, and the demand for excellence from our parents. At GFA, we nurture the whole child as one who is capable of an infinite amount of possibilities. Our caring and qualified staff is committed to helping each student reach his/her full potential. The Goldie Feldman Academy at Temple Beth Sholom is the only private Jewish school in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Justin Lee Wiesner Preschool is accredited by Florida Kindergarten Council. Goldie Feldman Academy is accredited by the Florida Kindergarten Council and the Florida Council of Independent Schools. For more information go to www.tbsschools.org.


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