SoCal Women & Girls Gather for 'Discovering Your Best Self' Retreat

March 21, 2013

On March 9, more than 75 women and girls gathered for a special day-long retreat at New Horizon School in Irvine, CA on "Discovering Your Best Self." MPAC teamed up with the Islamic Center of Irvine and New Horizon to create a unique event where women and girls could experience a supportive environment to reflect on their lives and voices as they explore self-esteem, media images, speaking with confidence and health and nutrition. 

"This is a day to remind ourselves of who we are as women and recognize the power we have within," said Marium Mohiuddin, MPAC's Communications Coordinator and one of the event's organizers. "Too many times we see more negative than positive images of Muslim women, and it can be a disheartening reminder of how we are percieved. This day was intended to provide a platform for the opposite; an opportunity to re-discover the positive images around us. I was amazed to see how this day came together and to see mothers and daughters and women and girls engaged in discussion on how we can alter perceptions on our own. I wish I could have attended such a retreat as a young girl." 

The retreat attendees were split into four age groups, and participated in engaging workshops about healthy living, fitness, self esteem, media literacy and speaking with confidence.  The workshops were led by a talented group of Muslim women: marriage and family counselors Noha AlshugairiMunira Ezzeldine and Metra Salem; Edina Lekovic of MPAC; Amina Makhdoom, a high performance trainer and inspirational speaker; Deana Nassar, MPAC's Hollywood Liaison; and Hoda Shawky, a pediatric nurse practitioner. Noreen Rahman, Program Services Manager at Girls Inc., served as the keynote speaker.

Attendees learned more about their speaking style and the impact it can have, which foods are the best and the worst, how physical activities like yoga promote well-being, and how media images affect our self-image. Many walked away saying that the retreat gave them time to pause and reflect upon the decisions they are making and are affecting their lives. 

If you are interested in hosting this type of retreat for your community, please email or call Edina Lekovic, MPAC's Director of Policy and Programming, at or 323.258.6722. 

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