girlPower NJ |The willPower Method®

willPower for girlPower®: affecting change

In my first post, I expressed excitement when the Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, NJ adopted The willPower for girlPower® program. Now, my goal as a passionate educator, is to develop willPower for girlPower® beyond an activity. I want to instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

I opened the first girlPower® session with healthy nutrition, encouraging each girl to eat a banana. (I brought them in for less than $5!) I explained that bananas are light enough to eat before workouts, and how potassium fuels muscles… and they obliged with a smile.  We moved on to “Why Barefoot”  – as I knew the girls have been guided by the media – and the “need for shoes”. They looked down at their naked feet awkwardly as they tapped and wiggled toes, rocked and rolled ankles; provoking laughter; a nervous reaction to fear. Clumsiness continued through our full body warm-up, but there was a buildup of excitement – they knew they were awakening parts of their bodies they never had before. As we moved into the workout, I turned the music up, and they became more comfortable and fluid.  Finally, I exhaled deeply. (This is working!)

We wrap up girlPower sessions with “Footnotes” – a time to reflect and share in writing and discussion. I learned that they were “grateful for bananas”, and “loving all of it”.  I smiled at comments from one young barefoot skeptic who did not like the toe taps. One student wrote to me “I already love this class. I hope it will build up my confidence and the motivation I need to push myself to be happy. Thank you for caring about us so much”.

The next day the girls wore their sore muscles like a badge of honor, arriving to school talking about their thighs, butts, and, more importantly, their posture and how they felt taller.

Session two brought more smiles, bananas, synchronicity, and a student photographer.  The young women flowed beautifully and I felt compelled to dive deeper into willPower philosophy. The Word of the Week was patience, so we discussed patience in movement; lengthening their muscles instead of locking joints. We pondered patience in life: with family, friends, boyfriends, school and tedious tasks.

And so we moved forward.  I’ve encouraged the girls to bring more “willPower” into their lives, after referencing this word with exercise and with daily living. The young women defined grace as “how elegantly we carry ourselves”. Several girls described managing a sticky situation with grace. As a group, we’ve discussed the importance of regular exercise, hydration, and smart nutrition for a healthy, fit body, and a sharp mind. These young women have also mastered our girlPower mantra “I’m strong, I’m confident, and I can do anything I set my mind to.”

It’s happening!  The girls understand that this is more than “just” a physical exercise class. My school is recognizing the effects as well. willPower for girlPower® is now accepted as an official Student Activity (an important part of their transcripts for college applications).

I am more convinced than ever that high school aged girls will truly benefit from the all the positive philosophies that The willPower Method® offers adults around the world. Our kids are smart – and we have an opportunity to change the course of their lives through healthy teaching.

For more information about success at my school, please contact me at:

Tracy Vicente

Tracy is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Level 3 willPower & grace® instructor, and a contributor to the willPower for girlPower!® program. She is a full-time Advertising Art & Design instructor and shares the willPower programs with faculty, staff, and students. Tracy is certified in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. With a dominantly raw, plant-based diet, she hopes to help those seeking optimal performance and vibrant health.


  1. Christina
    Thursday, November 29th, 2012 at 3:53 pm ·

    Super-inspirational! And beautifully written. Thanks so much for sharing. (willPower intern)

  2. Brianne
    Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 at 2:57 am ·

    Tracy, your story is inspirational. It’s wonderful to hear that you’ve had a positive response from the girls.! It fuels me to realize one of MY long-held dreams, which is to bring my program (FemFusion Fitness) to teen girls in my local area (US military bases in Germany). I have a workshop planned for winter break…. If it goes well, and I decide to continue with a more regularly scheduled program for girls, I will be contacting you for tips/advice! .

  3. Cindy Frary
    Cindy Frary
    Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 7:55 pm ·

    Tracy your dream is coming true and I am SO pleased for you! I very clearly remember our first telephone conversation to review your Phase I evaluation. During that call you told me how you would someday like to see the willPower program be available to young girls. You are living that dream! Congratulations-all of your hard work in helping to bring girlPower to life has paid off.

  4. Tracy Vicente
    Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 6:30 pm ·

    Thank you so much for the kind words you two! I cannot even explain all the personal reasons why this program means so much to me, too many to mention. It is so worthwhile to do this. Laura, these girls won’t even touch the time your amazing tweens hit on that plank challenge (though they are practicing – at least they say they are, LOL!). You have done some serious magic with them and it inspired me so much!

  5. Laura Fielding
    Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 6:14 pm ·

    I am so poud of you! The article is great but more importantly, the program is working for your students. It is great to see how different age groups respond to the program. My experience has been with the 9-13 year olds. I can’t wait to work with older teens.

  6. Tracy
    Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 5:59 pm ·

    Tracy, this is amazingly inspiring!!! I would love to emulate what you have done at your school when I return to mine next year. Thank you for sharing!