LEWISTON — Allison Melangton believes too many Maine girls dream too small.

Not that thatt was ever her problem.

The one-time Edward Little High School gymnast from Auburn, now 51, has worked at eight Olympic games, earned four Emmy awards and wears a diamond-covered Super Bowl ring as big as a walnut.

“Your limitations are in your own mind,” Melangton said. “I want to encourage young women to dream bigger.”

Melangton’s message was meant to launch a new program at the YWCA of Central Maine.

It’s called “Aspiring Girls.”

The program aims to awaken ambition in girls.

The first three parts will connect girls with successful women, give them a safe forum to talk about improving themselves, and supply them with readings and discussion to help them broaden their goals.

“Our aim is helping girls realize their dreams, to take risks, to challenge them to think and empower them to believe that they can reach their dreams, no matter the obstacles they face,” Kathy Durgin-Leighton, the YWCA’s executive director, said.

Melangton’s speech — the program’s launch — drew about 50 kids and dozens of adults Monday afternoon despite warnings of a storm that was wet, windy and spooky.

“I grew up just like you guys,” Melangton said. Yet, at 51, she has the resume of a successful woman.

After graduating from Colorado State University with a sports administration degree, she went to work for USA Gymnastics. Through them, she directed both national and international events.

She also began her work as an assistant producer for TV’s coverage of gymnastics at the Olympics. In 2008, she was named CEO and president of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. She currently serves as the president of Indiana Sports Corp.

Melangton had a few simple pointers for the kids who attended the YWCA talk.

Study math. Learn history. And read, read, read.

None came easy to her. They were skills she’d learned over time. They might seem useless to someone in school, but they feed her working life as an adult, she said.

More importantly, she has made a habit of making good choices.

“You start with what to wear and what to eat,” she said. “As you get older into high school, your decisions get harder. You’re going to make decisions on who to date and what friends to hang out with.

“The more you make good, healthy decisions, the easier it gets,” she said.

The payoff is an ability to help people.

During her tenure with the Super Bowl, she helped target $154 million in investment to Indianapolis’ Near Eastside project and guided dozens of programs that helped people, from the delivery of gift baskets to children at hospitals in each of 32 NFL cities to a fundraiser for breast cancer to the creation of a women’s fund.

It can happen in a small scale, at a high school basketball game or concert, she said.

“Every time you do something for your community, you have causes you can help,” she said.

Those accomplishments are what give the work meaning, Melangton said.

“It’s the things that you do with your heart,” she said.

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