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Launch of Diva Connection Magazine helps student attend Juilliard

Nina Grollman, left, and Izzy Marcil perform Friday at the Diva Connection Magazine launch at the Level Two bar at the Radisson in downtown Fargo. David Samson / The Forum1 / 2
Diva Connection founder Chris Linnares, right, greets Margie Bailly on Friday at the Diva Connection Magazine launch at the Level Two bar at the Radisson in downtown Fargo. David Samson / The Forum2 / 2

FARGO - Nina Grollman, of Moorhead, is still in shock that she's been accepted into Juilliard.

"It is one of the most surreal, humbling experiences in the world," she said.

Grollman plans to study acting at New York City's premiere performing arts conservatory, but to attend, the Moorhead High School senior expects to pay $55,000 a year for tuition, room, board, living expenses and books.

While she has scholarships and is taking out student loans, Grollman was still about $6,000 short for her first year's expenses and didn't know how she would cover it.

"It would put a big strain on my family to try to meet this need," she said.

Then, with the help of a friend, Grollman discovered the Diva Connection Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting women who need help with women able to give it.

"It's such an amazing organization, the way it's set up," she said. "I just love the idea of putting something out there and getting something back."

Grollman has been singing at various Diva Connection events, and the foundation held a launch party Friday to premiere its new magazine and raise money to help Grollman pay her tuition.

"I'm giving what I can: the gift of music," Grollman said. "And these women are helping me. There's nothing quite like it in the community."

During the Diva Connection Magazine launch, Grollman and her friend, Izzy Marcil, performed together. One of the songs they sang was called "Give Me Your Hand," written by Marcil and her stepmom, Chris Linnares, Diva Connection Foundation founder.

Linnares said her daughter, who has been accepted to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, felt horrible that her friend didn't have the money she needed to attend Juilliard and wanted to put on a concert to help her.

Linnares suggested they perform during the launch party. While Diva Connection doesn't give direct donations, people were able to make contributions to Grollman during the party and connect with her later through the Diva Connection website,

"What we are doing for Nina is more than just helping a girl," Linnares said. "It's truly helping her to make an impact in the future."

The purpose of Diva Connection Magazine is to expand the mission of the Diva Connection Foundation by using connections for social change, Linnares said.

"We had more than a website to help women's needs, we had a cause and a mission we wanted to expand," she said. "We want to help women overcome their limitations and change competition to compassion."

Just helping one girl can change the world because women who improve their lives are more likely to give back to their communities, she said.

"The more women we help with their individual needs, the more they are going to give back and the more we are going to truly change poverty in the world," Linnares said.

Stephanie Grollman, Nina's mother, said the community's support for her daughter has been incredible.

"The community has supported her morally for so many years. And now everybody is stepping out there one more time to make this happen for Nina and it's just wonderful," she said.

The special-edition magazine is being distributed Sunday in copies of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and will be available at area businesses.

It features stories about inspiring local women, global women's issues, and a feature called Little Pink Book, where local women make recommendations about local businesses, service providers, and doctors they trust.

Forum Communications Co. is sponsoring the magazine and publishing it for free. Heidi Shaffer, Forum features editor, also served as editor of Diva Connection Magazine. Proceeds from ad sales will benefit Diva Connection Foundation.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

Pick up your copy of Diva Connection Magazine Sunday

Diva Connection Magazine will be inserted Sunday into most metro-area copies of The Forum.

To pick up your copy, visit any of the following advertisers' locations:

• Apricot Lane

• Catalyst Medical Center

• Centre for Hai

• Essentia Health

• Heritage Homes

• Hair Success Salon and Day Spa

• Hair Success Laser

• Korsmo Funeral Home

• Maxwells

• Nodak Mutual Insurance (Dianna Holm)

• Prairie St. John's

• Red Lotus Acupuncture Center

• Slim Ambition

• Starion Financial

• Sublime Aesthetic Professionals

• Vision Bank

Tracy Frank

Tracy Frank is a SheSays, Variety, and Farmer's Forum reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to

(701) 241-5526