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Boys & Girls Clubs host leadership workshop
Sisters Circle and Leadership Workshop, Awakening the Dream in Me
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Jada Johnson, 15, works on an activity during the Sisters Circle and Leadership Workshop "Awakening the Dream in Me" hosted by Sisters of Today and Tomorrow at the Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Sisters of Today and Tomorrow’s goal is to teach girls how to become self assured, polite, goal oriented, and well-rounded young leaders. - photo by Erin O. Smith

On Saturday, Sisters of Today and Tomorrow hosted its Sisters Circle and Leadership Workshop, “Awakening the Dream in Me” at the Hall County Boys & Girls Teen Club,, for a group of girls that ranged from 11-18 years old.  

Program coordinator Terri Lewis, with Sisters of Today and Tomorrow, said the workshop takes girls through an exploration process to begin thinking about their life goals and what they need to accomplish to reach those goals.  

“I think the response is good. The girls are really engaged. They’re actually putting down things that are reflective of their life and no just doing it, and actually going through the exercises so that makes me feel good,” said Lewis.
“It’s because of my mom and my sisters; watching them be leaders in the household. Watching my parents together, and watching my mom balance a career, balance child development, and balance being a wife. That’s just been phenomenal to me and I want our young ladies to be able to do that same thing,” said Steven Mickens, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County.

The day was broken into segments; each activity designed to look at what separates them from the crowd and identify their strengths, helping them decide what they want, or if they are unsure, what they didn’t want out of life.

During the first part of the program the girls were allowed to sit with their friends and then forced to move, sitting next to someone who shares similar interests.

“The purpose behind that was in order for you to be successful you may have to separate yourself and stand apart from your family and friends and be in uncomfortable places,” Lewis said.

Being independent and having confidence to share ideas was one of the goals. For Carla Morrison, founder and executive director of Sisters of Today and Tomorrow, “The mission is to transform the lives of girls and the women who raise them through innovative programs that focus on self-esteem, education, health and fitness and careers and entrepreneurship.”

Mickens believes that it is important for the girls to see women in leadership positions that are powerful, articulate and passionate to combat the stereotypes of what a woman is capable of, that the girls get caught up in.

“To have a group come out and mentor our kids about jobs and careers is really essential for us. Hopefully it will spark that fire in some of those young ladies to think that they can do something of significance outside being a housewife or someone’s girlfriend or mom, and that they can really excel,” Mickens said. “I think we need to offer more programs that are going to help them develop their self-confidence and skills at being leaders, from the game room to the boardroom.”

A native of Gainesville, Dr. Tameeka Law, MD recently returned to the area. After graduating from Gainesville High School in ’93, Law went on to college and then joined the military, before attending medical school.  

“When I came back I just remember all the challenges that I had and all the paths that I went through so I wanted to be able provide some resource or some help to girls that were in the same situation I was, growing up here in Gainesville,” Law said.

With supplies that were provided as collaboration between the Sisters of Tomorrow and Today, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County, Law and other sponsors, the girls could do activities like creating a vision board of where they wanted to see themselves in the future, and what they needed to make that happen. Lunch was donated by the local Zaxby’s on Browns Bridge Road.

“It really is beautiful to watch, when you watch a young woman, a young girl, transition from having no self-esteem, no confidence to being a leader in a club, a leader in a community, a leader in a school,” said Mickens.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, will be giving tours of the facility every Tuesday in April from 3-5 p.m. at all of the club locations.

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