Lungs refused the air of Coley Hall as one mother described her fear for her teenage daughter.
“Her bullies have already put her in the hospital once,” said the woman attending the Girls Empowering Girls Symposium at The Liberty Thursday evening.
Receiving advice from featured speaker Teresa Spangler with the Plaza Bridge Group on how to avoid conflict with bullies, improve self-confidence and other similar messages of inspiration, local girls were able to share their dreams as well as their fears.
“You’re the only one that stops your dream,” said Spangler, “and a dream will evolve. It may not come out just like you wrote it down on paper.”
Spangler related a story where she wrote down on a piece of paper that she wanted to live in Denver someday.
“Be specific [when you dream and set goals],” said Spangler. “I wanted to be in Denver, Colorado, not sitting there in Denver, North Carolina.”
Making one’s dreams come true is not easy.
“If you really want something bad enough, you figure out how to get it,” said Spangler, explaining that some goals take dedication to education while others may take the same commitment to practice.
A positive self-image also takes practice.
Spangler recommended the girls to participate in thoughts and activities that encourage confidence.
“Building confidence is like building strength,” said Spangler, stating the more often they practice they better they’ll be and that included supporting one another.
In addition to the Liberty’s Cicely McCulloch, several local businesses and individuals lead by example lending their support to the symposium including Chick-fil-A of Mount Airy, Denise Krochta, Parkwood Eye Center, Crystal Morphis, Cavu Marketing, Elkin High School teacher Cherie Cook and students.
Jennifer Kleinheksel of Jennifer K Photography partnered with Misty Matthews of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce for this year’s event.
“We are just so excited to be a part of this,” said a visibly-pleased Kleinheksel.
“This event without sponsors would have cost about $3,500 so we are grateful for them,” said Matthews, founder of the program. “Next year we are looking to get about $4,000 to $4,500 in order to get an additional speaker.”
The reason for the additional speaker is because of the large age range of girls that are impacted by the symposium.
“The young girls seem to like to the speaker,” said Matthews. “The four I had loved it. I think she helped the younger group, and the older group may have not been enough.”
Although listening to Spangler and participating, most of the older girls in the room sat apart from the group during the presentation.
“There was good conversation with a few girls that was nice to hear,” said Matthews, who has thoughts about more involvement from the girls for next year’s symposium.
“Jennifer and my daughter had a part in planning the event and we made them and their friends have a job the night of the event,” said Matthews. “Next year they will have a bigger role and who knows, maybe our girls will plan the event on their own in a few years.”
To be a part of this growing event, contact Matthews at the Yadkin Valley Chamber office or go to www.facebook.com/girlsempoweringgirls.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.