One of my yearly goals for my business is to get involved with a non-profit organization in my local community. I happened to meet the right person, at the right time and she recommended me to the director of the Distinguished Young Women program for the state of North Carolina. This year, the state event was held here in downtown Greensboro at The Carolina Theater. For whatever reason, I really feel passionate about working with teenagers and using my talents to help them in a positive manner. I stand for self confidence, leadership and service opportunities. Basically, I want teens to know that they can be themselves, they are enough and that they can make a lasting impact for good on this world. So, imagine my delight when I did my research on the DYW organization and found that their values perfectly line up with mine!
This was such a wonderful experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed watching how the participants from across the state used their talents. These girls are eloquent, confident, friendly and have a heart for serving others. I told this story on my personal Facebook page, but it's worth sharing here too. On the final night of the event in January, I took my 7 year old daughter with me. She's a shy little thing and has very little confidence in herself. I was hoping that just watching the contestants would inspire her in some way. We ended up going backstage before everything got started so I could grab a few candid shots of the girls getting ready. A few of them tried so hard to get my daughter to loosen up and were chatting with her and asking questions -even though she was mute and hiding behind my leg. The girls were all wearing stickers on their hands and one of them took hers off and handed it to my daughter. She told my girl that she was the only other person in the whole place with a sticker just like theirs and that now she was considered a special member of their DYWNC club. My shy child wouldn't respond, but I graciously took the sticker and told Addison 'Thank You!' Later in the evening, during an emotional part of the event, I glanced down and my daughter had tears streaming down her face. Not wanting to draw attention to her at that moment, I quietly turned away and mentally reminded myself to ask her why she was crying later. As we packed up after the show, I saw her sticker lying on the floor under my seat and handed it to my girl. She immediately put it on her hand. While walking across the parking lot, she opened up about the tears I saw and said "I thought I lost my sticker and I was really sad about it! The girl told me it was special just for me."
You guys, my mama heart about burst with gratitude for those sweet girls who made my struggling girl feel special that night. It was such a simple act, but they could have easily been turned off by my daughter's abrasive response. Instead, they leaned into her and made a lasting impression.
I would be SO proud and thrilled if someday one of my own girls decides to participate in this program. Plus, the scholarship awards are a definite bonus! If you or someone you know is a high school sophomore or junior - I cannot recommend checking out this program enough! You can find the information on finding a program near you here: http://distinguishedyw.org/
Here are some of the highlights from the event in January! Another congratulations to Kennedy Miller from Rocky Mount on winning the title of DYWNC of 2018.