Pleasant Grove Baptist Church’s Girls of Grace hosted a workshop to inform program participants about making good decisions and the consequences of making poor choices.
Natalie Williams, a former Miss University of Louisiana at Monroe and homecoming queen, was the featured speaker. Her theme was “How Did You Get Here?”She began by asking each young lady to pick
a Skittle. “It’s a choice you made. I did not pressure you,” she said.
She told them what each color said of their personalities. For example, those who chose red means they are courageous, genuinely care about others, spend a great deal of time on the phone and have sensitive and
those who choose her favorite color – green – are leaders, usually in high positions, respect authority and love to stand out and be different.
Next, she asked the girls to pick an item from a table filled with wigs, glasses, ribbons, scarves, jewelry and hats.
They were appalled to learn that these items represented sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, abusive relationships, a broken heart, ruined reputations and having two or three children before the age of 18.
She told them about AIDS, “Once you get it, you cannot take it off. Young people are passing diseases along over and over. Maybe that guy is not so cool anymore, now that you know what he has.”
After she discussed the results of the poor consequences, she asked the girls, “So tell me, how did you get here?”
The reasons they gave for young people ending up in negatives situations are not listening to their parents, following peers and a lack of good role models.
Williams said, “I am trying to help you out before you get there. Make better choices and better decisions. People who make the wrong decisions have a hard time,” she said.
“You are a precious jewel, precious cargo.”
She told the girls to be encouraged, love themselves, believe in themselves and speak good things over themselves. “Look in the mirror and tell yourself, ‘I am pretty. I am beautiful,'” she said.
Previously, the girls enjoyed an outing in the City of Grambling’s park. The participants and their advisors played games, took photographs, ate, walked around and took in the scenery.
Barbara Bedford, who started this ministry in 2004, said the outing was a way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of restarting the ministry. “It was an opportunity for them just to have fun. The girls enjoyed themselves,” she said.
Sasha Hudson, a 13-year-old at Ruston Junior High School said, “It was a good way for black girls to get together without drama. I enjoyed the food, walking around and looking at the ducks.”
Markia Patton said she had fun and enjoyed hanging with the girls she spends time with when she attends Girls of Grace functions. “I enjoyed being outside and would like for us to have another activity held outside,” said the 17-year-old Ruston High School student.
Doris Morzatt, Alice Davis and Nella Williams served as chaperones.
Assisting Bedford was Morzatt. She said the event was hosted because the young ladies wanted to spend a day in the park.
“The turn out was great, and judging by their actions, the young ladies had a good time and enjoyed themselves,” said Morzatt.
Many would agree that the Girls of Grace program is a good one. Williams, a retired educator and member of Pleasant Grove for 57 years said this ministry helps girls to come out of their shells while affording them the opportunity to interact with each other.
“When they work on their projects, they begin to interact and learn from each other. I have learned from them, especially since times have changed,” she said.
Williams said it is a good learning experience, and the seminars are good for them. She likes working with youth and has been doing so since 1969.
Other Girls of Grace-sponsored activities included seminars about emotions, table etiquette, goal setting, dressing appropriately, cell-phone etiquette and today’s music.
“We try to host seminars centered around where there appears to be the most disconnect,” said Bedford.