published: Friday, May 03, 2013
Pearls Program uses AP graduate as mentor to youth
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Young girls were given a boost of confidence recently during a mentioning program at Wings of Faith Church in Sebring.
The program put a face on the importance of perseverance, hard work and following your dreams. The "Pearls Process" is a program that was put together by the single women congregation members to uplift and empower the younger generations. The attendees were addressed by a special guest - Avon Park High School graduate and soon-to-be college graduate Daija Barrett.
Barrett is a journalism major who is currently interning in Orlando as a television sports anchor. Barrett spoke to the group of 20 young girls about the importance of finishing school and continuing their education following high school. Barrett also touched on topics that are vital to growing young girls in America, such as self image, confidence, peer pressure, and dreams.
"I am who I say I am," Barrett said. "Self image is important, because they need to learn who they are and to be who they say they are. They have to learn about handling things like a young woman, professionally and with dignity. In this society it's the opposite; there are not enough young ladies. All they see is what's splashed across reality TV."
Barrett knows the pressure of growing up in a small community where it is sometimes easy to succumb to one's environment.
"Me coming from little old Avon Park, no one expected much of me. People don't expect you to go off to college and learn and become a better person and that's why I tell these girls 'You can be whatever you want to be'," Barrett said.
During her address to the young ladies, Barrett described the girls as a bag of peanut M&M's. People come in all different shapes and colors and sizes, she stated to the girls.
"Inside there is a nut. That nut is a dream. You have to know your self-worth and protect your dreams," Barrett said.
The girls were given a pearl during the program that coordinators hope will serve as a reminder of the day and keep the girls grounded during periods of struggle or irritation.
The pearl stands for beauty, dignity and the process of growing from a small grain of sand into a perfect pearl.
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