Though she started college right after high school, Sabatino dropped out and joined the military, then started a family. After she and her husband divorced, she returned to college to find a way to support her family.
She shared her experiences Saturday with more than 30 girls at the Sisters Only Camp Be Your Best and explained why education is so important.
“Keep education yoked because it’s very important to open up doors for opportunities,” she said. “You get distracted by life’s journey.”
Sabatino, an academic adviser for Brenau University, said she loves that people in the community are giving back by empowering the girls and acting as mentors.
“If I had this in place when I was in school in the ’80s, I probably would have made some different decisions,” she said.
The camp consisted of hourlong sessions on personal hygiene, money management, education and relationships for girls 13 and older.
The girls come from all over the city, recommended by the Department of Family and Children Services and the Boys and Girls Clubs. It was held at the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Dogwood Terrace facility.
“We teach them about life skills in addition to giving them entertainment,” said Karen Lewis, a Sisters Only club member.
Deadrea Asbury, 13, has attended the camp for three years. She likes hearing the speakers and meeting new people.
“I’ve learned that I can always do what I want to do and be what I want to be, and that if I just try I will succeed,” she said.
For Charvickia Williams, 13, the camp was an option presented by the court in conjunction with her probation. A fight at school last year led to a charge of simple battery.
“They told me to go to this camp so I don’t get into any more trouble at school,” she said.
She said she was enjoying the camp and that she learned how to improve her attitude, carry herself and be positive.