Program tries to teach girls how to overcome challenges

It's important for girls to be prepared for the issues they will face, said Niranjini Epps, 17. That's why she attended the Smart Girls Make Wise Choices workshop Saturday.

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Emily Hill (left) and Alexandria Johnson, both 10, learn how to properly place dishes for a table setting.  Nikasha Dicks/Staff
Nikasha Dicks/Staff
Emily Hill (left) and Alexandria Johnson, both 10, learn how to properly place dishes for a table setting.

"We are at the ages where we are really getting into the world. This workshop shows us that people care about us and want to make sure that we are prepared for what we will encounter in the world," she said.

Presented by The Links Inc. and the Augusta Partnership for Children Inc., the workshop taught girls ages 10 to 18 about etiquette and how to keep their body and hair healthy, and say "no" to sexual activity.

"The reason we do this is that our girls are exposed to so much in society. This prepares them to make smart choices and be confident about the choices they make," said Florida Reed, the event's chairwoman.

The girls chose the topics for the workshop, which is a part of a series.

The organizers hope the workshop gave the girls the information they need to make wise decisions, said Ann Johnson, the president of The Links Inc.

"We wanted to expose them to key components that may be challenging in life. We also wanted to offer ourselves as positive role models for the girls and mentor them so that they will want to make wise choices," she said.

During the sessions, the girls became actively involved in discussions as they sought answers to their questions.

"A lot of teens are misinformed and under-educated about a lot of topics," said Gina Anderson, 18. "There (are) too many of us who are misinformed. The presenters knew what they were talking about and made us comfortable asking questions we always wanted to ask."

Twelve-year-old Elizabeth Echols agreed.

"I think it's important to have activities like this because it teaches us that it's OK to have questions and that we should look at ourselves in a positive way," she said.

The benefits of the workshop will not be limited to the girls who attended, said Vikki Pruitt, the deputy director of the Augusta Partnership for Children Inc.

"They are having a good time and are asking those questions they may have been afraid to ask before. They will remember the fun and informative experience they had here and will want to share it with their peers," she said. "What they learned here will be carried on into all parts of their life."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.


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