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Empowerment and Vision: A Reflection on the BPS SGRho Youth Symposium

My heart is bursting with gratitude as I reflect on the Youth Symposium hosted by the Beta Pi Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority (BPS SGRho). It was an honor to for my daughter, Haelee to serve as the facilitator and guest speaker, discussing the critical issues of bullying and mental health.

The symposium, designed for children ages 9 to 18, actually turned into  a platform for all attendees, regardless of age, to voice their experiences with bullying and the strategies they employed to overcome it. The stories shared within this safe space were profound. Haelee and I are committed towards maintaining confidentiality of participants with myself being the exception.

I opened up about my personal battle with self-bullying due to a lazy eye while serving as Haelee’s co-facilitator. I shared how negative self-perception led towards my avoiding eye contact and shying away from pictures. My viewpoints changed when I learned that my lazy eye was a symbol of triumph over childhood health challenges. This allowed me to see how it was actually a testament towards my resilience and unique beauty. I hope that the message resonated with participants in addition to those of you that are reading this.

We transitioned into a creating vision boards thereafter. Participants expressed their dreams and ambitions through collages of magazine cutouts, affirming themselves through laughter and treats. Haelee shared her dreams for traveling the world and owning a fleet of cars, while others visualized enhancing community programs, enjoying well-deserved vacations, and making a broader impact on society.

Haelee and I also had the pleasure of meeting Ava Simmons. Ava is an 11-year-old author, toy creator, and S.T.E.M. ambassador who has been featured on the Drew Barrymore Show. Her story and vision for the future resonated deeply with us sparking thoughts of joint projects in the future.

In conclusion, The BPS SGRho Youth Symposium was a step towards empowerment and clarity of vision. We’d like to personally thank the women of BPS SGRho especially Wendy Bivens and Anautica Wilson for their unwavering support in entrusting Haelee to facilitate this transformative event.

Note: To view a recap of the symposium, please refer to the video provided below.

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