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October 16, 2007

Wake County says: If you build it, they will come

Keisha Cousar, right, Wake County 4-H development educator, leads a session at Knightdale High School. With her are freshmen students Joanne Leary, left, and Shamara Stanton. (Photo courtesy of Keisha Cousar)

If you meet them where they are, they will appreciate it, and if you ask them what they like, they will tell you. Those phrases helped build the foundation of a highly active 4-H club at Knightdale High School.

Four students had a vision for females at Knightdale to have a club where they could discuss issues that concern them and gain life skills as it related to self-esteem, self-awareness and self-empowerment. The vision of those four has turned into a mission for at least 65 female students who showed interest in joining Every Sister Help a Sister a 4-H club where they "empower the growth of diverse sisterhood."

The club started in February 2007 with four female students who had a vision after completing a Teen Discovery group. One of the goals of teen discovery is for young people to identify a topic or focus area in which they would like to continue working and then form a 4-H club. So the ladies started brainstorming and knew they wanted to create a club that could empower and involve more female students in having the opportunity as they had in teen discovery to learn more about themselves and each other.

When asked why she would want to join, senior Ashley Stevens said, "I wanted to join an organization where I could be expressive and be myself around other young ladies who show respect towards themselves and others. Every young lady should be a part of this club to make a difference in the world of sisterhood."

The girls wanted to establish a school-based club that bridges the gap between female-to-female relationships by promoting educational excellence, empowerment, mentorship, and accountability and community service by providing an open and inclusive environment for diverse females to express themselves to each other, give back to their community and build a rapport with positive adults which will lead to a positive self identity, self motivation and social educational awareness.

Youth Development Educator from Wake County 4-H Youth Development, Kiesha Cousar, affirms that, "for these ladies to consistently convene together confirms a great need for each adolescent female to have quality experiences that will allow them to embrace and enhance their positive potential."

This year the club plans to accomplish their goals and objectives by providing prevention education topics such as financial literacy and violence prevention, empower hour topics which will focus on healthy relationships and embracing diversity in sisterhood, mentor match opportunities to allow club members to reach back and teach their peers, and an accountability sister system that will encourage members to check on each others total well being. The group also will be participating in community service projects that will exercise their civic education learning towards making a difference within their school, neighborhood, and community.

Posted by Natalie at October 16, 2007 02:35 PM