Staunch community Leader Carla Hart’s solution seeking lead to productive change and a variable difference. There are not many things that top the importance of addressing the concerns of our youth. As bad news about youth gone awry bombards our living rooms all too frequently, we are left wondering what we can do to make a lasting and positive difference.
Nashville resident Carla Hart might answer this question by saying: “Render your time and talents to the young people in your community.” Carla, originally from suburban Illinois, is the proud mother of four sons and a proponent for strength in family and communities. She is the founder of ‘In My Zone,’ an organization she created to inspire and celebrate youth.
Recently, Carla hosted ‘Loving and Encouraging our Youth Day’ at Thurgood Marshall Middle School. She put a great deal of thought and heart into enlisting other professionals to join her in edifying approximately 50 5th-7th grade young ladies with topics that are relevant to their age groups.
Participants were paired into small groups within their grade categories to attend interactive talks, led by the adult volunteers. Speakers addressed topics such as self-esteem, health and exercise, financial basics and bullying. Not only was the event informative, but also interactive and fun. Workshops were short in length, encouraging and uplifting. Members of the women’s empowerment group, Exhale Nashville, were among the professional volunteers who conducted classes. Also, local stylists teamed up to provide on site styles for the young ladies.
Special guests conducted creative and cultural workshops that enforced positive self-esteem. Former Miss Tennessee State University Chandra Lipscomb led an impactful and uplifting etiquette segment with all 50 young ladies, as well as the adult speakers. Lipscomb encouraged the young ladies to find their own unique beauty and to appreciate their individual strengths. The library and cafeteria came alive with group singing led by two local songsters. A catered lunch for the ladies awaited them for the final segment of the event.
The day was topped off concert-style, with a special positive rap performance by Mrs. Hart’s youngest son, Rique (17).
The event ended with a group selfie, revealing the excitement the event left on all the participants’ faces.
There is still chatter about the event. The level of engagement shown by the young participants is evidence that interactions with groups like In My Zone is appreciated and needed by our youth.
“Our sole purpose for this event is to encourage the young ladies and teach them how to love and take care of themselves, mentally, physically and socially,” said Mrs. Hart.
The old adage of “It takes a village to raise one child” is still true today, making it possible for good news such as this to greet us more often than the alternative.