How this Richmond organization is empowering African American girls: 'We have poured into these ladies'

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-23 18:14:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- For the last six months, the Richmond-based organization Leading Our Ladies has led 15 young women through a series of empowerment sessions.

The program started in September 2022 and is focused on teaching and uplifting young women in navigating the opportunities and challenges of life.

"This has been an awesome experience not only for the ladies or graduates but also the team," said Erika Brandon with the non-profit CVERP. "We have poured into these ladies, and they have given back to their peers but also to the team."

With the program complete, a graduation ceremony was held to recognize the growth each young lady made.

"Within these six months, I’ve been really grateful, I’ve built up confidence, self-love and self-worth for myself," said Jeylan Moody a participant in the program.

Sessions covered topics like the business of beauty, hygiene and health, and financial literacy. Trudi Batiste with Leading our Ladies says the program aimed to help African-American girls navigate the opportunities and challenges of life.

"We provided six sessions, we met each month and some of the things we realized they weren't getting at school. Personal branding, financial literacy and we really want to build upon relationships and making sure that mental health was a focus," Batiste said.

The organization partnered with the nonprofit CVERP for a grant to fund the program based at the Richmond Boys and Girls Club.

"This program really helped us not only just career stuff but learning how to be better within yourself and I think that’s really important," said participant Mycah McDowney.

Carol Reese, the president of resources incorporated spoke at the graduation.

"I changed my life because I was exposed."

She said programs like this are vital to the next generation

"The community pours in, and they grow a better crop for the next year and you continue to grow. And if they see someone that looks like them excelling in this area, it's an idea they may not have had before," said Reese.

Both the students and teachers say they’ve learned so much from each other and each session, hoping to see other ladies be led down a path of success

"It was just awesome to hear them come out of their shell because from day one they were closed in then their blossoming," said Brandon.

The organization is hoping to help another round of ladies but is in need of donations and volunteers to do so. Learn more about the program and how you can help on their website.

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