A cotillion to help adolescent girls mature with a positive self-image is being planned.
Professional adult volunteers are "Planting Seeds of Love" through several educational workshops for girls to build self-esteem, social skills and etiquette. Participants also will learn how to waltz. The workshops will culminate with a cotillion and banquet July 21 at Beaufort High School.
"Seeds of Love is important for young girls to begin to develop healthy esteem," said Belle White, a committee member for the Seeds of Love project and a social worker for the Beaufort County School District.
"We figured this is one way to give them a great big boost in healthy esteem in this area and to learn some skills," she said.
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"It is very important and necessary because middle-school age is a difficult time for both genders, and this is one stepping stone toward positive maturity."
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls are invited to register for the training and banquets no later than June 26. There is no cost, but donations are being accepted.
Those attending the banquet will learn about the importance of having a dream and a plan to achieve it from Lawrence Washington, pastor of Omega Worship Center in Beaufort and a spiritual counselor. He will share lessons he has used to teach his own daughters about respect.
The inspiration for the event came to Carrie Major in a dream several years ago. The event will now be held for the first time.
"It is what the Lord told me to do," said Major, founder of Carae's Lowcountry Modeling, a nonprofit group that has worked with young people since 1985 on St. Helena Island.
"God told me I needed to work with middle-school girls and the event would be called 'Planting Seeds of Love,' " said Major, a minister at Bethesda Christian Fellowship, St. Helena Island.
"He said I needed to do a cotillion banquet."
Major enlisted the help of her friends and professional associates, including area school principals, for the collaboraeffort with professional women and men.
Among those are Priscilla Drake, second-year principal at Whale Branch Early College High School and an educator for more than 31 years, who is helping Major to spearhead the committee.
Drake said a lack of positive role models is a problem for adolescent girls.
"This is important to me because of what I see every day," Drake said.
"I look at girls today, and I see what girls used to be when I was growing up.
"They seem to have lost their identity, their lady-ness or sense of being a lady about themselves," Drake said. "I want to be able to help them know what a lady looks like, how she presents herself and that she deserves to be treated respectfully."
The committee meets monthly and now more often to brainstorm ideas on how to organize the event, raise money and secure volunteers for catering, decorating and to teach the classes.
So far, 46 girls have signed up. The group is prepared to accommodate up to 100 participants.
"It will really help to give them a positive image of what a young lady should be and how she should be treated," Major said.