Growing up can be hard, but luckily there are groups looking out for younger people to help them tackle some of those difficulties.
“Breaking barriers and preserving and pushing through and motivating yourself, really comes at the heart of self-confidence,” said Jaeleen Davis, Miss Bay County.
Behind her crown lies years of struggle.
“When I was 8-years-old I was diagnosed with alopecia. It’s an autoimmune disorder attacking the hair follicles and I was bullied and tormented by my peers on a day to day basis,” Davis said.
She said gaining self-confidence was tough, but life got even tougher after a serious injury two years ago.
“I fell 30 feet, landed on concrete and fractured 13 bones,” Davis said.
Doctors told her she wouldn’t walk again, but today she stands proud as one of the coordinators of the SMART Girls Club. The club is an empowering program for young girls to learn life skills through the Boys and Girls Club of the Great Lakes Bay Region.
It is a series of 10 sessions encouraging young girls to lead a healthy lifestyle and gain positive attitudes.
“I think having people in our community that are supporting us and telling the girls yes, you can do anything and keep giving that positive message. It makes a difference in kids’ lives,” said Dorothy Dean, resource director for the Boys and Girls Club of the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Dean said each class covers a variety of topics all geared towards building self-esteem.
“We have several people from the community coming in that are in different careers. We have a builder coming in just to tell the girls, ‘yes, you can be a builder. You can be a police officer. You can be a judge. You can be a lawyer. You can be anything you want to be,’” Dean said.
Aubrianna Anderson said her teachers have even noticed her positive changes.
“He knew I was changing. He saw the good in me and he wanted me to try something because he knew I was getting better,” Aubrianna said.
The SMART Girls Club graduation will be a tea jubilee on May 16 at the Doubletree in Bay City. Tickets are open to the public.
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