Teen group travels to Natchez summit

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Early Saturday at 6:30 a.m. 18 Delta G.E.M.S. (Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully) boarded a bus to Natchez to attend the 2015 Teen Summit at Alcorn State University School of Nursing.

The summit is sponsored by Greek organizations in the Mississippi-Louisiana community. G.E.M.S. is a girls’ youth group led by the Pike County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. that serves girls throughout Lincoln County as well as Pike County.

At the summit in Natchez, the G.E.M.S. attended breakout sessions on health issues, violence prevention, academic excellence, abuse prevention and college preparation. The summit lasted from 8 a.m. to noon. Also attending the summit were the Archonettes, a similar youth group under the direction of the local chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

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“Most children now need a way to debrief and solve things because violence isn’t always the answer,” Dr. Marilyn Dow-Harris, G.E.M.S. chairperson, said. “If you don’t have decision making skills they won’t make good decision. So we have to give them to the children.”

Dow-Harris said the presenters at the summit were insightful, and the girls that attended were excited to participate. She said the girls enjoyed many of the presentations and spoke highly of those who highlighted college preparation and academic excellence. At the summit there was a recruiter from Alcorn who gave advice on what the girls needed to do for continued academic success after high school.

Dow-Harris is planning a similar summit for teen girls between the ages of 13 and 19 in Lincoln, Lawrence, Copiah and Franklin counties. A date has not yet been set for the event.

“The goal is to provide tools that will enable teens to sharpen and enhance their skills to achieve high levels of academic and personal success through goal setting and planning for their futures,” Dow-Harris said.

She said she hopes to have interactive workshops on college admissions, the tools of success, healthy relationships, social justice and teen leadership.

Until the date is set for that event, Dow-Harris encourages all interested to attend the G.E.M.S. yearly event, the “Rites of Passage” program that will showcase all the work the Delta G.E.M.S. have done over the year. The program is set for May 3 in McComb at Denman Junior High School and will feature Brookhaven native and BHS graduate, Britney Clark.