Boys and Girls Club host awareness symposium

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By The Staff

Harambee, in Swahili, means working together toward a common goal. This weekend at the Chatthaoochee Boys and Girls Club Harambee, that common goal was getting student off to a good start for the 2010-2011 school year. But it was no ordinary. The theme this year was "An Awareness Symposium for Emerging Leaders. Through out the  two-day back to school event, club members were referred to as "young leaders."

    They had other young leaders from Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Upsilon Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Florida A &M University to help them. Each club member was partnered with a college student for all of the events from symposiums to lunch to exercise and fitness workouts.

    Cherry Rankin, director, said she wanted the students to widen their horizons by  meeting and interacting with students who are in college and who have taken leadership roles.

    "It's important that they see both sides. These students are able to reach them on a level that they can see as attainable. Some of them are only a few years older than some of our club members. They do the same dances and they talk the same language, that's important when you're trying to reach kids," Rankin said.

    The young leaders were given several presentations including the dangers and side effects of prescription and non-prescription drugs, dental hygiene, setting goals, making good grades and the power of prayer.

    "Getting Your Body Tight & Right: an Interactive Glimpse at Physical Fitness and Nutrition" got everybody on the floor for a few minutes. Led by Tai'Quay Smith of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Matthew Atkins of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity everyone had a change to exercise those lunch calories off and gain some valuable information about nutrition.

    Using steps from some of the current hot dances mixed with traditional exercises the young leaders got a workout. The rewards, for those 13 years and older, was their choice of store or restaurant gift cards.

    Sunday afternoon, the young leaders had the opportunity to "Get Their Swagger Right" with a special session of the importance of imaging, grooming and looking their best. All were offered free professional haircuts and styles as well as manicures and skin therapy to start the year off right.