DMS initiative seeks to empower girls

Kitty Eddins instructs the DMS Girl Power group on various aspects of etiquette during a session at Smokin' Jack's Monday afternoon.

Kitty Eddins instructs the DMS Girl Power group on various aspects of etiquette during a session at Smokin’ Jack’s Monday afternoon.

Approximately 15 Demopolis Middle School girls have spent a portion of the semester empowering themselves in an unique after school program designed to have long-reaching implications.

The initiative, dubbed Girl Power by its organizers and participants, has seen the young ladies from grades six through eight, meet Monday afternoons to focus on everything from self esteem to leadership skills.

“They have done self esteem, community building and leadership,” DMS counselor and group organizer Traci Pearson said. “They’ve been consistent. They’ve been here faithfully. They’ve been committed. They seem to enjoy it.”

IMG_1585While Pearson has teamed with Westside Elementary teacher and aspiring counselor Emmy Aultman to implement most of the lessons, the group has also been aided by a number of local experts including Ross Martial Arts co-owner Ronda Russell, who presented a program on nutrition, and Chamber of Commerce Director Jenn Tate, who spoke on leadership skills.

The group has also learned makeup tips from Angie Brock as well as etiquette lessons from Kitty Eddins.

“I think these are things that a school system can’t touch on during a regular day,” Pearson said of the focus of the program, the idea for which came from a book geared toward helping to empower girls to be successful. “We’ve done all kinds of things.”

The girls’ most recent lesson came in the form of Eddins’ etiquette seminar, which was presented at Smokin’ Jack’s Monday. While the local hotspot is typically closed on Monday, owner-operator Jacky Poole opened his doors during lunch specifically for the group to have a secluded place to participate in the lesson, which was complete with a table set for formal occasion to afford the girls with an optimum experience.