By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
SOWING seeds of value and worth in the lives of young girls is the goal of the Lady’s Chamber non-profit organisation who are on a mission to touch the lives of Bahamian youth.
The organisation, for young girls between the ages of 10 and 18 years, is a mentoring programme that caters to the development of the whole individual; to the physical, mental and spiritual growth. It was founded in June 2013 by Latoya Culmer with the aim of bringing hope to each girl enrolled in the programme.
This summer, the participating girls engaged in numerous empowering activities, including a community service day, where they engaged in a clean-up in specific communities.
During the community clean-up, the young girls were assisted by Patricia Minnis, wife of FNM leader Hubert Minnis. They were also reminded that as the Bahamas celebrated its 41st anniversary of Independence they should have pride in their country and do their part by keeping their communities clean.
They wore Bahamian colours as they walked around, picking up trash from the street sides. The garbage was discarded by Culver’s Trucking.
“This organisation encourages the girls to believe in themselves. We believe every child has a dream or aspiration to be someone – a doctor, teacher, fireman, mortician – whatever the dream is, but many do not achieve their dreams. There are a few factors that derail the dreams of people, one of them being no one believing in you. This is the atmosphere we want to create for our girls. We want them to believe that they are special and they can be who they aspire to be,” Ms Culmer told Tribune Woman.
On numerous occasions, individuals have been invited to speak to the young girls on health, hygiene, appearance (external and internal), table etiquette and speech.
“I believe that the girls are having so much fun they do not even realise the changes among themselves sometimes. I have noticed a shy, timid girl slowly come out of her shell and I believe this is because she feels appreciated. Another account I witnessed is if one of the girls does something that went against what was taught, I would hear someone say, ‘A lady should not do that’ or ‘That is not the way a lady acts’. I believe our steps may be small, but we are going somewhere,” Ms Culmer said.
Over the past year, Ms Culmer said the organisation has impacted the lives of the young girls in a major way.
“I hope through the applied principles of the Lady’s Chamber these girls will graduate from high school with a diploma with distinction. I hope to see them become good wives and mothers. I would hope that they would conduct themselves in a manner that represents respect for self and others, the golden rule of Lady’s Chamber. The reality of the matter is all may not be who they aspire to be because of the vicissitudes of life, but I hope to see them become productive citizens of this country,” she said.
The group is preparing for its commencement exercise and fun day, all of which are funded by the girls who have received sponsorships for their activities sheets.
Next year, Ms Culmer said they we hope to incorporate a back-to-school fair into their proceedings where the girls will be given free hair services and a back pack filled with school supplies.