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Teen Esteem Day delivers vital life lessons to high school girls

By: By Jerri Curradi Special to The News Messenger
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The recent Soroptimist International of Lincoln’s second annual Teen Esteem Day was once again a huge success and delivered vital life lessons to more than 125 young girls from Lincoln High School and Phoenix High School.  Students gathered for drama, dance and to learn about dealing with peer pressure, bullying, drugs, gangs and other issues faced by young girls.

The event was planned in collaboration with Lincoln High School Principal Jay Berns and Assistant Principal Vikki Eutsey.

Our goal was to help young women realize not only their own self-worth, but also to know that they are the stewards of their lives and can reach out for help when they face personal struggles and find it difficult to cope.  One unexpected outcome from the day is a plan to form a mutual support group at Lincoln High for girls.

A free photo booth proved to be a welcome break for the girls after they listened to powerful messages from guest speakers and the girls took full advantage by posing and “mugging” for the camera.

Susie Vanderlip of “Legacy of Hope” brought her nationally-acclaimed one-woman show to Lincoln, having appeared before more than one million students, parents, teachers and law enforcement in 47 states. She delivered her dramatic message about prevention and emotional wisdom to educate and motivate teens to make healthy choices. 

Leroy Martinez, who currently teaches free hip-hop lessons to Lincoln youth, spoke of his positive life lessons and led the girls in a rousing session of dance lessons. He appeared this year on television’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and he was a hit with the girls.   

Also appearing were three young women from Teen Challenge, who each shared powerful stories of personal struggles and their discovery that they themselves were the heroes they had been waiting for. From the comments received, it was clear that these brave young women touched the hearts of many attending. 

Other speakers were two California experts on Sex Trafficking, Rosario Dowling and Peggy Fava.  Rosario is the Northern California director for California Against Slavery, the ballot-initiative sponsors for Prop 35 and Peggy Fava is director at Bridge Network.

Mimi’s Café generously provided muffins, sandwiches, salads and fruit.  The community contributions made by Red Robin, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Umpqua Bank and many others made Teen Esteem 2012 a day to remember! 

Jerri Curradi is a Soroptimist member. For information about Soroptimist International of Lincoln or to inquire about membership, call 705-6009.