Two separate events focused on empowering women and young men Aug. 29 in Liberty County.
Tied to Success Empowerment for males and Tied to Success Empowerment: Connections for single mothers were held at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center and Country Inn and Suites, respectively.
City of Hinesville Homeless Prevention Director Daisy Jones said the young men’s program was started in 2013 to help boys who are quickly becoming young men to successfully navigate issues of employment, career paths, dressing for success and having access to adult-male mentors who could lead them on the right paths.
Jones said that this year, they developed the women’s empowerment program.
“In 2013, when we initiated this community-development collaborative event, the response was incredible,” she said. “We learned that mothers were curious and wanted something as well. We added Tied to Success Empowerment: Connections especially for single mothers. Our goals were/are (1,) offer support and encouragement from a diverse panel; (2,) give them a voice to ask questions and gain insight; (3,) reinforce relational parenting and involvement with their sons; (and 4,) empower them with information.”
Jones said the women’s event focused on topics such as: spending quality time with children; putting away the electronics and engaging children; living on a budget; having positive social outlets and “me” time; and forgives self and others.
Jones said parents’ connections with their children are vital for development and maturity into adult life.
“In our planning this year, we remembered the feedback (we previously received),” she said. “We wanted to use the opportunity to empower mothers on the same day, while they were waiting for their sons who participated in Tied to Success.”
Jones said about 82 young men and 32 women attended the events.
Jones said it is important for the young men to be among successful community and business leaders.
“Many young males only have women in their lives … their mothers, grandmothers and teachers,” she said. “We want them to see men and hear from men.”
Many of the men at the program sported shirts inscribed with “#YOLO_YLYC,” which translates to “You Only Live Once, Your Life, Your Choices.”
“YOLO is a common expression, and we added your life, your choices,” Jones said, adding that it was to emphasize the importance of making choices in everyday life. “Choices made without thinking can lead not only to failure, but prison, drug addiction, family and relationship destruction and more,” Jones said.
Liberty County Board of Commissioners Chairman Donald Lovette said the young men’s event was packed with inspiration, motivation and brotherly fellowship.
“The young men were engaged in topics pertinent to their success as it relates to the challenges they face on a daily basis,” he said. “Many offers of assistance were made to those who will elect to tap into them.”
Lovette said the participants were encouraged to be transparent or to engage in “real talk” in order that each man could be empowered with the tools to acknowledge, manage and overcome life’s daily struggles both on the spiritual and natural level.
“Even adult men have the necessity for mentors,” Lovette added. “At the end of the day, each man must decide his level and avenue of growth.”
Jones said the city is already planning next year’s event, tentatively set for Aug. 27.