Bonding to make a difference

Mothers and daughters will come together next weekend to enjoy bonding time, live music and the chance to help children around the world receive an education.

The inaugural 1 Girl Nation/Making a Difference Extravaganza will take place May 17, a Saturday, at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place. The conference is geared toward girls 7 to 14 years old and their moms and will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m., with shopping opportunities before and after the event.

Event organizer Caroline Simas was inspired to put together a mother/daughter conference after meeting the mother-in-law of a member of Christian band 1 Girl Nation and hearing the band play in Columbia, S.C. Simas was so impressed with the band and how it ministers to “tweens and teens” that she wanted to bring 1 Girl Nation to Charlotte.

“I’ve never planned anything like this,” Simas said. “We’ve sold almost 200 tickets … there’s a number of different ministries involved that will be helping (with the event). It’s just going to be really neat.”

Simas also recruited her friend Tara Furman, who heads up Knowing God Ministries, to serve as the event speaker. Thurman has written multiple Bible studies and has spoken at numerous events and conferences across the Southeast, Simas said. Furman’s talk, “Making a Difference,” will tell girls and their mothers how they can make a difference in their corner of the world, no matter their age. Simas said the talk will include some interactive activities mothers and daughters can do together.

“It will be a great bonding experience for mothers and daughters … it’s going to be like a concert, speaking event and workshop all in one,” Simas said.

A number of vendors and ministries will be on hand selling their products and providing information about their organizations. For instance, Charlotte-based organization Fashion for Compassion will be selling jewelry made by girls rescued from sex trafficking in Ecuador. Another organization scheduled to attend the event, Truth Girl, is a makeup and skin care line for young girls who are just starting to wear makeup. The organization teaches girls the basics of makeup while also encouraging the girls to avoid “covering (themselves) with a mask” and reminding them they are “a daughter of the King,” Simas said.

But the main beneficiary of the extravaganza is Education Equals Hope, an organization based out of Fort Mill, S.C., that seeks to provide education to hundreds of girls in three countries. Education Equals Hope financially supports tuition, books, teachers’ materials and more to students and schools in Ecuador, Uganda and Haiti.

“The good thing about us is 100 percent of the money goes to the children,” Chip Smith, head of Education Equals Hope, said. “There’s no overhead cost; that’s a little bit unusual in the nonprofit world.”

Smith said he’s heard stories of success from students Education Equals Hope has helped. Graduates are beginning to take their education and use it to give back to their own communities – something he said is an inspiring confirmation that the organization and those who support it are truly making a difference.

“We’re actually seeing people graduating from the scholarship program and pouring back into the communities they come out of,” Smith said. “It’s just a simple concept of sending kids to school – anybody can appreciate that.”

Simas said she’s excited about the mother/daughter bonding opportunities the extravaganza will provide girls and women, but she’s even more thrilled about using the event to give back to those less fortunate.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the ripple effect of how many lives can be touched by an event like this,” she said. “Young girls who are such a powerful future generation really can make a difference from their corner of the world.”

Find more information about the 1 Girl Nation/Making a Difference Extravaganza by visiting www.event brite.com and searching for “1 Girl Nation.” Learn more about Education Equals Hope – including an upcoming fundraiser in Charlotte on May 19 – at www.education equalshope.org.

 

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