'Enchanting Moment in Time': 'Boy Meets Girl' mentoring holds first youth gala
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'Enchanting Moment in Time': 'Boy Meets Girl' mentoring holds first youth gala

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The "Boy Meets Girl" mentoring programs hosted their inaugural youth gala recently at The Premiere in Orangeburg.

The theme for the night was "An Enchanting Moment in Time." The gala was a joint effort to celebrate the academic achievements of the girls and boys in both mentoring programs, Girlz R.U.L.E. and Boys 2 Men.

Founded by Rachelle M. Estrill and 7-year-old Gabrielle Estrill, Girlz R.U.L.E. is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering mentorship, leadership development and empowerment programs to promote self-esteem, combat bullying and embrace the uniqueness of girls and young women ages 5-17.

Girlz R.U.L.E. strives to ensure that the girls are provided with information to make wise health choices and increase self-awareness to develop self-worth and value. The organization foresees a world where girls become confident women whot are better prepared to embrace and address life-changing challenges.

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Rachelle Estrill said she has noticed much growth within the girls group.

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"We are ‘Girlz that R.U.L.E.’ -- Radiate Unique Levels of Excellence! A girl with a mind, woman with attitude and a lady with class," she said.

Founded by Robert Alexander, Boys 2 Men caters to the progression and success of adolescent teenage boys.

Alexander said, "From an adolescent to an adult, I noticed the vital necessity of influential and positive role models in a young man's life. There is a need for positive mentoring and guidance as it has become more noticeable in my role as an educator. I created Boys 2 Men to give young men the gateway in creating lifetime memories.

“We place great effort into uplifting our young men and have set a standard to expose them to elite and inspirational experiences," he said.

Boys 2 Men has proven to be a successful endeavor as it continues to grow in participants and support from the community.

Its mission is to strengthen family and student relationships and has proven to be a strong support unit for the future leaders of tomorrow. Community service, volunteerism and mentoring are major parts of the organization.

Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes, owner of Thee Matriarch Bed & Breakfast, served as mistress of ceremonies.

Dance group Higher Heights performed to an excerpt of Cynthia Erivo's "Stand Up” from the original movie and soundtrack of “Harriet.” They also performed to "Be Lifted" by Micah Stampley.

Higher Heights Dance Company LLC, founded by Nichelle Cole, is a versatile group that learns different styles of dance: Ballet, hip-hop, jazz, African and praise dance.

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Orangeburg native Kevin A. Rasberry was the keynote speaker. Rasberry spoke to audience members about decisions and consequences within life.

"You have to select the right group of people to be around and work hard to be whatever you want to be," he said.

A business educator and author, Rasberry has been a mentor for more than 24 years. He said the event was a success and that mentorship is indeed effective.

"It is imperative for some kids and important to all children. Friday evening was an absolute success," he said.

Raleigh Wright, 10, was named the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year. At the tender age of 9, Wright started Raleigh Pops LLC after telling her mother her vision. She saved her allowance for six months to purchase supplies to start her business while earning A's and B's.

With the success of the business, she has been featured at many events. Raleigh Pops LLC has catered parties and events, and Wright has been able to help and interact with her community by giving back. Last summer, she hosted a cupcake decorating class with the Boys and Girls Club.

She is an active member of the High Steppin’ Cloggers, Girl Scouts Troop 471, Lady Stringers Cheerleading Squad and Girlz R.U.L.E. She enjoys acting, playing volleyball and listening to music, Her motto is, "Always remember little girls with goals become women with visions."

Wright's mother Matisse Lee, assistant athletic director at Claflin University, accompanied her at the event and said her daughter was unaware that she had been selected to be this year's award recipient.

"She was surprised and I am so proud of her. She has always been a go-getter -- she has always been one who dreams and imagines what some may think is impossible, and I don't want anyone to ever take that away from her,” Lee said.

She said that she fully supports programs like Girlz R.U.L.E. and Boys 2 Men because they benefit the children and the parents.

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"The leaders of the programs have a vision and followed their hearts to brighten our children's futures. Programs like this are doing just that giving the children opportunities to grow and become successful. We must show our children how to be elegant in our world," she said.

Contact the writer: shakora.purple@gmail.com.

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