ST. PETERSBURG – Women of Empowerment decided to start this school year off right by organizing a back-to-school event for the community.
Held Aug. 5 at the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center, a group of women with varying ages provided backpacks, school supplies, haircuts and snacks to anyone who walked through the door.
Starting in 2014, Women of Empowerment came into existence when a young lady had a family member diagnosed with breast cancer. A group of friends came together to cheer the patient up and hasn’t stopped since.
“So we started with three, grew to nine and now we’re at 12 [members],” said group leader Lucy Hamilton. “We’re just trying to grow as it goes.”
The mission of Women of Empowerment is to empower females to never give up, no matter what their circumstances are. Their goal is to get women of all ages to understand that there are no barriers in life.
“We should be able to push and pull, and if you need that encouragement we’re here to help as a group,” she said.
Starting off with members mostly over the age of 40, they now have members in their 20s.
“We’re constantly trying to pull them in and get them to understand that we must always put God first, and make sure that ‘no’ is not an option for us,” she explained.
Although Hamilton is the de facto leader of the group, she encourages input from every member and no idea is too insignificant.
“I don’t want anybody to feel that…we just pick and choose. I try to do everything that everybody asks.”
As parents helped their children pick out that special backpack that fit their personalities, barber Michael Reedy gave kids a first class barber experience for free.
“I do this every year to give back to the community,” he said. “I love cutting hair. It’s not about the money; it’s about them looking nice going to school.”