Just T.H.I.N.K.

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – There is a passion burning inside of Erin McFarley that will not allow her to be satisfied with just living. It feels like a thirst that cannot be quenched by a high-paying job or even operating her own schedule being self-employed.

The fire that burns within her provokes McFarley to make an impact on young girls, teaching them to embrace being “queens in training.”

“I have always wanted ways to invest back into the community that invested and molded me as a young child,” said McFarley, who felt she had to do something that would be useful to young girls’ futures.

Growing up, she recounted many different organizations and people that helped the youth in the community.  Now those groups are needed more than ever with the trying times the young ladies are growing up in.

Erin McFarley“I think that anything positive and useful towards their future is awesome,” she said. “We all have a responsibility. I just want to do my part.”

McFarley founded Rising Phoenix Group, a consulting organization that trains youth leaders in the areas of public speaking, self-confidence, PowerPoint presentations and public etiquette. She was previously a director of education and instructor at Barbizon Modeling School as well as John Casablanca.

She trained in public speaking with Toast Master International, and she aims is to prepare youth to be confident and sound communicators with a vast audience of people.

McFarley designed a presentation called T.H.I.N.K.  This acronym challenges the participants to consider the following when communicating a message: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

“A lot of our kids are so consumed with the internet, their apps and electronics that they forget how to properly interact with one another,” she stated.

McFarley was approached by other youth leaders to address the lost art of communication, and after some thought, she decided to develop workshops to approach the subject for girls between the ages of 7 and 17.

Using the T.H.I.N.K model, McFarley designed her workshop to consist of three parts: public speaking, etiquette and runway modeling.

The approach is to have fun and learn at the same time. Once the knowledge begins to sink in, the girls will begin to gain confidence in themselves. Her latest workshop with Pretty Young Bosses, Inc., a non-profit organization for young ladies, proved her theory well.

“I think that it is important to know how to present yourself properly as young ladies,” said McFarley. The girls really enjoyed that part of the course. I was able to show them some modeling stances and poses to help our future young queens.”

Initially, it may be challenging to get students and some adults to accept change, but once she shows them how easy it is to present themselves, they are all in. McFarley believes that confidence is the key to everything that is done in life and it is important to build it up in our children.

Ensuring that youths have the proper tools to be great, successful leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow is the best gift a parent can give. Imagine a community with McFarley’s passion for not allowing its members to be satisfied with just living. Imagine a thirst that cannot be quenched until there is a whole community of trained kings and queens. Just T.H.I.N.K.!

To reach Dexter McCree, email dmccree@theweeklychallenger.com

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