IMG_20130406_110956I recently had the opportunity to be a workshop presenter for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc-Memphis, TN’s 9th Annual Young Women of Excellence Conference. The theme this year was “I Am Destined”. With 5 workshops, approximately 250 young ladies and 70 parents as well as youth and community leaders, it was a day filled with fun, tangible information and empowerment. The highlight of the event was a powerful keynote address given by Cassie Davis, aka Emma, from Tyler Perry’s TV sitcom, House of Payne.

My assigned workshop was entitled “I Am Destined to Love Smart”. We had some very engaging conversation about domestic violence, sexual assault and making smart choices when it comes to relationships. Because the age groups ranged from 12 to 19, I was able to explore these issues with young ladies on many different levels. I’m especially pleased that each age group participated by asking and answering questions. My goal was to make sure that each group understood that they need to have a real love of self, establishing a set of goals and sharing my choices and experiences in the hopes that it will equip them to make sound and healthy choices moving forward. Also, I provided them with resources to have for themselves and/or share with someone they know who may be in need of direction and/or a plan of escape. Loving smart starts with loving yourself first. Once you’ve done that, the choices you make will be based on the love and knowledge of self and you will be less likely to allow people into your circle that will cause you mental, physical or emotional harm.