Winston-Salem based LEAD Girls of NC is a local non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and empowering at-risk, middle-school girls in Forsyth County. In July, it held its annual LEAD-A-THON community field day event with girls and families coming together for fitness, fun and fundraising.
“Active movement is vitally important for our young people and our community to connect with one another in a positive way,” said LEAD Founder and Executive Director Joy Thomas.
With a focus on fitness and teamwork, the LEAD-A-THON featured local instructors leading group sessions in yoga, Mixxed Fit and Xtreme Hip-Hop Step, along with team competitions for Kick Ball, Tug-of-War and Giant Jenga. A DJ kept the music and energy flowing.
“It was an awesome sight to see so many of our LEAD Girls participants, families, volunteers and donors moving together and having fun,” said Thomas. “We want to keep the girls engaged with LEAD even when school is out of session which is why our summer programs and events like the LEAD-A-THON are so important.”
Both current and former LEAD Girls participants joined in the activities including Mayla who now serves as a LEAD Ambassador. “I enjoyed connecting with the participants of all ages at the tattoo zone! It was hot, but the music was upbeat and fun. Plus, the best part was that, as a LEAD team member and former LEAD Girls participant, we won the Tug-of-War contest against the LEAD Girls Board of Directors!”
Another popular LEAD summer program is its annual Fashion Entrepreneurship Camp where girls learn the business of fashion from conceptualization and sewing to financials and marketing. Local female leaders in business and fashion spend time with the campers sharing their expertise and experience.
“As part of our mission to advocate for girls in our community, LEAD is providing them with the tools and resources to encourage leadership, communication and self-sufficiency,” said Thomas.
The Fashion Entrepreneurship Camp along with LEAD’s weekend programs and other events are made possible by individual and business donations, grants and fundraisers like the LEAD-A-THON.
“When we started LEAD Girls in 2016, we served 66 girls across our community. Now, that number has grown to more than 300 girls with still more applicants than we can currently serve,” said Thomas. “Our annual LEAD-A-THON along with other fundraisers throughout the year are key to raising the monies we need so we can say ‘yes’ to every girl who raises her hand to be part of the LEAD program.”
To donate and learn more about LEAD Girls, visit leadgirls.org. LEAD is always looking for community volunteers to assist with weekend programs and its Girls Rising Expo held every fall.