Andrea White is spearheading an adults-only charity event in mid-November to raise money for a day-long girls’ summer leadership conference in 2020. White said a portion of proceeds will also go to someone with a leukemia diagnosis.
“Bold Lips and Bow Ties” is 7 to 11 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Arts Center of Greenwood, 120 Main St. This event is for adults age 35 and up. Tickets are $35 and limited. Purchase through eventbrite.com.
A dressy event with heavy hors d’oeuvres and adult beverages, the night includes music by disc jockey Tim-E, a raffle and a single silent auction item up for bid, donated by David Lindsey Clothier, White said.
Tickets are going fast, White said.
“I view this as a networking social, to mix and mingle and an opportunity to talk about the leadership conference and the other programs that fall under the charitable organization Emerald City Hoops Incorporated, BLOOM and HoopsEdu.”
A goal of fundraising through Bold Lips and Bow Ties is to raise enough money to enable attendees at the summer leadership conference, slated for June 2020, to attend at no cost, White said.
“I’m organizing a ‘lead-HER-ship’ Conference for girls in grades 5 through 12 in June 2020,” White said. “It’s being done through my youth leadership program, BLOOM, which stands for Becoming Leaders of Optimism and Meaning, that I started last year.
“BLOOM is under the registered charitable organization Emerald City Hoops Inc., along with HoopsEdu, a co-ed basketball program led by coach Sean Mims and Harrison Forrester Jr.,” White said.
“Sometimes, girls have leadership potential, but they need a little work to pull that out,” White said. “It’s like growing beautiful flowers from seed. You have to bloom where you are planted.”
White said transitioning from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school can be difficult for girls, especially if bullying is part of the picture.
“Girls are often trying to find themselves,” White said. “Sometimes, they have a hard time accepting themselves as they are. You have to accept that not everybody is going to look like you. Everybody is not going to dress like you. Everybody is not going to talk like you. We are all made differently.”
White, 41, is the registrar and PowerSchool manager at Westview Middle School in Greenwood.
She has a bachelor’s degree psychology from Limestone College and a master’s degree in counseling from Webster University and White also has previously worked as a police officer for the City of Greenwood.
“I’ve been a cheerleading coach here at school and I have always worked with kids,” White said. “With kids, there’s a lot of talk about how to get along and resolve conflicts. I’ve also worked with the Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Leadership Council and its Summer Circle program for youth. I’m also in my 11th year as a commissioner for the 7th Episcopal District Debutante-Master Commission, which is like a cotillion for seniors in high school.”
All the things White has been involved with have prompted her to establish her own youth leadership program for girls.
“I’m hoping Bold Lips and Bow Ties will bring us together as a community to sew a small seed with this ‘lead-HER-ship conference next year,” White said. “I want girls of all ethnicities and backgrounds to be a part of this.”
Coach Sean Mims, program director of HoopsEdu, who is also a teacher at Brewer Middle School in Greenwood, says all of the collaborating organizations have a common goal, youth empowerment.
“We’re trying to find outlets for the youth to grow their talents and abilities,” Mims said. “BLOOM is showing young ladies in particular that they can be great and do what they are destined to do.”
During the summer of 2018, Mims said HoopsEdu and BLOOM teamed up for a girls’ basketball empowerment camp at Brewer Middle School.
“We had entrepreneurs come in, a fitness coach and an educator,” Mims said. “We all talked about how everything works together — fitness, health, education and business and creativity...I learned a lot, too. With this fundraiser on Nov. 15, we want to be able to continue to help youth and eliminate families’ cost concerns about a summer leadership conference.”
Teresa. S. Goodman, executive director of Community Initiatives, another Greenwood nonprofit, is among people White is partnering with to grow BLOOM and expand its reach.
Community Initiatives provides social, economic, educational, and health services for individuals and families, including youth programming, year-round.
“BLOOM has enabled young ladies to have conversations without judgment, to learn who they are,” Goodman said. “During our summer camp, we look for programs to partner with. Andrea White wanted to do her curriculum with our tween and young teen girls. She did two sessions per week and the girls loved it.
“I saw differences in behavior and attitudes and in the way girls respected each other and bonded,” Goodman said. “Middle school is a hard time for girls. We want BLOOM to come do programming again.”
Goodman said she’s looking forward to Bold Lips and Bow Ties.
“I’ve picked me out a bold lip color,” Goodman said. “I am excited.”