Standing, far left: Robyn Washington, IEA Region 26 UniServ director. Seated, left to right: Tomika Halsey, IEA Region 27 UniServ director (with daughter MaKala); Tiffany Fincher, founder and executive director, Aspirations of Life; LaSonya Burnett, owner, Jes’ Us Hair Salon.
Standing, far left: Robyn Washington, IEA Region 26 UniServ director. Seated, left to right: Tomika Halsey, IEA Region 27 UniServ director (with daughter MaKala); Tiffany Fincher, founder and executive director, Aspirations of Life; LaSonya Burnett, owner, Jes’ Us Hair Salon.

The IEA Matteson office and “Aspirations of Life,” an organization devoted to empowering youth to reach their full potential, teamed up on Saturday, April 22, to deliver an outstanding personal development program for eighth-grade girls from the south suburbs and Chicago.

The program, “Empowering Girls from the Inside Out,” utilized expert adult mentors and leaders who conducted interactive educational sessions with the girls covering a range of life skills they’ll need to navigate adolescence as they grow, including topics on etiquette, dress, skin care, self-esteem and much more. About 40 eighth-grade girls from the south suburbs and Chicago participated.

After a full day of interaction and learning, the program concluded when the girls were invited to work with a mentor in selecting appropriate jewelry and formal dresses for their 8th-grade graduation celebrations. The jewelry, accessories and dresses were provided by individuals and businesses in the area.

IEA members and staff from the Matteson office not only circulated word of the program and recruited students to attend, they also donated money, jewelry, accessories and dresses.