Saturday, January 21, 2012

Miss Black Ohio Speaks: Two Week Recap!

Good afternoon to my fabulous and faithful blog readers!

So much has been going on in the last two weeks, and I am so excited to finally have the time to give the details. Last week I had an amazing experience at the ESPY Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati. I posted a video with LOTS of pictures from the night, but the evening was so wonderful that I must put it into words.

The quick version of my evening goes like this- went to the boys and girls club, spoke to the young women of the "Pretty Girlz Rock" program, taught a dance, met a lot of the students and then returned home. The reality of my experience at ESPY goes much deeper than that.

I think that the best way to capture the evening and what it meant to me is through the story of one young woman. This girl's name was Jessa, and her birthday happened to be on the same day as my visit. To say that this girl was beautiful would be a serious understatement.

At every event I hold for young women I begin with a simple question, "how many of you would consider yourself to be the word beautiful?" With this question, some girls raise their hands and inevitably, some don't. My friend Jessa did not raise her hand, and she proceeded to say the reasons why she did not believe she was beautiful. Hearing this from such a beautiful girl, with what seemed like such a beautiful heart was painful. At that moment I knew that I was at ESPY for a reason.

As the evening proceeded we did a lot of talking, the young women and I went through different exercises and by the end of my interactions with the 8-9 year old "Pretty Girlz" each girl-including Jessa- had written down their goals, why they believed they were beautiful and declared for the entire group that they loved themselves.

It was such a beautiful thing to see the look on each girl's face as they began to believe in themselves. Looking at each paper, sealed for me how effective someone explaining what true beauty is can be. Jessa told her mother, her sisters and the club director that my being at the club made it the best birthday she had ever had. Hearing this was beyond anything I could ever imagine. Knowing that my presence could brighten a young girls day that much is so amazing.

My dream as Miss Black Ohio was to make a difference, to change the lives of young women around the state of Ohio for the better. After my experience with the ESPY club, I have so much motivation to continue. I know that because of my crown, young women will listen. The things I say reach them in ways I never thought possible.

At the end of the evening one of the older young women stood up and thanked me for coming to the club. Although I appreciated the thank you, what meant the most to me was her explanation of why the night was important.

I was brought to tears after I left the club. As I sat in my car and thought about the evening I began to understand how important the work I am doing truly is.

I want to thank the ESPY Boys and Girls Club for welcoming me into their family. It was truly a blessing to meet everyone, each child was an inspiration and I can't wait to go back.

With love,

Miss Black Ohio 2012
Kayla Hardimon

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