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Program helping girls make Smart Choices

POSTED: December 1, 2013 10:02 p.m.
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Dr. Toni Sylvester meets with middle-school girls.

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The United Way Effingham Service Center recently hosted the inaugural Smart Choices program.


Smart Choices is a health and wellness initiative for middle-school girls. The event was sponsored by Effingham Family Connection/Communities in Schools, Effingham Health System, United Way and Effingham CONNECT (Community Network Navigation Center).


The focus was to inspire, educate and empower young girls to make smart choices regarding female adolescent health.


Keynote speaker Dr. Toni Sylvester of Effingham Women’s Health talked about the female body and all the changes a girl may experience during puberty.


Brandi Cummings gave a motivational talk, touching on the many difficulties young girls face while in middle school, such as bullying and challenges with self-worth and self-esteem.

The event also included breakout sessions covering topics such as knowing your body, developing healthy relationships, and skin care and personal hygiene. Organizers called the event a “huge success” that “inspired the girls to be bold, brave, beautiful and wise enough to make smart choices.”


Plans are to have two Smart Choices programs in Effingham County each year. The next one, to be held in the spring of 2014, will include a more in-depth discussion of female adolescent health, risky behaviors and their consequences.

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