After two years of virtual programming, on Saturday, June 4, the much-anticipated Cedarmore Corporation Girlz Talk Summit 2022 was held in Eisenhower Park at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre. In partnership with the Nassau County Office of Youth Services, hundreds of girls were actively engaged in workshops, fun activities, and informative keynote speakers, all designed to enrich, empower, and educate young ladies.
The Nassau County Office of Youth Services Executive Director, Ladonna Taylor, and her staff, worked hard for months to help make the Girlz Summit 2022 a success. The Office of Youth Services worked with Hunter Business School and LI Nail, Skin and Hair Institute to provide two young ladies at the summit with scholarship opportunities. Hunter Business School also gave away fifty $10 gift cards at the Queenology workshop.
LI Nail, Skin and Hair Institute pampered the young ladies in the Beauty Pallavion during that portion of the summit. The girls that participled in the Queenology workshop were crowned at its completion by the presenter.
Throughout the day there were many other giveaways. The Careers workshop had women from an array of different careers, ranging from the Nassau County Comptroller, Elaine Phillips, Family Court Judge Darlene Harris, Receiver of Taxes Cherice Vanderhall, Hempstead Elementary School Assistant Principal Renee Woodside, and business owners Tanyria Byer and Shana Bowers -- just to name a few.
Two others of the outstanding keynote speakers were Collette V. Smith and Monique Denton-Davis.
Collette V. Smith was the first Black female NFL coach. She started her career playing professional women’s football at age 42, after a life journey of overcoming rape, domestic violence, and attempted suicide. After her coaching career, she founded her own business, Believe in You, Inc., and has become an ambassador for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She is a pioneer in the movement toward empowering women, training others to believe in their power to use their voices and change the world.
“At some point, you wake up and you start to fight for yourself,” Smith said at a fundraiser for Girlz Talk in April. “I’m proud knowing that I leveled the playing field.”
Monique Denton-Davis is the founder and CEO of Embrace Your CAKE, LLC, a Minority Women Business Enterprise. She is an expert in the field of human resources and is also a certified life coach who focuses on empowerment of all women, but particularly women of color. Her workshops train young women in confidence, positive attitudes, kindness and excellence. She has compiled two books of practical and inspirational essays: “Sisters Inspiring Sisters: Faith, Leadership, Finance,” and “Sisters Inspire Sisters: Self-Love, Manifestation, Abundance.”
The Freeport School District’s Giblyn Hot Steppers and Uniondale High School Show Choir provided entertainment in the theater bandshell.
One workshop that the girls particularly enjoyed was “Learning to LOVE the Girl in YOU: Interactive Health, Wellness, & Beauty,” which was sponsored by Northwell Health & Beauty Pavilion.
The girls enjoyed a relaxing spa experience with a massage, a facial, aroma therapy, and other healing techniques. The workshop was led by Dana Persico, who has worked diligently in research and development for health and personal care. In fact, she has launched more than 100 innovative beauty products and is the owner and CEO of LI Nail, Skin & Hair Institute.
Under the direction of Aleisha Garvin, LCSW, OWDS, Assistant Deputy Director, Nassau County Probation Department, officers from the Nassau County Probation Department (Family Division) assisted with security for the day.
Probation Officer Dianna Quinones of the Nassau County Probation Department (Family Division) greatly appreciated the event.
“I can honestly state that my experience at this Girlz Talk Summit 2022 was wonderful,” Quinones said. “I feel that more youth need to see, experience, and be involved with people that look like them, or perhaps were born into the same circumstances that they were born into, yet made it out of those circumstances to live in their greatness with their intended purpose.”
Quinones also said that even girls who are on the right track need encouragement to keep their focus, and the summit gave them exactly what they needed.
“We can provide them with some necessary tools and speak greatness into their lives,” Quinones said. “If we continue to tell them that they are destined for greatness, that they matter, they are worthy and they are loved, and if they can just continue steadfast in their race, they can and will accomplish and fulfill their purpose.”
Simone Robinsons Ross attended and participated in the conference because she is a grateful mom.
“As a Mother’s Day gift years ago, I was given tickets to attend my very first Girlz Talk at Hofstra University,” Ross said. “My daughter Olyvia was 11. She is now 22! The conference was so awe-inspiring that I just had to be a part of this wonderful program. I joined the Girlz Talk Planning Committee, and the rest is beautiful history! If you want to help a young lady in your life to experience this beautiful history, register a middle or high school young lady for Girlz Talk.”
Ross’s words were echoed by another Girlz Talk team member, Alicia Tutt.
“What a privilege to serve as a member of such a dynamic committee that spearheads the Cynthia P. Roberts Empowerment Series, Girlz Talk,” Tutt said. “The joy of introducing young ladies to interactive opportunities to assist them to unlock and maximize their full potential is truly an honor!”
Anonymous feedback from a program evaluation survey showed the enthusiasm and inspiration generated by the summit.
“It was an awesome event! My niece and her friend were excited to attend and want to attend a second time.”
“This was the best Girlz Talk! After being home for two years, I made some new friends and learned a lot.”
“The keynote speaker, Collette V. Smith, was really great!”
For more information about upcoming Cedarmore Corporation events, contact cedarmore.org or call (516) 378-3415.