It was a day to shop, to get their hair and nails done, and to get a giant boost to their self-esteem, both for the women who provided it and the girls on the receiving end.
At the St. George Island United Methodist Church fellowship hall, on Saturday, Nov. 12, 17 Franklin County girls ranging in age from 12 to 18 took part in the annual biannual GLOW event, an acronym standing for “Go Light Our World,” based on the verses from Ephesians 5:8, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
The free event was started two years ago by the St. George Island United Methodist Women and has since grown to also include women outside the church who provide additional individual support within the St. George Island and Eastpoint communities.
Every spring in April, and in the fall in November, the organizers have a designated Saturday where the girls receive gift bags filled with healthcare, beauty and hygiene products, journals and self-esteem books.
This year the books selected were “A Young Woman’s Guide to Setting Boundaries to Help Teens Make Smart Choices,” and “A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart: A Teen’s Guide to Friends, Faith, Family and Future.”
“It’s become a community event,” said Teresa Manning, president of United Methodist Women from the church, and the GLOW event’s founder and coordinator.
“The girls are taught nail care and given professional manicures along with professional hair styling,” she said.
Two hair people, Phan Anderson and Fran Harrell, handled the styling, with nail technicians Lucy Cooke and Laura Naylor handling the manicures, with assistant Paula Mitchell. Transportation was available through Coastal Adventure Shuttles, owned and managed by Gina Trice and Josh Parker.
Refreshments are provided for the girls and supportive fellowship occurs throughout the afternoon. This year GLOW was able to include music via piano and guitar, performed by musician Charles Petty, youth director at Eastpoint UMC.
“The most popular activity is the girls’ ability to ‘shop’ for gently used shoes, handbags and clothes that we have collected through area businesses, thrift stores and individual donations,” said Manning. “To be sure we meet the needs of each girl and give them the best experience possible, we have them RSVP with their personal sizes.
“We strive to provide a fun environment where they can learn, grow and simply be giggly girls for that afternoon,” she said.