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LEAD Girls of NC honors four LEAD girls with awards and celebrates five years 

WINSTON-SALEM — LEAD Girls of North Carolina hosted its fifth anniversary soiree on Sunday, March 28, in a virtual celebration and awards ceremony honoring the hundreds of participants, supporters and partners of LEAD Girls. Four LEAD girls were recognized for their accomplishments at 5:30 p.m. The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel lit up their building in LEAD’s signature teal and pink colors at 7:30 p.m. to further celebrate LEAD and their five-year anniversary.

LEAD Girls worked with 229 girls in 2020 from 27 schools. Four LEAD Girls were recognized for their accomplishments last year. Patience Marie Adams received the Literacy Growth of the Year Award. A sixth-grader at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, Adams is helpful and engaged in school and in LEAD Academy sessions. Striving to be successful academically, she is respectful to her peers and to adults. “LEAD has taught me that when I grow up,” Adams said. “I can be anything I want to be.”

Ariana Rhymer, a ninth-grader at West Forsyth High School received the LEAD Ambassador of the Year Award. Rhymer has been a part of LEAD for three years and has excellent participation and a tremendous commitment to LEAD, which has helped her own personal growth and development. When she grows up, she wants to be an entrepreneur with a business focused on fashion and product development.

Lily Goldstein received the Community LEAD Girls of the Year Award for her exemplary participation, perfect attendance, and vibrant attitude. A seventh-grader at Paisley IB Magnet Middle School, Goldstein is a tremendous asset, working to fully understand LEAD’s curriculum subjects and topics. This is her first year being a part of LEAD Girls and she has already improved her confidence and found her voice.

Zha’Nyia Bryant-Jones, a 12th grader at Glenn High School, received the Trailblazer of the Year Award. Bryant-Jones has been with LEAD Girls since its founding, five years ago. She has already been accepted into 10 colleges and plans to major in engineering. Eventually, she wants to own a business where she is an active participant in building and demolition

“These young women represent what LEAD Girls is all about,” said Joy Nelson Thomas, founder and executive director. “We are so excited about all they will accomplish in the future and thrilled several will be able to help younger LEAD girls thrive.”

In conjunction with the soiree, LEAD Girls launched a new initiative called theLEADher Circle.This circle — which is based on the belief that every girl deserves the chance to thrive — was created in partnership with three local leaders and friends of LEAD Girls: Natalie Broyhill, Mary Jamis, and Dr. Paula Wilkins. With a donation before April 1, supporters can join the inaugural LEADher Circle.

Through donations from LEADher Circle donors, soiree sponsors, and the silent auction, LEAD raised $43,054.12 to support their programs and help girls overcome barriers to success. While they didn’t meet their goal of $50,000 yet, a $1,000 challenge match has been issued with the hope of additional support offered from the community by April 1. The sponsors for the soiree were: The Chronicle, Truliant Federal Credit Union, M Creative, Maynard & Harris Attorneys at Law, PPL, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Denise D. Adams, Mayor Pro Tempore, Goodwill Industries, WSSU School of Health Sciences, Kilpatrick Townsend, and CC Baller Creations, LLC.  Donations and a link to the celebration video can be found at: www.leadgirls.org/2021-soiree/.

The funds raised will be used to sustain the organization’s programs such as Community LEAD, LEAD Academy, the Summer Fashion Entrepreneurship Camp, and three pilot programs that began this spring, all of which will continue the work that LEAD has done for the past five years to ensure that girls in our community have the tools and resources they need to succeed socially, academically, and financially.

“Our fifth anniversary was wonderful to celebrate! I am grateful for the outstanding support from our community,” said Thomas. “We have come a long way, and I am so proud of the girls and all they have accomplished.”

While this year’s soiree looked different from years past, the virtual celebration united supporters of the organization to celebrate the work that LEAD has done over the past five years as well as LEAD girls and their families to recognize their accomplishments and resilience over the past year.