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G.E.M.S. Mentoring Group’s Annual Tea Party Leaves a Lasting Impact on Young Ladies Destined for Success

G.E.M.S. participants were all smiles during their annual afternoon tea party. The mentoring group is a part of the Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program. (Photo by Carlin Webster)

Twenty-five young ladies left the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) better prepared for success after participating in the Girls Empowered and Mentored for Success (G.E.M.S.) afternoon tea party. The mentoring group’s third annual event was held on June 24. G.E.M.S. is sponsored by the Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program at UTHSC.

The event was held in the UTHSC Student-Alumni Center and this year’s guest speaker was Kontji Anthony, anchor for WMC-TV Action News 5. Each girl and her caregiver were asked to wear a fancy hat to mark the occasion.

“This year’s tea party was special for two reasons,” said Laura Teresa English, MSSW, program administrator for the UTHSC Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program. “We introduced our newest mentoring group, Little G.E.M.S. for girls ages 9 to 11, and our older G.E.M.S. are extremely excited about mentoring them. The young ladies had the opportunity to share all that they have learned and their experiences with their mentees.”

Briana Dunbar (left) presents guest speaker Kontji Anthony with a Certificate of Appreciation at the event. (Photo by Carlin Webster)

Briana Dunbar, who has participated in the program since its inception, enjoyed the event a lot. “It was very entertaining and inspiring,” she said. “It was also good to learn about what to do and how to act at a tea party.” Dunbar is grateful for the G.E.M.S. program overall. “It has taught me to be a better person and how to become a great young lady,” she said.

The goal of G.E.M.S. is to educate and inspire the girls enrolled in the caregiver program. They meet once a month and get positive advice, life-skills training, and exposure to successful adults in the community. The Relative Caregiver Program supports children who are being cared for by relatives because their parents are unable to do so. It is a collaboration between UTHSC and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.