COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - On, Monday, April 7, 2014, Girls Inc. National held its Tribute to Excellence Affiliate Awards Dinner at the Washington Marriott hotel in Washington, D.C.
This event was part of the Girls Incorporated 60th National Conference held Apr 6-8 to celebrate major milestones for Girls Inc. including 150 years of providing girls with life-changing programs and experiences.
Oprah Winfrey opened the conference with a live video stream to welcome all attendees and to applaud the work that Girls Inc. has done to create strong, smart, and bold young women and to tell why she is passionate about Girls Inc. Oprah Winfrey recently made the announcement that she has selected Girls Inc. as one of four charitable organizations to benefit from the sales of Teavana Oprah Chai, a new tea available at Starbucks and Teavana stores beginning April 29.
"Girls Inc. is honored to be chosen by Oprah Winfrey and Starbucks as a partner in advancing opportunities for girls to discover their unique talents and strengths and realize a brighter future," said Judy Vredenburgh, Girls Inc. National President and CEO.
Attendees were inspired by an extraordinary array of top-notch speakers and thought-provoking panels. Some of the speakers included Carly Fiorina, the first woman to head a Fortune 20 company (Hewlett-Packard from 1999-2005).
Nationally syndicated Judge Glenda Hatchett; Sarah Brown, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy; Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources Programs at American association for the Advancement of Science, and many more dynamic speakers.
Katie Jenkins from Girls Inc. of Columbus was the evening Presenter at the "Tribute to Excellence Affiliate Awards Dinner." Katie shared the stage with the Honorable Judge Glenda Hatchett & Judy Vredenburgh, Girls Inc. National President & CEO.
Katie shared her story and her experience and journey growing up at Girls Inc. Katie started Girls Inc at the age of 6 and said she fell in love with Theatre when she was 8.
Katie says "summer theatre helped me focus on one thing at a time and taught me how to take responsibility and help other girls. In the theatre two of my memorable roles were Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and Glenda in Wicked. Girls Inc. helped me discover my love for working with children."
As the Presenter, Katie announced Recognition of 2013 National Scholars; Recognition of 2014 National Scholars; Recognition of Affiliates that Grew; and the 2014 Outstanding Young Women of the Year Awards. GeGe Merideth of Girls Inc. of Columbus won the Alumnae of the Year award. GeGe is a freshman at Albany State University and is an honor student. She also won a $15,000 PEARL Fund Alumnae scholarship. Adriana Embus, also from Columbus, a freshman at Yale University and honor student, won a $10,000 PEARL Fund Alumnae scholarship.
Judge Glenda Hatchett closed the event with a surprise scholarship presented to Katie Jenkins for $20,000 from the PEARL Fund Alumnae scholarship. This came as a total surprise to Katie; who is a sophomore at Wesleyan College (women's college) and is majoring in Early Childhood Education and Theatre. Katie was elated with joy and super excited at the surprise presentation. She said the money will allow her dream to come true and continue her education at Wesleyan and not worry about how she will pay for college.