COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - On Wednesday, May 28, the day of Maya Angelou's passing, Members of Girls, Inc. in Columbus, Ga. came together to recite sections of the legendary author's classic work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Some teachers and mentors in the Chattahoochee Valley said Angelou played a big role in guiding and inspiring many students in the community.
"We have special presentations and programs to educate our girls about Maya Angelou," said Vanessa Lundy, a program assistant at Girls Inc. and a theatre director at the Liberty Theatre. "She passed away at age 86, so we wanted to get our girls at Girls Inc. together and educate them on her legacy."
Jordyn Howard, now 10, has been a part of Girls Inc. at Baker Center since she was five-years-old. She won the Miss Junior Sweetheart Pageant at age seven for reciting one of Maya Angelou's poems.
"She found a way," Howard said of Angelou. "She found some hope in her heart to push through and to make sure she got through the hard things. She never lost hope."
Howard read Angelou's poem entitled A Phenomenal Woman. "I love that poem," Howard said. "It feels really embracing when you read the poem after a couple of times."
Theresa Mayo, a program assistant at Girls Inc. said the girls will be reciting and performing some of Maya Angelou's poems, books and more.
"When I read about Angelou's passing this morning, I knew we had to do something," Mayo said. "Her life mirrors exactly what's going on with our girls in our area nowadays. Angelou experienced and fought through some tough situations like rape, poverty and racism. I think her books are important to read, because some girls go through hardships like that in their lives."
Howard was one of the three girls who recited from Angelou's autobiography I know by the Caged Bird Sings.
"Even though she's not here anymore, it still feels like she's here on Earth with us," Howard said.
"Despite all the things she went through, she was able to pick herself up," Lundy said. "Angelou was able to achieve so much. She didn't let the difficult times bring her down. These girls here in Girls Inc. can relate to her, because Angelou is a Girls Inc. girl."
Howard said she wants to remember her favorite idol by reading her works.
"May you rest in peace, Dr. Angelou," Howard said. "You were a great woman, and you lived a great life."