By Frenetta Tate, Contributing Writer
“Blossom!” was the theme of the day at the B.E.A.U.T.Y. Mentoring Program’s 3rd Annual Royal High Tea fundraiser at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. B.E.A.U.T.Y. stands for Biblically Edifying and Uniquely Training YOU! B.E.A.U.T.Y., founded in 2013 by Sherrell Ogletree, is a program that provides a much-needed platform for young ladies (ages 9-18) to become their best selves regardless of their past or present struggles. The young ladies of B.E.A.U.T.Y. are diverse in ethnicity, age, social class, and education. Under Ogletree’s leadership, the program and its volunteers nurture their dreams, believe in their visions, and motivate them to become vibrant future leaders through biblical principles. With several outreach efforts and help from partners and sponsors, B.E.A.U.T.Y. empowers young ladies in our community to be beautiful from within and strive to live a better life from every angle. B.E.A.U.T.Y. has made a positive impact in the lives of over 1,000 girls since it has been in existence. The Royal High Tea is an extension of Ogletree’s efforts.
The Royal High Tea luncheon brought together not only influential women and supporters, but like-minded individuals who believe in fostering the growth of our young ladies. Ogletree shared, “These girls are seeds, and we want to help them blossom into the women they are meant to become.” Ogletree also spoke on how she was helped at a young age, and how B.E.A.U.T.Y. gives her an opportunity to pay it forward, going out and helping others as she was helped. Her sincere passion and genuine spirit represents the best example of what we need more of –selfless women who will stand up and help our young girls not only survive, but thrive. The Royal High Tea was an atmosphere of hope, love, empowerment, and pure inspiration.
The luncheon also gave B.E.A.U.T.Y. mentees an opportunity to share their positive experiences with attendees. Mentee Autumn Williams expressed, “B.E.A.U.T.Y. gives me strong and dependable mentorship that has helped me develop my self-confidence, grow as a young lady, see the potential in myself, and develop new friendships.” Another mentee, Avian Williams shared, “I am excited about this opportunity to have an adult friend besides my mom and aunts. My B.E.A.U.T.Y. experience has made me more aware of myself. It is also a safe place to share, and I know that I am not alone.”
Also in attendance was Mayor Sylvester Turner, who gave words of encouragement to the mentees and thanked the B.E.A.U.T.Y. mentors for their model of success to uplift our young girls and teens. Houston’s First Daughter Ashley Turner served as the Co-Chair for the event. The Royal High Tea honored individuals who have committed themselves to being beacons of light and hope through their actions and work in the community. The honorees were: CleRenda McGrady, wife of seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady and Founder of The PUSH Project; Kam and Niya, 10-year-old authors and kidpreneurs; Nakia Cooper, Co-Founder of the Sister 2 Sistah Mentoring Organization; Ebone Stowers, Co-Founder and Director of Youth Development at the Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation; JJ Simons, author and Founder of the I’m Me Foundation.
The Royal High Tea décor was just as beautiful as the spirit in the room. Outfitted with beautiful blossoms throughout the room to go in line with the theme, every table was set with strategically arranged pink roses, finger sandwiches, and vibrant color. The proceeds of the fundraiser will assist Ogletree in her continuous efforts to have B.E.A.U.T.Y. help encourage and inspire young ladies in our city and the surrounding areas for years to come. For more information on the B.E.A.U.T.Y. Mentoring Program, please visit www.beautymentoring.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832-356-9646.
Photo Credit: Andre’ Kelly Photography