by Jennifer Yos
LANSING, Ill. (July 29, 2019) – Beauty Day at the Patti Leach Youth Center was a special event held in July for its young female patrons. Not only did they receive free manicures, but more important, the participants openly discussed and shared advice regarding body image, self acceptance, acceptance of others, goal attainment, and college financing.
Director Aneisha Titsworth led a discussion about the negative influences social media can have on one’s body image. Some of the conclusions drawn from the discussion were the importance of learning how not to compare oneself to others, of understanding that another girl’s beauty does not take away from one’s own, and of following the social media accounts of only positive role models.
Beauty and brains
Ms. Black Illinois USA 2019, Madame Kristen Glover joined in the discussion and also spoke to the participants about financial planning for college. Her pageant platform includes financial literacy, as well as dance performance and black representation in the arts.
Glover shared with the young women that when she was a junior at Seton Academy, she knew she wanted to go to college but also knew that she did not want to take on a lot of debt. She wondered, “How can I go to college without taking out all of those loans?”
She decided to stay home and first go to a community college. “If I can go to a community college, take the same courses for much less, and graduate, and be in a better financial position than my peers, I’m winning. And I have my degree, and a college experience—I am winning, yes? So that is what I did, but it didn’t come easy. I had to work five jobs at one time to pay for my collegiate career up until I transferred to Northern [Illinois University]…. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But guess what. I did it.”
She advised the young women, “You don’t have to take the orthodox route or the route that people tell you you should take…. You can achieve your goal by taking another route. You have to think outside the box sometimes. You can’t have people think for you—like my senior counselor was telling me, ‘Take out the loan. It’s ok.’ But guess what? A lot of my peers who took out those loans? They’re in a boatload of debt, and I’m here sailing!
“That is my message to you all: Use your brains. Learn how to strategize. Think outside the box. Be unorthodox. And also, use those strategic ways to reach your end goal.”
Madame Glover, a resident of Lynwood, Illinois, has a bachelor degree in dance performance with a minor in speech pathology from Northern Illinois University. She currently is working toward a Masters in Accounting and will be competing for the Ms. Black USA Nationals August 9–August 11 in Washington, D.C.
The Patti Leach Youth Center is located at 18123 Burnham Avenue in Lansing, Illinois.
- ‘Aneisha cares’: New Patti Leach Youth Center director is focused on the future (May 2019 article)
- Upgrading the Youth Center (June 2019 article)