Young girls are honored with MEYGA graduation ceremony

caines | 6/20/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Program creates uplifting environment for young women Now you understand / Just why my heads not bowed / When you see me walking by / it ought to make you proud / Cause Im a woman / Phenomenally / Phenomenal woman / Thats me, a girl recited the famous Maya Angelou poem at the MEYGA [Multi-Ethnic Youth Group Association] girls graduation, which took place earlier this month. Many of the girls werent graduating, but they were being recognized for going to the next grade and pulling up their GPAs to a 3.5 or higher, according to Samantha Quarterman, the director of MEYGA. She said they came up with the idea because the girls grades were very below average before joining the program. MEYGA is a community-based organization with the primary focus of addressing issues of economic and social development and self-sufficiency. The organization has a summer and after-school program for youth between the ages of 5-14, which focuses on self-management activities and workshops, homework assistance, literacy, social skills, and arts. At the graduation, girls in the first grade through the ninth grade, were celebrated. Some of the guest speakers at the event included: Michelle Spence-Jones, Nancy Dawkins, Cynthia Stafford. Quarterman said it was important for women who are successful and give back to the community to come and speak with the girls. One of her wishes is to see kids in the program go to college and then come back to make a difference in the community. They always say nothing good comes out of Liberty City, but we have good girls who are doing what they have to do to succeed. Shakeria Carter, 12, who has been in the program a year, said she learns something new every day, which includes being respectful, using proper grammar and presenting herself as a well-mannered young lady. They tell us that young ladies are not loud, and they are supposed to be seen and not heard, she said. Both Carter and Kenyunna Crawford, 11, have brought their GPAs up to 3.5 or higher. Former MEYGA girl, Sylvia Spikes, 23, completed the program in 2006. But she comes and helps out from time to time. She said the program had a positive impact on her life because it prepared her for the real world. I feel that if I wasnt in this program, she said. I would have gone the wrong route. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com