Rally to encourage girls, women to walk with pride

Published 11:42 am Friday, September 20, 2013

Walk in It Inc. is sponsoring its second annual Self-Esteem Walk Rally Saturday at 9 a.m. at J.P. King Middle School. -- SUBMITTED

Walk in It Inc. is sponsoring its second annual Self-Esteem Walk Rally Saturday at 9 a.m. at J.P. King Middle School. — SUBMITTED

FRANKLIN—Girls and women in Western Tidewater are invited to walk the walk this Saturday toward improving their sense of worth.

Walk in It Inc. is sponsoring its second annual Self-Esteem Walk and Rally. The activity begins 9 a.m. at J.P. King Middle School and concludes at Paul D. Camp Community College’s Regional Workforce Development Center.

The Rev. Jennell Riddick is the source of the group that’s offering the event. She said there was no one thing that inspired her.

“I got the idea to work with women and girls through the ministry,” she said. Her husband, the Rev. Dwight Riddick, is senior pastor of First Baptist Church Franklin.

Speaking at assemblies, doing volunteer work and giving words of encouragement to young ladies also nurtured the idea.

“It’s really empowered me to empower others,” she said. “Our main emphasis is girls’ and women’s empowerment. One thing I’ve found is that regardless of race or background, there are girls and women dealing with self-esteem images. Their potential success is hindered.”

Riddick attributes that to both the media and what’s happening in the home lives.

Her organization, Walk in It, began 10 years ago when she was living in Williamsburg. An anniversary banquet is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11, in Hampton.

Residents in Western Tidewater aren’t the only people expected. Riddick said people from Richmond, Suffolk and Williamsburg are invited.

Walk in It is described by her as an umbrella organization, with Ladies of Distinction also serving to encourage girls and young ladies.

“I would say first and foremost it’s the girls themselves who have benefited, with 98 percent going on to attend college,” she said. “And they come back and say that’s because of Ladies of Distinction.”

Other affirmations have come from text messages on her phone and personal comments from school administrator, principals and parents who say they’ve seen a better attitude in the girls who participate.

Tora Sweat, who handles publicity, has been with the organization since 2007. She was invited by Riddick because of her work with young girls in the community. Sweat also has been a youth leader at the church.

“A lot of girls have gone on to college and higher education and also to practice abstinence,” said Sweat. “Some of them didn’t have positive role models and we provide positive role models.”

That organization provides them some guidelines such as: Respect yourself and others; never settle for less; if you to have plot, it’s a not; learn from past mistakes; surround yourself with positive people; be confident in yourself; and guard your heart.

Another draw to the event is the guest appearance of actress Terri Vaughan, who’s worked with Steve Harvey and appeared on “Meet the Browns.”

Riddick was looking for a celebrity who has interests similar to her own, and learned that Vaughan has the Take Wings Foundation based in California. Connections led the pastor to getting the actress to attend Saturday.

To learn more about the event, call 562-7158 or 407-5412.