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Mothers, daughters to bond over tea

By Maria Jose Subiria

Mothers and daughters will have an opportunity to learn how to reach out to one another, and create new bonds, during a "Mother and Daughter Tea" event on Dec. 5.

The Ladies of Favor Mentoring Program, and the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department, will present the tea event, from 12 to 2 p.m., at the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, 3499 Rex Road, in Rex.

The free event will target mothers and daughters who have trouble communicating, and will educate them on how to break down barriers, said Gabrielle Starr, founder of the Ladies of Favor Mentoring Program.

"It will bridge that gap that's there -- that communication void," she said.

During the event, participants will be able to ask questions, learn proper ways of communicating, watch dramatic interpretations and hear testimonies from mothers and daughters on how communicating helped their relationships, said Starr. In addition, participants will be able to enjoy music and tea, or other light beverages.

"Daughters will express their feelings and emotions through speech, song, poem or dance. Additional sessions, including career counseling, self-esteem building and education preparation, will also be available," said Lindsey DeLong, marketing and sales specialist for the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department.

"We [Parks and Recreation] feel that there is a need for more mother [and] daughter events within our community, where families can connect and bond in a comfortable atmosphere," said DeLong.

Kioka McCoy, a resident of Fayette County, said she participated in a Mother and Daughter Tea event hosted by the Ladies of Favor program earlier this year, to learn ways to approach her pre-teen daughter in uncomfortable situations.

"Yeah, I didn't listen and hear her out. I realized I needed to listen to her more, before I speak," said McCoy.

Destini Carter, McCoy's daughter, said the event raised her level of comfort when seeking advice from her mother in difficult situations.

"It taught me to appreciate my mom and it was really fun, and I learned a lot of new things," said Carter, 13. "I learned that I shouldn't be disrespectful to my mom ... because not a lot of people have parents to talk to."

According to Starr, of Morrow, she is a social worker for the Clayton County Department of Family and Children Services, and founded the Ladies of Favor Mentoring Program, a nonprofit organization, approximately three years ago.

Starr said she created the organization for young women, because during her adolescence, she was in need of guidance and direction regarding her behavior, attitude, self-esteem and academics.

"I think, with my personal experience as a child, I couldn't talk to my mom about certain things, and now she is my best friend," Starr said.

Starr said daughters may sometimes avoid talking to their mothers because they think no one cares about them, or what they do. This may lead to low self-esteem, negative behavior, poor choices and a lack of interest in academics.

In addition to the tea event, the Ladies of Favor Mentoring Program provides a "Ladies Life Lesson" series on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Adolescent Health Center, 685 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, said Starr.

She said young women, between 12 and 18 years old, can get spiritual guidance, and lessons on etiquette, abstinence and physical and mental wellness. Participants need to apply for the series.

Starr said the programs of Ladies of Favor build a "foundation" for young women.

"What you do today, affects tomorrow," she said.