The Guilfordian

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Symposium highlights women

“Love has a power that moves and changes things,” said Theresa Johnson, director of counseling services at Family Service of the Piedmont.

Love, community and courage were central themes at Family Service of the Piedmont’s Women’s Empowerment Symposium. The symposium was held at Family Service of the Piedmont on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The free event open to the public featured community discussions, guest speakers and giveaways for those who attended.

The symposium aimed to discuss empowering women while also emphasizing the various community resources available to the public.

“As women, we have to make sure that other women have access to the resources of the community and know what they are,” Johnson said. “If you know what they are, then you can help to educate others around you.”

High Point resident and Guest Speaker Suzanne Salaam emphasized in her talk that life experiences are learning opportunities that will help in the future.

“Everything happens for a reason, and you have to appreciate the good things and the bad things, because they are lessons,” Salaam said. “And if you don’t take them as lessons, then you are going to miss out.”

Salaam also emphasized the importance of asking for help rather than struggling alone.

“I was such a mess that I never thought to reach out,” Salaam said. “I never thought to reach out to go to therapy, never thought reach out to go out to get a massage to relax. I never thought to do something for myself.”

Clients of Service of the Piedmont receive counseling and assistance in changing their path of life. Former client Robin Davis said that she is grateful for the help that the organization provided and has made major improvements in her life.

“I learned that I wasn’t a bad person,” Davis said. “I was just making bad choices.”

As part of the symposium discussion, speaker and High Point resident Yolanda Smith focused on empowering women and helping them to see the value in themselves and their struggles.

“Women are a mirror,” Smith said. “They are mighty, they are radiant, they are reliable, they are open-hearted and they are rich. They may not always be rich in money, but they are rich in attributes and in characters. That is something that nobody can take away.”

Another prominent discussion topic included the importance of setting aside times to focus on oneself and taking a break from the stresses of life. Doing so was said to help give motivation and encouragement going forward.

“We never really give ourselves the opportunity to stop, and to reach out for help going forward, or even to celebrate the good things that we do,” Salaam said. “Don’t be ashamed of where you come from and where you start off. Great things come from very small beginnings.”

Regardless of where one is in life or how they are struggling, Family Service of the Piedmont seeks to emphasize its available resources and help that they give to women.

“There is hope,” Davis said. “Give yourself a chance, and then you can help someone else.”

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