• 72°

Prodigy Youth Foundation opens for members

LAPLACE — Beginning Sunday, girls ages 8 to 18 are invited to join Prodigy Youth Foundation, a locally based nonprofit organization that builds leadership skills and self-confidence through a host of mentor-led activities.

Annual enrollment continues through May 5, and applications are available online at prodigyyouthfoundation.org.

The first 50 applicants will be invited to participate in an interview process conducted by current members, according to Prodigy Youth Foundation president Shona Lawrence.

The interview process is supportive, based around questions about the applicant’s interests and hopes for the future, Lawrence said, noting peer-based questions give current members a chance to build social skills.

She said members are grouped by age and form a sisterhood comparable to a sorority. With little for youth to do in St. John the Baptist Parish and the surrounding region, Lawrence said it’s important for girls to have the support of friends and mentors.

“It’s a life-changing organization,” Lawrence said. “If you’re looking for an opportunity for young ladies to pair with mentors one-on-one to build self esteem and learn leadership skills, definitely check us out.”

Skills gained through the organization result from lighthearted educational events and a focus on service to others.

Over the past year, members gifted school supplies to underprivileged children, collected donations for local families displaced by home fires, learned about social media etiquette at “Cupcakes and Conversations,” discussed the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and hosted a blood cancer awareness fashion show fundraiser.

On April 29, the public is invited to a mother-daughter scholarship tea event themed “Striving for Excellence.”

Held from 2 to 5 p.m. at 301 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace, the event fosters bonds between mothers or mother figures and their children while raising money to extend textbook scholarships to the organization’s two graduating seniors.

Mrs. Louisiana United States 2015 winner Dr. Serena W. Netter will serve as a motivational guest speaker.

Tickets to the scholarship tea are $25 each, and children 5 and under are admitted for free. Registration is available at motherdaughterscholarshiptea.eventbrite.com.

Girls interested in registering for Prodigy Youth Foundation membership must be between 8 and 18 on or before Sept. 30.

Lawrence said coordinators are considering lowering the $150 one-time enrollment fee collected after the interview process to make Prodigy Youth Foundation more cost-effective for parents.

New members will be inducted in July following a new member meet-and-greet in June. A yearly $50 membership fee covers costs of operation.

For more information, call 985-212-9308 or visit prodigyyouthfoundation.org.