Pictured are Candice Wallace, founder and leader of You’re Fabulous Inc., Brileah, 11; Jayla, 14; Ayrianna, 14; Shana, 13; Kamren, 11; Koran, 12; Germayia, 11; Vontaja, 13; Destini, 14; and Jaliyah, 7.
ALTON — A group of girls in Alton is learning a ton of new things through You’re Fabulous Inc., led by Candice Wallace, who teaches fifth grade in Missouri.
Wallace started the group in August.
“My ultimate goal is to provide young ladies with an outlet, prepare them for the future, and give them skills they need now,” Wallace said.
All of these things happen each week at the group’s meetings. Each Friday or Saturday, Wallace and the girls listen to speakers, watch demonstrations, have luncheons, and learn skills they will use for the rest of their lives. They also talk about situations at school and home.
“They really steer our conversation,” Wallace said.
“We talk about different things in the community,” said Jayla, 14.
Recent topics have included college life, involvement with sororities, career planning, course requirements for college, and creating vision boards with goals and hopes for accomplishing goals in the future. Another favorite of the girls was a talk on exercise and nutrition. The speaker showed them different exercises — “so instead of sitting on our phones, we can do push-ups,” says Kamren, 11. They also have talked about finances, etiquette and bullying. Another speaker shared a personal journey about her relationship with her family.
“Her talk changed my whole mindset,” Destini says.
They will begin community service projects soon, Wallace said.
You’re Fabulous Inc. started with eight girls and now includes 12 young ladies ages 10 to 17 (with the addition of Wallace’s youngest daughter, 7).
“It helps improve our attitudes,” Destini, 14, says.
Kamren adds that it gives them accountability.
“I’m going to pair each of them with a mentor to make sure they’re on track, and they know somebody cares,” Wallace says.
She also plans to set up weekend college visits for them.
Kamren says she has been affected heavily by the talks and topics covered at You’re Fabulous Inc.
“It helps us with knowing we’re not the only ones dealing with situations,” Kamren said.
A few girls spoke of learning about self-esteem and self-image, and said they did not realize other girls go through the same battles. They have also learned lessons about attitude, relationships and reactions to adverse situations.
“If someone’s rude, you don’t have to react in a negative way; you can still think about what you’re saying,” Kamren says.
Jayla says she hopes to keep setting goals — “there are some things I won’t like, but I can still say I have accomplished,” Jayla says.
The girls meet at Today Beauty Supply in downtown Alton. Wallace says she is grateful for the opportunity to have a safe place to meet.
“They’ve graciously opened their doors and allowed us to meet here,” Wallace said. “We really appreciate it.”
Wallace says she wants each girl to have every opportunity possible.
“This community needs this,” she says.
“We all have imperfections, but we can still change to be better people when we grow up,” Kamren says.
Wallace says the group’s message is empowerment for each individual involved.
“We are a perfectly imperfect group striving to be fabulous young ladies,” she said.