HEFLIN — Seventeen Cleburne County girls ages 12-15 this week learned about navigating some of life’s challenges during a life makeover program.
Sponsored by the 4-H organization, the annual Be Extreme Inside and Out program teaches impressionable Cleburne County girls how to maintain a positive attitude and develop good decision-making skills.
Be Extreme coordinator Debby Mathews said that various speakers were chosen to teach life lessons and other skills including:
— Team building
— Health tips
— Clothing tips
— Cosmetology at Gadsden State
— Social media and the law
— Art therapy
— Drug prevention
— General behavior guidelines
— Table manners
Mathews said the girls will have a “grand reveal” Friday night wearing their new outfits.
The girls will wear their clothing purchased locally at Cleburne County businesses, supporting a marketing slogan “Keep it in Cleburne,” Mathews said.
In the past, the group had to travel across county lines to buy their reveal outfits but since that time several businesses have opened in Cleburne County offering clothing and apparel.
The three businesses the group visited were The Nifty Nest, Trends and LuLa Roe; a clothing line located in a popular Heflin eatery Southern Brew.
“When the program first started there was no place, really, to buy nice upscale clothes in Cleburne County,” Mathews said.
Mathews said the budget for the program is $6,000, all raised locally from donations.
Mathews said that participation in the program is not tied to family income.
“We don’t look at risk factors,” Mathews said.
Mathews said that each applicant had to be interviewed to participate and not all girls were chosen.
On Wednesday Mathews taught the girls dining skills during a “Miss Manners” class.
For example, she said, “We have had our main course, we’ve sampled a little of everything. Now what happens if you are eating and you go ‘Uhhmm, I just found a piece of gristle in my mouth and I don’t want to swallow it, what do I do with this stuff that’s in my mouth right now?’”
Mathews said the best way to remove the offending inedible piece is to put it back on your fork and to the side of one’s plate.
Each girl learned she should put a napkin in her seat if she must leave the table while dining to let the waiter know she is not finished with the meal.
After the table etiquette lesson, the girls visited Southern Brew for a full meal to try out their newfound table manners.
Sierra Lashbrook,14, was drawing cartoon figures in her journal between activities at the Heflin armory on Wednesday where the bulk of the program was held. Lashbrook said the program has helped her immensely.
“So far I’ve gained more confidence and I’ve made new friends,” Lashbrook said.
Lashbrook held up her drawing and said she wants to be an animator or a psychologist later in life.
Haley Pearce, 12, said she’s learned a lot of things.
“Drugs are really bad and you shouldn't use them,” Pearce said.