Thursday, March 20, 2014

An Astronomer from the ESO, the European Southern Observatory, visits LOD!

We had an amazing visitor today! Sangeeta Mysore of the European Southern Observatory, ESO, of Garching, near Munich (Germany), visited the Ladies of Distinction Girls Mentoring Program at Northeast Middle School.

Mysore is apart of an amazing organization that builds and operates a suite of the world's most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes. The ESO, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organization in Europe and the world's most productive astronomical observatory. ESO provides state-of-the-art research facilities to astronomers and is supported by several European countries. ESO's main mission is to provide state-of-the-art research facilities to astronomers and astrophysicists, allowing them to conduct front-line science in the best conditions. 
File:The NTT Enclosure.jpg
The ESO 3.6-m New Technology Telescope  
Sangeeta Mysore's love for the sky started in childhood. She would often go out on the terrace of her home and observe the night sky with her binoculars. So you can say she started researching in astronomy as a child!

"Astronomy is often described as the oldest science and there can be no doubt that a view towards the majestic Milky Way band of stars - as it stretches across the sky on a clear night - must have been an awe-inspiring sight to people of all ages and cultures."says the ESO.

Mysore studied hard and was able to do well enough in school to go to college. After completing her BS degree, Mysore became the only person in her master's program of astronomy in her home country of India. 

In a career path where girls and women are few, Mysore was determined to reach her dream. As the only person in her Master's program, who happened to be a girl, she was under much pressure. She stated, "when the professor asked a question, I was the only one to answer. When I was late, the professor definitely knew.  And there was no falling asleep or not paying attention."

Even though there was not a lot of outside encouragement to pursue her dream, her parents encouraged her to work hard. "People can't make you work hard, but people can't stop you from working hard," says Mysore.

Mysore was so gifted in her studies that she was invited to Rome to the Vatican Observatory to work with the Jesuit priests and even had the opportunity to talk with Pope John Paul II. 

After that amazing experience she went to the University of Georgia where she completed her Ph.D. She was the only girl in the program. 

Mysore noted that "what you lack in talent you can always make up in hard work!"

Now Mysore is apart of a distinguished group of astronomers who use technology that allows for the study of objects at the in far parts of the Universe and detect evidence of planets and stars far outside our imagination.

Sangeeta Mysore was encouraging. intriguing and hopeful as to what's available to every girl who has a desire, will and work ethic to succeed.  

For more information on the ESO please visit 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Girls Slumber Party Weekend

Slumber parties are always fun, but when you add in a little awareness it can become down right dynamic! We held our first girls slumber party weekend, March 7-8, 2014. Where girls were pampered and encouraged with all sorts of goodies.
Slumber Party Weekend:  Filled with fun and awareness for middle school girls(grades 6th—8th )

On Friday immediately after school, the girls were taken to Blair Road UMC educational wing. Girls were invited in with their bags and served dinner hosted by Chick Fil A Albemarle Road.

After dinner, the girls were split into two groups, one group went to a self esteem session and the other group had facials. Once the session was complete the girls swapped places.

After the facials and self esteem sessions, the girls received a presentation from the Connections program group which discussed the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman's participation. The Connections group recited a poem about Harriet Tubman's life and shared their experiences of visiting the sites on the Underground Railroad.

Following the Connections presentation the girls enjoyed the movie Soul Surfer. Many of the girls had viewed the movie before, but it was a first for me. I cried like a baby. Beautiful movie.

1:00 am lights were out, but no one was asleep. So much for thinking that girls would actually go to sleep at a slumber party.

The next morning, Saturday, March 8, the girls enjoyed breakfast hosted by Chick Fil A Albemarle Road. Over breakfast the girls listened to a wonderful presentation by Dr. Janaka Lewis, Assistant Professor at UNCC. The girls learned the importance of women in American History.

After breakfast the group took a walk from Blair Road UMC to Mint Hill Town Hall, where Commissioner Richard Newton provided a tour of the town hall and his daughter a freshman at UNCW gave us a overview of International Women's Day. We also played trivia. Can you guess who was the first woman doctor in the USA?

Following our tour at Mint Hall town hall, we walked to Big Guys pizza where we were greeted with lunch, including pizza, cupcakes and drinks.

After lunch we walked back to Blair Road UMC where we finished up our slumber party event with awareness:  drug and alcohol abuse and human trafficking.

Monica Johnson with Prevention Services asked the girls to role play and come up with a response when approached with drug and alcohol opportunities.

Youth 4 Abolition discussed the dangers of human trafficking and the warning signs. All were encouraged to be careful about posting pictures and having conversations with strangers while using social media.

The slumber party wrapped up with parents picking up their girls and many tired and sleep deprived volunteers.

This event was truly a collaboration with several community partners including the following:  Chick Fil A Albemarle Road, Henderson Grove Presbyterian Church, Arlington Baptist Church, Blair Road United Methodist Church, Big Guys Pizza, Daphne's Bakery, Chosen Girlfriends, Mary Kay consultant Holli Hampton and many more friends who donated supplies, time and energy to make this event a HUGE success.

Can't wait to do it all again next year!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Community Service Project at Childcare Network

Community service is an excellent way to instill confidence and encourage middle school students. So in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, celebrated on March 2, the students had the opportunity to volunteer in a preschool classroom as their community service project for the year.
The Cat in the Hat
Read Across America is celebrated every year on March 2 in honor of Dr. Suess' birthday. 

Each girl was given the opportunity to read to a preschooler. The girls were amazed at the enthusiasm of the preschoolers. They were also impressed by their talent and knowledge.

Community service is essential for building self-esteem and developing the potential for girls. Service to others helps you see how far you have come or developed in life. It also helps you appreciate the skills that you have and are able to offer to others.

We look forward to other opportunities to serve our community.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Awareness Posters Designed by LOD

SPIDA (Students Preventing and Informing on Drugs and Alcohol) visited the Ladies of Distinction and helped them create posters to inform the Northeast Middle School student body about the importance of saying no to drugs and alcohol. 

The girls were able to review concepts learned previously about drug and alcohol abuse and spend time developing and creating marketing materials to be displayed throughout the school.

SPIDA has a focus on environmental strategies. Environmental strategies are focused on changing the environment that contribute to the use of alcohol and other drugs. These strategies are aimed to decrease the social and health consequences of substance abuse by limiting access to substances and changing social norms that support the use of substance abuse. 

For more information on SPIDA please visit

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What does it take to be the director of CMC Huntersville?

So glad you asked that question because Monifa Drayton Director, CMC Huntersville came to visit our girls and shared the importance of managing relationships.

Carolinas HealthCare System
Carolinas Medical Center-Huntersville (CMC-Huntersville) is a healthcare pavilion in North Carolina that brings a higher level of medical expertise to the community. We are leading the way in advanced, comprehensive, community-based healthcare services

Drayton shared that her middle school years were stressful and full of mischief. She told the girls that she had a really bad experience with an elementary school teacher. The teacher said that Drayton would never amount to anything and Drayton began to believe this statement. So she started acting out.

Drayton wanted the girls to understand that their destiny was not set and there was still the possibility of making better choices to change their view and perspective.

The girls were inspired and shared their own struggles of getting along with others. Drayton told the girls that it was a choice they needed to make to value their education and their opportunities to succeed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chick Fil A hosts holiday party!

Everyone wants a party and what better way to party than with the Chick Fil A cow and great food! Girls were excited to listen and learn from Hal Queen, Owner of Chick Fil A Albemarle Road location. We were able to learn what qualities are essential for employees especially for those seeking employment with Chick Fil A.

Qualities of a successful leader are:  a servant heart, a willingness to help and assist others. In addition, they must have a desire to do the right thing. Hal Queen wanted our girls to know that people enjoy and like to work with those who are willing to be apart of a team.

Our girls were inspired and hope to show more servant leadership qualities throughout the year to improve their relationships with friends, teachers and parents.




Thursday, December 12, 2013

All rise! Court is in session!

The Honorable Rickye McKoy Mitchell returned to speak with our group and she was as compelling as ever as she spoke with the students about her position as a District Court Judge in Mecklenburg County, the 26th Judical District, since 1998.

The Honorable Rickye McKoy Mitchell speaking with students!

Judge McKoy Mitchell was adamant about the importance of education and hard work. She wanted the students to understand that life circumstances does not define the rest of your life and that we all have choices to make.

Judge McKoy Mitchell shared her own story. She shared how she was raised by a single parent in eastern Carolina. The odds were against her, but she knew there was something bigger for her to do. So she finished high school, went on to college including law school at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and became a judge in 1998.

She currently presides primarily in juvenile court, hearing trials and motions involving custodial cases.

Judge McKoy Mitchell asked students to choose the power of words: to dream, to believe and to achieve.

Dream - you can do anything, big possibilities!
Believe - you have to know you can do it!
Achieve - work with your resources!