A celebratory ladies’ night out

Minus Naomi, ‘Empowering Women’ powers on

By SARALYN NORKUS saralyn.norkus@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 4/21/17

They may have experienced a few hiccups along the way, but the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Ocoee Region’s “Empowering Women” event once again lived up to the hype.

Guests were treated to a …

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A celebratory ladies’ night out

Minus Naomi, ‘Empowering Women’ powers on

Posted

They may have experienced a few hiccups along the way, but the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Ocoee Region’s “Empowering Women” event once again lived up to the hype.

Guests were treated to a musical Thursday evening, starting with a special performance by Benton Unit member Rayleigh Hawkins.

BGCOR “Youth of the Year” Ellissa Lawson was also on hand to share her story and to thank those in attendance for investing in her and the kids like her at the Boys & Girls club.

Nashville recording artist Lindsay Ell ruled the night with her musical prowess. Ell, who began playing the guitar at the age of 8, performed songs from her recently released EP “Worth the Wait” and a few covers of artists who influenced her along the way.

Her EP is appropriately titled, as the singer/songwriter came to Nashville nearly a decade ago with dreams of making it in the Music City. Since then, she has toured with acts like The Band Perry, Jennifer Nettles on the “CMT Next Women of Country” tour, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and most recently Brad Paisley.

“It’s amazing what can happen when you put your mind on something and relentlessly work at it,” Ell told the crowd.

With a multitude of BGCOR members present in the crowd, Ell took some time to encourage them to pursue what makes them happy, although her words may have also resonated with the adults in the room.

“Find out what makes you happy and what you really want to do – it’s never too late,” she declared.

“You can never start something too late. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t enjoy.”

Naomi Judd had been on the books to perform at “Empowering Women,” but health concerns led to her having to back out six weeks before the event.

At that point, BGCOR was unsure what to do.

“After she had to back out, many encouraged us to stop or maybe change to a later date,” BGCOR Chief Executive Office Derrick Kinsey explained.

What began as an unfortunate series of events turned into a teaching moment though.

“A lot of times our kids have the problem of quitting when things get hard — we knew couldn’t stop,” Kinsey said.

Ell was happy to step up to the proverbial plate and share in the special evening.

“There are so many women who empowered me when I was a little girl and I just remember them being role models my whole childhood growing up. The fact that I can now, through my job and by being a songwriter, be able to empower other women is just so amazing. We’re all here for such an incredible cause, raising money for the Boys & Girls Club, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” she proclaimed.

In attendance was 10th District Criminal Court Judge Sandra Donaghy, who was happy to come out in support of BGCOR.

“I wanted to be here because the Boys & Girls Club is a wonderful organization and they do good things in the community,” Donaghy said.

“All children need to have direction in their lives, they need to have good supervision. The Boys & Girls Club … is the kind of thing that keeps them out of the criminal court and the criminal justice system. We need to put our energy into the youth and good, wholesome activities and training for them, to empower them to be better than they are today.”

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