United to Empower holds inaugural Rainbow Brunch

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The United to Empower (UTE) organization sponsored its inaugural Rainbow Brunch on Saturday, June 4, at the Surry County Parks and Recreation Center.

The theme of the event was “The Power of Self-Love; A Party for Women with a Purpose.” In attendance were over 169 guests, including women, youth and young adult volunteers, and care coordinators. The purpose of the event was to not only raise funds for the upcoming Juneteenth Event scheduled for June 19 at the Surry County Parks and Recreation Center but to “inject cross-generational hope into the community.”

The premise of the event was based on the colors of the rainbow representing blessings, hope, promise and new beginnings. The event provided a host of “self-affirming activities,” including an empowerment icebreaker facilitated by Lawanda Warren. The mistress of ceremony was Barbara Wiggins, who kept the audience engaged and laughing with her quick wit.

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There were several care coordinators who provided the guest with goods and services that focused on self-care: Deeply Frooted, District 19, Final Touch Health & Beauty, James House, KapturedbyKy, KD Mobile Foot & Nail Care, Mary Kay, Massage Just 4U, True Self Life Coaching and the Virginia Department of Health.

The keynote speaker was Dorothy Blunt. Musicians were Raven Powell and Donavan Davis, and The Ruffin Dancers performed.

The food was provided by caterer Blessed and Highly Flavoured. The culmination of the event was a multigenerational hat show with lively music provided by DJ Stanley, where the young and the young-at-heart modeled hats and hair dressings.

UTE strategically created content for the event by fostering sound community collaboration.

“This is just the beginning for us to offer empowering programs to the six localities that we serve,” said UTE Executive Director Sophenia Pierce. “We are committed to our mission to educate, enhance and empower communities and young people. Young people are not only our future, but our today.”

Volunteers included UTE members Felicia Bailey, Lorraine Brown, Aulinda Byrd, Leaca Clarly, Sheila Harrison, Joyce Knight, Roxanne Marr-Shears, Carol Marsh, Judy Meekins, Sophenia Pierce, Paquita Spratley, Lawanda Warren and Ronica Wynn-Harris, youth volunteers from Surry County High School’s sophomore through senior classes, and 10 young adults who assisted with hosting the women for the day.

“This event was directly aligned with UTE’s goal of uniting organizations and creating infinite opportunities that will enhance the physical, mental, social and cultural well-being of all,” said Marr-Shears, UTE chairperson. “It may sound ambitious, but UTE is and will continue to be a driving force for community empowerment. UTE’s core goal is to teach and empower young people so that they can lead the way.”

For information about joining or volunteering for the organization, visit the “United to Empower” page on Facebook.