With colored balloons, friendship bracelets, striped sunglasses and noise makers, Sisterhood Agenda members threw a party all about health and happiness at Frank Powell Park on Friday.
The St. John nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering girls through sisterhood, self-knowledge, self-development and self-esteem hosted a free health fair in the Cruz Bay park as part of the group’s celebration of National Women’s Health Week.
The three Sisterhood Agenda members, Lion’Ess Bruce, Diane Jackson and Darcaja Thomas, also marked National Women’s Health Week with activities like hiking in V.I. National Park, bird watching and hitting the beach.
The group collaborated with St. John Cancer Fund and St. John Youth Coalition for Friday’s health fair, which featured DJ music and games, but also plenty of information about physical, mental and even environmental health.
“We have information in Spanish and English about drug and alcohol prevention, safe pregnancies and how to deal with sexual harassment,” said Bruce.
Jackson said, “As part of National Women’s Health Week, we also have information about how to be healthy and happy.”
“Keeping our environment healthy is important too, which is why we have information about the V.I. National Park and the reefs,” Thomas added.
Jackson, Thomas and Bruce – all three eighth-graders at Julius E. Sprauve School – meet with Sisterhood Agenda founder Angela Coleman each Friday and also regularly host community events, explained Bruce.
“We talk about life and ways to deal with things and maintain our health,” she said. “We also do things to give back to the community, like this fair.”
The group gives the young ladies a safe place to talk about their feelings and lives, they explained.
“Sisterhood Agenda is important because we have to show that the girls are strong and important,” said Thomas.
“The group is a good way to empower girls and women,” said Jackson.
Friday marked the fourth annual celebration of National Women’s Health Week hosted by Sisterhood Agenda and each year the fair has grown in scope and size.
“This is our fourth Sisters Healthy and Empowered program for National Women’s Health Week,” Coleman said. “Each year we become more and more encompassing and we’re excited to partner with St. John Cancer Fund and St. John Youth Coalition this year.”
The fair featured giveaways of magnets, food guides, bookmarks and more while keeping a focus on mental health.
“We’re still talking about physical health but we’re stressing happiness this year as well,” Coleman said. “We talk a lot about eating right and exercising, but we don’t always talk about mental health. Being happy and mental health is a really important part of your overall health.”
Sisterhood Agenda’s health and happiness fair also offered a drug and alcohol-free area for St. John youth for the evening.
“We know that substance abuse prevention is an issue on St. John,” Coleman said. “We’re not ignoring the issue. We’re working with the St. John Youth Coalition to tackle the issue and talk about it.”
Coleman is also a leader – along with Shelley Williams – of the St. John Youth Coalition. The two plan to host leadership training sessions this summer in both Cruz Bay and Coral Bay, Coleman said.
“We want to look at the environment and see how it looks from a youth’s perspective,” she said. “We want to make the environment more youth friendly. We also want to meet with teens and host focus groups to understand what is important to them.”
While sharing important information with the young girls and boys who were frequenting the Sisterhood Agenda table at the fair, Bruce, Jackson and Thomas were also blowing up balloons and organizing friendship bracelets to hand out. It seemed that having fun was important to the members as well as empowering the community.
For more information about Sisterhood Agenda, go to www.sisterhoodagenda.com