Healthy Choices. Healthy Living. Healthy Lifestyles. Health was the theme at Sigma Gamma Rho’s 16th annual Youth Symposium held last Saturday at Lexington Elementary School.

In celebration of Sigma Week, the Eta Mu Sigma and Zeta Sigma Chapters of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (in conjunction with graduate chapters nationwide) sponsored the Youth Symposium to address issues affecting girls ages 13-17.

They discussed issues like maintaining optimal physical and mental health, developing a positive self-image, and effectively dealing with peer pressure relating to drugs, alcohol, sex and pregnancy.

Angela Morgan, Basileus, Eta Mu Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, says this is the second year that the Youth Symposium has specifically targeted girls. And by partnering with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, she said, the chapter was able to reach more girls.

Most of the girls who attended the event were participants in two of Sigma Gamma Rho’s signature programs: the Rhoer Club, an affiliate group of Sigma Gamma Rho, and Conscious Choice. Girls within the latter program are high school students who have made a “Conscious Choice” to postpone pregnancy and pursue post-secondary educations.

“It’s so much easier to study when you don’t have a lot of outside responsibilities,” said Gwendolyn Hopton-Meyers, elections chairperson, Eta Mu Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho and Conscious Choice mentor.

The Youth Symposium also serves as a platform that introduces girls to careers in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) because “women tend to be underrepresented” in these fields, Winston said.

“Does anyone know what a chiropractor is?” asked Dr. Danielle Peebles, a chiropractic physician at Pro Health Family Chiropractic, during the S.T.E.M. panel discussion.

A chiropractor is not someone who cracks your bones as one girl assumed. “Eggs get cracked,” Dr. Peebles explained. “I adjust or realign your joints.”

During Dr. Peebles’ “Cost of Beauty” presentation, she explained how women often subject themselves to unnecessary pain in order to be “cute.”

“Your body is always telling tales on you,” she said. “Corns, bunions and calluses are not sexy.”

Peebles said her dream was always to be a doctor. She earned a bachelor degree in chemistry from Saint Louis University and obtained her doctorate in chiropractic from Logan University.

There was also a “Arrive Alive” presentation about the dangers of texting and driving and a “Let’s Move” fitness segment.

In recognition of the occasion, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley issued proclamations to each chapter acknowledging March 9 as Sigma Gamma Rho Youth Day.

“Sigma Gamma Rho is honored that our city leaders recognized our efforts as we continue to bring programming to the youth of St. Louis City and County,” said Jacquelyn Winston, Epistoleus, Eta Mu Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho.

Sigma Gamma Rho is a nonprofit collegiate organization with 90,000 members internationally and over 500 chapters in the United States, Bermuda, Virgin Islands, Germany and Korea. Its mission is rooted in public service, leadership development and education of youth.

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