Monday, March 18, 2013
In 2005 some of Tonja's nieces came to spend the night with her daughter. Eight years later those six girls have turned into a 42-member group called the Ladybug Club.
Tonja created the group to be a source of empowerment for young girls age 6 - 16 in the Midtown area of Jackson. Her goal was to promote confidence, community involvement, education, family unity and life skills among the girls.
Some of the lessons Tonja teaches the ladybugs includes fashion dos and don'ts, sound etiquette skills and even the importance of RSVPs.
The girls collect toiletry bags and host holiday parties for seniors. They volunteer with organizations such as Midtown Partners, Inc, Habitat for Humanity and United Way. They even take field trips to museums and other cultural events such as the International Ballet Competition to broaden their horizons.
Community leaders and other ladybug moms have joined forces with Tonja to make the group a success. Tonja says the mothers have even become a support system among themselves, calling on each other in times of need.
The moms hold leadership positions within the club and help plan the ladybug activities a year in advance. Tonja feels it is important for the girls to see their mothers "handling business" outside of the home. Some moms have even been inspired to further their own education.
Tonja says "If a girl or mom's experience has a lasting impression that can be built upon, that makes me one happy ladybug!"