Empowering young girls and women, that is Andréa Williams’ mission in all of her projects. Williams is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Blazin Beauty. The nonprofit’s goal is to educate, inform and empower women. Williams is also the owner and operator of Silhouettes Firearms Training, LLC.
With her organizations, she endeavors to support the community.
“I wanted to be able to contribute to the community in a different type of way, using Silhouettes and use partnerships within the community. So we’re always inspired by our youth. We do feel that it takes a village to raise a child. We believe in that,” Williams said. “So we just want to do our part to encourage our youth.”
Williams' team at Blazin Beauty and Sillhouettes Firearm Training, LLC will be partnering with Family Martial Arts Academy to host a one-day seminar for girls aged 11 through 16. Williams says this age is critical.
“Our girls are dealing with different stresses than what we were dealing with when we were growing up. And so it is critical that they have examples that are in the community that live among them where, one, they’re able to turn to as mentors, but two, they are able to see that ‘these people have kind of been where I was when I was younger,’ even though they may consider us old. These people have been where we are. They can relate,” Williams said.
The event aims to teach the girls self-confidence, help them practice their social skills and communication, learn self-defense and learn how to use their body and voice as proactive defense tools. The seminar is not a firearms training event.
“I think that [the girls] will have fun learning those self-defense tactics that Tracy Huff has in place,” Williams told Up & Coming Weekly.
“But I would hope that they take away having that confidence to use their voices, whether it’s to stand up for themselves or even to stand up for others.”
This seminar is the first time Williams is putting on this program. The goal is to see if the community responds well. She hopes that by providing a different set of tools to these young girls, they can use those tools again and have the courage to be themselves.
“Because that’s what it’s about, is really just having the courage to be yourself, understanding that you are enough,” Williams said.
The seminar will take place on July 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Silhouettes Firearms Training, LLC. at 1165 N Bragg Blvd. in Spring Lake. The event will include lunch. Parents and caregivers are welcome to stay during the seminar.
Local nonprofit Grace Helping Others is hosting its inaugural Mother & Son Date Night on July 16, at the Kiwanis Recreation Center. The event will offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the bond between young men and the special women in their lives.
While it is advertised as a “Mother & Son” event, grandmothers, aunts, sisters or any other notable women are invited to attend and honor the important relationships they share with the young men in their lives. Grace Helping Others was established in January 2021 by Carmen Jones as a nonprofit tasked with offering support to surrounding communities. The volunteer organization commits to at least five fundraisers per year to assist a minimum of 200 individuals or families per year, empowering them to become more self-sufficient.
The idea for a mother and son event came to Jones when she noticed how often the area offered organized outings for fathers and daughters.
“I saw lots of father/daughter dinners and such, but nothing for mothers and sons,” Jones said.
This sparked an idea. While it is quite common for young ladies to have the chance to try on fancy attire, the same is not always true for young men. Mother & Son Date Night offers time together and time for which attendees are encouraged to pull out their best attire, from semi-formal to dress-to-impress. There will even be prizes for Best Dressed Duo.
As this will be the first year for Mother & Son Date Night, Jones is hoping that it will be the stepping stone to bigger events in the years to come.
“We hope to have more participants each year as word spreads and excitement builds,” Jones said.
Mother & Son Date Night is the perfect opportunity to create magical memories while letting Grace Helping Others handle all the details, including endless hors-d’oeuvres, dancing and a 360 photo booth. All participants will be emailed a link to the photos taken in the 360 photo booth, a video platform that captures 120 frames per second as users stand within a revolving camera while it captures slow-motion video.
Couples’ tickets start at $30 for general admission ($10 for each additional child), or a VIP option is available for $45 ($15 for each additional child).
Individual tickets are also available for $20 per person. Mother & Son Date Night will be held July 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Kiwanis Recreation Center and Honeycutt Park, 352 Devers St.
One Friday a month, the good people of Fayetteville can make their way down to the Cape Fear River for a truly awesome live music experience. In a sea of canvas camping chairs, people can gather together with beer and burger in hand, united in one goal: to have a good time.
The Rock'n On The River concert series showcases some of the area’s most talented musicians in a laid-back outdoor venue that’s free for all and family-friendly. Located behind Deep Creek Outfitters at Campbellton Landing, the pavilion-like stage has already presented some of Fayetteville’s favorite bands this summer season. From the country music stylings of Dark Horse to 80s hard rock cover band, The Fifth, Rock'n On The River has a band for every taste.
Next up, on July 22, is rhythm and blues band Autumn Tyde, followed by Foreigner tribute band Rev On. Autumn Tyde, created by legendary musician and Fayetteville Music Hall of Famer Doyle Wood, will grace the stage at 6 p.m. and Wood can’t wait. As a relatively new band on the scene, Rock'n On The River will be the band’s first concert in Fayetteville, which only adds to the excitement for long-time musician Wood.
“This is a great band with such great musicians,” he said of the group. “We have four lead singers in the band — it’s not a one-man show at all, and I just really enjoy doing it.” Playing a mix of rock, R & B, original music and the beach music suggested by the band’s name, Wood is keen to share a little something for everyone. Concert-goers can expect to hear some Prince, James Brown, Joe Bonamassa and a little Poco.
“It’ll be a fun show,” he assured. “We’ve got a different setup than most, and I think the crowd will really enjoy it. At the end of the night, I hope they enjoyed our original music and noted the musicianship and professionalism of the band. These guys are good; if not, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
For those in the audience who “Want to Know What Love Is,” Rev On, featuring Jan Fields, will hit the stage at 8 p.m. and close out the night. While guests are encouraged to bring their camping chairs, no outside food, coolers or containers will be allowed. Food and beverages will be for sale courtesy of Deep Creek Grill, and event sponsor Healy Wholesale will provide alcoholic beverages for guests 21 and up.
Though the concert is free and open to the public, on-site parking will be $10 per vehicle, a departure from last year. Rockin’ on the River is located at 1122 Pearson St. East in Fayetteville. For more information about the venue, follow them at www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630. For updates, news and show information, follow Autumn Tyde at www.facebook.com/autumntyde.
A new Association of the U.S. Army event is coming to the Crown Complex this month. The AUSA Warfighter Summit and Exposition is a two-day, in-person summit to teach leadership and professional development. The theme this year is “America’s Response Force: Ready Today, Ready Tomorrow.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Jack Haley is the Vice President, Membership and Meetings for the AUSA. He says they have wanted to host a big event at Fort Bragg for a while and is excited to kick this event off as it’s aimed at the everyday soldier.
“We wanted to do an event that was focused purely on the soldier, the warfighter,” Haley said. “We have been wanting to do this for a long time, and it’s finally coming together.”
The summit will feature presentations by Army senior leaders and commands based at Fort Bragg, as well as experts from industry and academia. Topics will span the seven warfighting functions and highlight the way Army operational forces can sharpen their capabilities to win on the future battlefield.
There also will be discussions on best practices to sustain foundational readiness and modernization and promote installation resilience. But it won’t be all lectures and panels. On the other side of the Crown Complex will be an obstacle course called the Battle Challenge Area.
“We will run soldiers through the obstacle course and reward top male and top female over the two days,” Haley said. The keynote speaker on the first day of the summit will be Gen. James C. McConville, the Chief of Staff of the Army. The keynote speaker on the second day of the summit will be Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Michael A. Grinston.
One speaker Haley thinks will excite people will be former NFL Player and Army Captain Alejandro Villanueva. Villanueva will deliver a PRIME Talk on People, Readiness, Innovation, Modernization and Education.
“He’s going to talk to soldiers about leadership, morals and ethics that he learned when he was deployed in Afghanistan,” Haley said. “I also think he will run the battle course with a couple of troops and do a physical training session with some of the soldiers at Fort Bragg.”
Gen. Andrew Poppas, the new commander of United States Army Forces Command, will also have a chance to talk to Fort Bragg soldiers during a town hall on the second day of the summit. Poppas and Grinston will hold a discussion on building readiness through cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined and fit.
In addition, a session dedicated to the spouses and families of servicemembers will be held. That panel called Community Grit: Building Family Support Readiness will take place on the first day of the expo.
For those who can’t make it to all of the panels, many of them will be live-streamed on AUSA’s website and social media.
Online registration is open until July 20. The event itself will take place on July 27 and July 28. There is no cost for military and government civilian personnel. All attendees, exhibitors and speakers are to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Masks are optional. To register, go to https://meetings.ausa.org/warfighter/index.cfm.
Knowledge is power, and the United Negro College Fund said it best: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Education is learning what you didn’t know that you didn’t know, and becoming a lifelong learner striving to become the best version of oneself is imperative. Cumberland County Schools currently have 470 students who dropped out of school, and that is why they are presenting their Back-to-School Launch Party Thursday, July 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Alger B. Wilkins High School.
“The purpose of our Back-to-School Launch Party is to reengage students who have gotten out of school for various reasons such as lack of engagement, being unmotivated, having to work during COVID-19, experiencing a sickness, missed a lot of days of school and more,” explained Candice Revels, a school social worker for the Office of Indian Education with Cumberland County Schools.
“And this was a part of that lack of engagement, and they just felt like they were overwhelmed, so we really want to reengage them and give them the best option for their circumstances now.” The event will discuss the options for students returning to school, if a student qualifies to attend the online academy and what kinds of community resources the student may need.
“There will be tables set up so that students can rotate and receive the information that they need,” said Revels. “For example, Miller-Motte College will be there to assist with information on how to obtain your truck driver certification.”
The party will feature a Speak On It Teen Health Awareness Fair. “They will talk about some of those health aspects to include mental health awareness, safe sex practices, navigating life after COVID-19, self-care, financial literacy, resources and next steps,” Revels said. “They will also discuss what life after high school will look like for the individual.”
There will be many future options presented to potential returning students. “The discussion will center around if the student wants to go into the workforce, join the military or attend a two-year or four-year college, Revels said.
The event is free and open to the public. Organizers will have door prizes and swag bags will be given to each student who attends the event and reenrolls in school. Alger B. Wilkins High School is located at 1429 Skibo Road.