The Union Recorder

March 21, 2013

Annual program to encourage girls to be their best self

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder


Distinguished Young Women (DYW) of Milledgeville-Baldwin County is seeking area females to participate in the 11th annual scholarship program as a way to boost self-confidence, promote leadership and talent, and become their best self.

“Scholarship money aside, what we want each participant to take away from the Distinguished Young Women program is self-confidence; we want to help them grow as young ladies and realize how much value they have,” said Sara Stone, director of the local DYW program. “This is a great opportunity to help reinforce positively and strengthen each young lady mentally and physically so they can be the best they can possibly be.”

High school junior girls who are residents of Baldwin County are eligible to participate at no cost in the program and are encouraged to attend a participant and parent orientation slated at 2 p.m. Sunday at The Vibe Dance Center to learn more about the benefits of DYW.

“We use orientation as an opportunity to let girls who are interested or committed to participate to let them know what’s expected of them in the program, for instance grades are a huge factor, and you have to have a talent to showcase for the event,” Stone said. “We will have past participants, known as has-beens, in attendance to offer more insight into the program and share what they got out of it, whether it was through a particular experience with mentors and fellow participants, or how scholarship funds helped them. We will help provide costuming for the event and have an opening number for participants to introduce themselves and go through the whole event so they understand what it’s going to be like.”

Girls who decide to commit to participating in DYW will continue to meet at 2 p.m. every Sunday at The Vibe Dance Center.

“We will also have optional one-on-one sessions on Saturday for participants who feel like they need extra help with their fitness routine, talent, or public speaking,” Stone said. “We focus on self-improvement and help them develop their strengths and master any weaknesses they may have; it’s all about developing yourself, showcasing who you are through your intelligence.”

The local DYW program’s showcase of awards is scheduled Saturday, April 27. Judges from across the state will critique each girl based on scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression.

“Prior to the actual showcase, judges meet with each participant one-on-one and ask basic interview and critical thinking questions,” Stone said. “The show opens up with a choreographed opening number, then each girl performs a simple fitness routine, and then answers a prepared question on a range of topics during the self-expression portion. Judges will tally their scores and name the girl who earns the scholarship money.”

The DYW of Baldwin County and DYW of Milledgeville will join participants from each of the 9 other local programs to advance to the state competition in Marietta and compete for a share of more than $130,000 in cash scholarships. A panel of judges will then select one representative to advance to the annual National Finals competition held in Mobile, Ala. in June for the opportunity to become the DYW of America.

“We’re very thankful that we’ve always had and continue to receive community support. The last couple of years has been a tricky transition to maintain the recognition of the program after it changed from Junior Miss to Distinguished Young Women,” Stone said. “This year, we feel very confident that we’ve done our job to promote Distinguished Young Women and show that connection with Junior Miss.”

For more information about the local DYW program, or to apply, call Stone at 478-452-5158, email, or visit

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