Talisha Thomas knows what happens when young adults lack social skills and find themselves out of place in work and school situations. They lose jobs, drop out of school and internalize their failures.
Lynette Reddix sees how low self-esteem, teen pregnancy and domestic violence can alter the course of a young girl’s life.
So, the two entrepreneurs joined forces Friday to host the first “Unity in the Community” celebration in Missouri City’s Hunter Glen Park as a fun way to introduce the public to their collaboration.
With an Easter egg hunt, food trucks and basketball in the park, which drew an estimated 50 attendees, the women hoped to attract parents wanting to enroll their students in Thomas’ upcoming “Building Business Etiquette Boot Camp.” Reddix, former president of the Missouri City chapter of the NAACP, was also looking for supporters of her scholarship program.
While no one signed up Friday for the classes, Reddix and Thomas said they were glad to start getting the word out.
They were also glad to see youngsters in the park, where some frolicked in the grass searching for Easter eggs while others played basketball.
“This is the kind of thing that brings me from Sugar Land to Missouri City,” said Venesia Johnson, who showed up with her 7-year-old son. “When I was growing up this is how the parks used to look with kids playing. The parks is where you came to build community.”
In the June 1 boot camp, prospective students will learn everything from dining tips to how to conduct themselves at work and how to handle college life.
Reddix is raising money for scholarships for college-age students with 2.5 grade-point averages.
“That population has a difficult time going to college and earning scholarships,” Reddix said.
But each year, she said, she gets scholarships for l0 students with her “No Sister Left Behind” program. She has raised money for five $500 scholarships and is seeking an additional five.
No Sister Left Behind is a nonprofit Reddix, a Fort Bend County mental health nurse, created in 2013.
“I wanted to give back and focus on community development and economic changes for girls and veterans,” Reddix said.
The two women met in a business class and liked each other’s programs so much they decided to merge to collaborate for the Good Friday event.
“I thought our Fort Bend community could use her services,” Reddix said of Thomas. “She has amazingly good tools and I’ve seen a complete 360, for example, with teens speaking Ebonics. Some parents were having a hard time getting their children to speak the way they need them to in public. She is really on to something.”
Thomas grew up in foster care in Louisiana. She ran away and eventually made her way to college at Prairie View A&M, finishing her accounting degree at American Intercontinental University. She also got a degree from the IAP Career College and National Association of Urban Etiquette Professionals in Business Etiquette, International Protocol and Image Etiquette.
She remembers feeling lost in college and wishing someone taught her what she currently teaches. She bemoans what she says is the lack of social skills of some youthful workers who don’t know how to provide customer service, don’t know how to engage with the public and often dress and speak inappropriately.
Reddix developed No Sister Left Behind because she saw women floundering.
“I looked at my generation coming up and saw the needs. I wanted to be that bridge so girls knew they were beautiful and special no matter what is going on at home,” said Reddix, who also does business coaching and counseling.
Thomas’ etiquette boot camp caught the eye of Fort Bend ISD school board candidate Monica Riley, who said she was thrilled with the idea.
“We need to bring etiquette back to our community,” Riley said. “Our kids are in homes where there is no foundational structure on how to conduct yourself in school, business and what your character should look like.”
Reddix and Thomas plan to hold future community events prior to the June 1 boot camp.
For more information on the boot camp see bbetiquette1.wixsite.com/bbetiquette?fbclid=IwAR2GhzyQD4OnZtEY2CR7bWVjjZOSsK. For more information on No Sister Left Behind see NoSisterLeftBehindFoundation.org.