Drag­on­fly Dar­lings em­power women at an­nual ‘Women’s Con­fer­ence’

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Society Scene - Broward - - Front Page -

The Drag­on­fly Dar­lings, an aux­il­iary group of the Rus­sell Life Skills and Read­ing Foun­da­tion (RLSARF), will host its third an­nual “Women’s Con­fer­ence” Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Broward County Con­ven­tion Center. This year’s theme is Ex­plor­ing the Kalei­do­scope of Men­tal Well­ness.

“We will have an ex­cep­tional panel of ex­perts as the cor­ner­stone of our day-long con­fer­ence,” said Lysan­dra Rus­sell, who along with her hus­band, for­mer Mi­ami Dol­phins line­backer Twan Rus­sell, is the guid­ing force for the foun­da­tion.

Twan and his late mother Corliss Ann Rus­sell de­cided to go on the of­fen­sive against il­lit­er­acy by found­ing RLSARF in 1998.

Ap­prox­i­mately 300 women are ex­pected to at­tend the con­fer­ence. The day will be­gin with a con­ti­nen­tal break­fast, fol­lowed by a three-course lunch. Through­out the day, there will be sev­eral break­out ses­sions, where self-em­pow­er­ment and mo­ti­va­tional ex­perts will ad­dress a va­ri­ety of topics.

Pan­elists in­clude: Paul Jaquith, pres­i­dent and CEO of Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion; Alice Tay­lor, CEO of Broward Health; Dr. Nanci Thomas, au­thor of “The Art for Heal­ing;” Lisa Marie Platske, award-win­ning lead­er­ship ex­pert/au­thor of “De­sign­ing Your Des­tiny” and “Con­nec­tion: the New Cur­rency;” and Dr. Gray Fen­ton, a cut­ting-edge homeo­pathic spe­cial­ist.

The keynote ad­dress, “Men­tal Well­ness in the Fam­ily,” will be de­liv­ered by life-coach Dan Hall.

In keep­ing with the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s motto “Woman to Woman Help­ing and Heal­ing,” sup­port of var­i­ous types is pro­vided by so­cial ser­vice agen­cies. Those at­tend­ing (in­clud­ing 211; First Call for Help; Women in Dis­tress; Broward Hous­ing So­lu­tions; and Healthy Moth­ers, Healthy Ba­bies) will of­fer in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice.

The event will also in­clude a bazaar where women will be able to shop for jew­elry, hand­bags and cos­met­ics, with a por­tion of all sales do­nated to RLSARF. The last pro­gram of the af­ter­noon will be an in­ter­ac­tive, self-em­pow­er­ment ex­er­cise as the at­ten­dees Zumba their way out.

This year, the Drag­on­fly Dar­lings have added a phys­i­cal fit­ness/cheer camp, pro­vid­ing child­care spon­sored by the Mi­ami Dol­phins.

There is also a newly added teen con­fer­ence com­po­nent headed by Macken­zie Keller, a se­nior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Par­tic­i­pants of the teen con­fer­ence will have a chance to win a “Jin­gle Ball” pack­age.

The Greater Fort Laud­erdale Con­ven­tion & Visi­tors Bureau is the pre­sent­ing spon­sor. Oth­ers in­clude Broward Health, BBX Cap­i­tal, Bank United, MBS Con­sult­ing, Florida Power & Light Co., Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Coun­cil of Broward County, MHA and Hol­ly­wood In­sti­tute of Beauty Ca­reers.

Tick­ets are $75 for adults and $25 per teen. For more in­for­ma­tion, call Mar­cia Barry-Smith or Chaynea Fox-Samp­son at 954-921-3787 or visit www.rus­sell­read­in­groom.com.

Adri­enne Brown, left, Pauline D’Oy­ley and Ni­coleen Dil­lard

Chaynea Fox-Samp­son, left, Deb­bro Allen and Amy Keller

Do­minique John­son, left, Veron­ica Hud­son and Lour­des Diaz

Joy Salmon, left, Paul Jaquith and Cyn­thia Wed­der­burn

Pho­tos by Kara Starzyk

Macken­zie Keller, left, An­drea John Bap­tiste and Scott Evans

Twan Rus­sell, left, and Lysan­dra Rus­sell

Mar­cia Barry-Smith, left, Char­lotte Mather-Tay­lor and Lysan­dra Rus­sell

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