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