Women gather to share wisdom
The conference provides an opportunity to spread the message of empowerment and love
“Empowered to improve” is the message local women have been working diligently to spread, and Polk County Outreach Ministries, partnered with Zion Hill First Baptist Church Inc., designed their most recent monthly brunch around the idea of improving.
Various speakers delivered messages of health, spirituality, and general personal empowerment to the women in attendance.
“We’re hosting t he brunch in order to help the women in the community become more active, make improvements in their communities, and make a positive impact on everyone in the community,” Outreach Ministries Chief Advancement Officer Gale Sherfield said.
Speakers Tijuana Arnold, Dr. Karen Poteete, and Barbara Williams spoke prominently of physical and mental well-being as a building block for change and empowerment. Speakers and topics promise to vary during meetings, but those interested in can attend at Ramsey Run’s community center at 100 Ramsey Lane, Rockmart.
“When I went to vet s chool, t hings were changing in my body,” Poteete said. “I didn’t quite understand what was going on. I thought it was stress, but my face was breaking out. I thought it was stress, but I’m having heavier cycles. I was losing some weight, but it must be stress.”
Poteete would go on to graduate and work in a hospital, but her medical problems persisted.
“I never once thought there was something else going on. Maybe I need to look into my health a little more seriously. Maybe I should stop and figure out why I’m experiencing this change. It’s different going to a doctor that specializes in an area than one that doesn’t specialize,” Poteete said.
A physician would prescribe Poteete with iron pills in hopes of combating her patient’s blood loss, but a year later, symptoms such as exhaustion, weight loss, and blood loss persisted.
Porteete’s ultrasound later revealed noncancerous, pain-causing growths known as fibroids.
“From that moment, after I got surgery, my whole perspective of health changed. I never want to go through that again, and anyone that I can help along this journey, I will. Removing the fibroids leaves the opportunity for them to come back, but what I found out from a lot of research was that your diet and stress level play a role,” she explained.
Now, the woman has taken to a much more natural lifestyle with a healthier diet and natural hygiene products.
“I tell you, with many years of listening and talking to people, I’ve seen things that have opened my eyes. A lot of diseases, I’m learning, can be reversed by diet, exercising, removing a lot of stress, and just overall supplements,” she said. “I wanted to empower women today to encourage you all that if you visit a doctor who only wants to throw medication at you, ask them about other alternatives.”
Give me something more natural. Ask them for a routine, and set a goal. After 3 months let’s recheck my cholesterol, let’s recheck my blood pressure,” Poteete add- ed. “If I had stopped with my first doctor, I don’t know where I’d be today.”
Williams presented a speech similar in ideas, but as an 80-year-old, she encouraged the audience to take care of their body while young.
“Start teaching them at an early age, how to take care of your body,” Williams said. “What to wear, what not to wear. The Lord told me that if I don’t, where’s that blood gonna be? On me. I still tell my children, and they look at me like I’m crazy. But I still talk to them because they’re my children. They’re not my friends.”
“I play with them sometimes, but I’m still not their friend — I’m their mother. I’m gonna tell them what I know to help them save their lives,” Williams said.
As a mother, she also spoke on the importance of raising youth to be productive, respectable members of society as a powerful means of gaining empowerment later in life.
“We don’t even teach our kids to say yes ma’am, no ma’am. So, how do expect them to go out into the community and do,” she said. “What’s wrong with saying please and thank you? It’s right for us to do it. We need to teach them to be productive.”
“We don’t need our young men or young women standing on the curb,” Williams explained.
She continued to express the positives of being respectful and productive before outlining her problems with disobedience during the Jan. 20 meeting.
“Whiskey, beer, wine. I tried it. Smoking. I tried it. That’s probably the reason I got my breathing problem now. It’s because of being disobedient. When I quit smoking it wasn’t because of my health, it was because of my spirituality. My husband was addicted, and I thought, that’s not acceptable. I got to quit that. He’s a deacon and he’s puffing on cigarettes. Eventually, it might have went further. I just thank God for saving my soul.”
Williams continues by outlining how she protects her body even today.
“I know y ou know where I park my car at church, but by the time I got into church I was giving out,” Williams joked. “I’m serious, I had put on so many jackets because I try to save my body because this flu. I thought, Lord, If I get the flu, I just might not make it. So, I’m paying more attention this Winter to my body, than I did before.
Arnold chose to spend her time at the podium with a poem.
“What can I say to empower women,” she said. “You would think I’m used to doing this because I speak at different engagements and things like that, but I get kinda scared sometimes and unsure. Just to piggyback off of what Dr. Poteete said a little bit, our health is important in life. She is right about what we put in our bodies and things like that, but what I wanna talk to you all about today is stepping into your greatness. I found a poem I found fitting for this occasion.”
(See her poem in the sidebar.}
Polk’s Outreach Ministry is sponsored in collaboration with Royal Neighbors of America Foundation. With help from locals and sponsors like Polk School District, Atlanta Food Bank, Rome’s Angel Express, and various churches, Outreach has been supplying aid to those in need since 2009. Toy drives, holiday meal giveaways, and clothing giveaways are a few of the organization’s efforts.
“Empowered to improve” is the message of the event hosted by Outreach Ministries, and Zion Hill First Baptist Church Inc. The speakers in attendance delivered messages of health and spirituality.
Tijuana Arnold delivers a poem at the event.