Students participate in cotillion as reward for Columbia Urban League’s Project Ready

ccope@thestate.comDecember 20, 2013 

About 60 middle and high school students will be rewarded with a cotillion Saturday- complete with formal dresses, tuxedos, a nice meal and a fancy dance.

The Columbia Urban League will host its second Project Ready Cotillion at 6 p.m. at the Brookland Baptist Conference Center to honor 59 students who completed a program that requires 189 contact hours.

The students earn those hours by completing community service projects like a community garden they built from the ground up as a part of Project Ready, said Shay Waajid, program assistant for the organization.

The garden helped bridge the gap between the students and the older generation, because the students gave the produce they grew to seniors, she said.

Other programs include talks about sexual education, peer pressure, and real-life situations the students may encounter, she said. They also attended cultural events like a jazz festival.

The cotillion recognizes the students for their success.

The opportunities the Columbia Urban League provides give students an “outlet to meet other people in the same situation as them,” Waajid said.

She said the program is intended to meet the needs of the students, but they often find the students encouraging each other.

She said some students want to go to college after graduation, others want to go into the work force and some plan to join the military. The organization helps them get there, for example, by helping them take a college tour.

“Whatever their goal may be, our goal is to get them there,” Waajid said.

Reach Cope at 803-771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope.

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