Girls on the Rise


First Lady Demetra Hillman of Bayview's Shekinah Christian Fellowship threw back to her middle school years, sharing her own insecurities as she navigated adolescence with its harsh judgments of appearance and personality.

First Lady Hillman confided, "I felt alone; I felt isolated; I felt ashamed." If not for her strong community and family, her practice of gratitude and thanksgiving, and seeing how precious she had been created, she would have lost hope.

"I want to talk to you about this generation. You, as young people, knowing how to deal with, live with, and overcome any sense of shame, isolation, loneliness or anxiety that you might have just being a young person."

A woman of stature and grace, Lady Hillman, unmasked the culture's power to define what it means to be popular or liked in today's social media ether, and helped ground both girls and boys in the truth and beauty that lie beneath the surface stuff of life.

"Value what is important, what is truly precious--your ideas, your talent, the people who truly love and care about you." Pointing around the room, Ms. Hillman ended, "This room is full of so many bright, shining stars. You are all hand-picked for a particular reason, and you are trailblazers, and you need to hold on to that identity--to help you challenge any obstacle in front of you."

We are grateful for role models like First Lady Hillman who grew up in this neighborhood and continue to seek the shalom peace here, for she is a healthy mirror for our own girls to see themselves--clearly, rightly, and on the rise.

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