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Atlanta program empowers young girls to be confident

Zoe's Zone offers activities and a space for young girls to boost their self-esteem.

ATLANTA — A local program hosts workshops and events with one goal: to empower young girls.

From basketball to public speaking, Zoe's Zone offers activities and a space for girls to come together and work on skills to boost self-esteem. Founder, Emerald Best, said starting girls young helps them build their voice.

"Our mission is teaching girls to project self-esteem and confidence throughout their life," Best said. "The idea is to get them in a relaxed environment that is interactive and fun."

Best started the group in Virginia and brought it to Atlanta eight years ago. She said Zoe's Zone caters to any girl with any background and race.

"Our girls range from different ethnicities and backgrounds," she said. "We do also help at-risk children and children in communities with lower incomes. So we want them to have the same experiences as other kids in the area."

The workshops are open to girls ages 5 to 15. Some of the workshops include working on fitness, financial literacy, building healthy relationships, and developing social grace. 

Best said the younger the girls learn to build their voice and feel confident, the better.

"As soon as they're able to start speaking, you always want to represent who you are as a person," she said. 

Girls 16 and older can still be engaged with the program. Best said Zoe's Zone offers a volunteer and mentor program for older girls. She said they can come in and learn work-ready skills.

While the program is still growing in Atlanta, Best said she hopes to be able to expand it even further.

"We want this to be a worldwide program," she said. "All girls need help all around the world."

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