The “Great Girls” who mingled with the “Wonderful Women” of the Columbus community at Foundation For Youth each received a bracelet as an encouragement for the future.

Each bracelet had the words, “She believed she could, so she did.”

Believing in yourself was the overriding theme of Tuesday’s Great Girls, Wonderful Women celebration, where girls who participate in FFY programs are seated among female leaders in the Columbus community at a luncheon where they share hopes, dreams and future ambitions.

The event, co-sponsored by Faurecia, drew 220 guests whose participation helps provide funding to make sure any girl who wishes to participate in FFY programming, such as Smart Girls and Girls on the Run, can afford to do so despite their family’s circumstances.

For its third year, organizers were elated to have a Wonderful Woman participant from 2016, Maria Stack, volunteer as keynote speaker this year.

She was inspired by last year’s speaker, FFY board member Tracy Embree, and told Karina Willats, the organization’s resource development director, that although public speaking wasn’t her forte, she wanted to give it a try.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.