Dr. Verna Cornelia Price knows the value of a good cup of tea.
The author, podcaster, consultant, and human potential expert, revs up in the morning and then comforts herself after a busy day by sipping a cup of one of her favorite tea blends. “Tea has healing properties. There’s a whole history of beautiful conversations between women over tea,” she said.
As founder of Girls Taking Action, a program for at-risk middle and high school-aged students, Dr. Price recently used her love of tea to teach. On a warm and fragrant spring night, she staged her annual Girls Taking Action end-of-the-school-year tea at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Event Center overlooking the waters of Bde Maka Ska.
“It was so special!” Dr. Price enthused. “We brought all the girls into this lovely space to treat them.”
The event was semi-formal, with 125 teens turned out in their best dresses and high heels. They were given flowers and gift bags and the opportunity to share tables with women leaders and volunteers. Together, they slowly sipped their tea while engaging in serious discussions about service learning and the impact of young people in the community.
Dr. Price sees her annual tea party as a sort of dress rehearsal for what she expects and intends for her youthful participants as they grow up and exit the program.
“I want them exposed to another level of life, where there is etiquette, a formal way of doing things with grace and elegance. I’m preparing them for business meetings they will go to in the future. I want them to know how to handle themselves, with proper manners,” Dr. Price explained.
The tea capped an active year for the after-school nonprofit that Dr. Price founded in 2005. This year, 672 students took part in Girls Taking Action and its newer counterpart program, Boys Taking Action. For the first time, the programs moved beyond the metro area, with students in the St. Cloud area joining chapters.
“At the tea, girls from the different schools see each other and see they are part of a community. They see a sisterhood,” Dr. Price said. “Coming out of the isolation of COVID-19, they are thirsty for this connection.”
After a short break, Girls Taking Action will move into its intensive summer program. Starting the week of July 10, participants will be playing golf, taking sailing lessons, dancing, and doing yoga, all activities “designed for a summer of fun,” according to Dr. Price.
It’s not too late for girls to enroll in the summer session. The program is also looking for adult volunteers, mentors, and sponsors.
For more info, visit the Girls Taking Action website at www.gtaction.org.