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Dragonflies are Working their Magic

By Mark Young, SouthFloridaReporter.com Managing Editor, Sept. 23, 2015 – Davie, Fla. – The Dragonfly Darlings, a women’s auxiliary group of the Russell Education Foundation,(REF)  is hosting their fifth Annual Dragonfly Darlings Women’s Conference on Saturday, September 26 at the Signature Grand, 6900 State Road 84 in Davie. The event time is 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Registration starts promptly at 8:00 am.

This year’s conference theme is “Financial Wellness.” The keynote speaker is Marcia Barry-Smith, University of Phoenix’s 2015 Commencement Speaker. Ms. Barry-Smith is a recognized and influential power broker in South Florida with an illustrious career of accomplishments that few communities have witnessed.

5TH Annual Dragonfly Darlings Women’s Conference

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Signature Grand, Davie, Florida

Hundreds of attendees will enjoy an enriching and empowering day filled with informative workshops, a shopping bazaar from local vendors, free child care and a free Miami Dolphins Academy Youth Camp.

Kelly Arias, The Arias Law Group and FreshMix Beverages, Title Sponsor
Kelly Arias, The Arias Law Group and FreshMix Beverages, Title Sponsor

Kelly Arias, managing partner from The Arias Law Group, PA, is the title sponsor and will host a workshop on how to “renew your mind” and focus on quality of life, rather than quantity of life. Arias brings years of wisdom and experience and her personal story demonstrates how women can overcome obstacles to be successful.

Teens will enjoy The Teen Conference, designed just for them with workshop, teen panel and fun prizes led by Palesa Dawanyi, a duel enrolled senior at Coral Glades High School and Broward College.

This year the Dragonfly Darlings Women’s Conference has added the “DD Consignment Boutique”, offering stylish, gently use, business attire for women and children.

DeAnna McCutcheon, Executive Assistant and Corporate Vendor Administrator, Signature Grand, Presenting Sponsor Lysandra Russell, Founder, Dragonfly Darlings
(L. to R.) DeAnna McCutcheon, Signature Grand, Presenting Sponsor, Lysandra Russell, Founder, Dragonfly Darlings, Kelly Arias, The Arias Law Group and FreshMix Beverages, Title Sponsor

Russell Education Foundation was founded in 1998 by former Miami Dolphins linebacker Twan Russell. Twan observed the high illiteracy rate of inner-city youth in his local community, personally experienced the challenges illiteracy causes and witnessed the lack of educational reinforcement resources available to minority youth. Together, with his late mother, Corliss Ann Russell, they went on the offensive against illiteracy. Today, the Foundation currently serves more than 1,000 children in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, primarily through free after-school reading and homework help programs.

Tickets for the Dragonfly Darlings Women’s Conference are $75.00 per adult and $25 per teen. For each ticket purchased, it includes an automatic sponsorship for a mother to attend.  Call Paulette Dawanyi at 305-704-8343 or e-mail DragonFlyDarlingsEvents@gmail.com for more information.

20150922_193632The Dragonfly Darlings Women’s Conference is offering free admission and scholarships to women whose children attend a reading room facilitated by REF or women who utilize government assistance or other participating non-profit organizations. “We do not want finances to hinder a woman from experiencing all that this dynamic conference has to offer,” said Lysandra Russell, Twan’s wife, who officially formed the Dragonfly Darlings as a women’s auxiliary group to the REF in 2010.

“There will be lots of goodies at the luxurious Signature Grand, with their white glove service that includes a buffet style breakfast, a buffet style lunch, snacks, special prizes and raffles. We even have an Empowerment Room where women can be pampered and more,” she said.

“We want to provide a well of refreshment and encouragement to these ladies who are thirsty and weary. Our goal is to rekindle a grassroots, village mentality, whereby women can walk alongside one another and provide love, support, and encouragement to each other.”

Lysandra and the entire organization acknowledge that to create an event of this magnitude requires the support of businesses and community leaders.

“We are so grateful to our presenting sponsors Kelly Arias from The Arias Law Group and FreshMix Beverage, The Signature Grand,  as well as Walmart, Sunshine Health, MBS Consulting, FPL and TJ Max for all of their generosity.”

About the Russell Education Foundation

The Russell Education Foundation (REF) is a non-profit organization committed to fighting illiteracy among high-risk youth through a mission of “Opening Books to Open Doors.” The REF provides certified teachers to assess and to instruct, using proven methods such as phonics, word recognition, comprehension, and other interactive reading material.  Their hope is to break the cycle of multi-generational illiteracy, and to cultivate a love for reading and a passion for learning. REF community outreach initiatives include programs designed to instill a deep love of reading and respect for the life-changing possibilities offered through literacy, as well as to enable the Foundation to achieve its vision of “opening young minds to the boundless opportunities available to the educated.” REF centers are established in twelve locations across Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, and primarily serve minority, economically disadvantaged children.

“Literacy is the cornerstone to life. Every day we read the paper over breakfast, reports at work, books in school, magazines on the train, and stories before bedtime,” says Russell. “However, 21 million Americans cannot read at all, and 40 million adults in this country are ‘functionally illiterate,’ reading at or below a fifth grade level. This means people we see every day on the street, in the mall, or at work cannot read things we take for granted.”