By Charisma Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Judges and lawyers are known for serving members of their communities outside of courtroom. The same holds true for other court personnel -- a court officer may serve as photographers for charity events in his free time, while a paralegal may coach the local children’s baseball team.
Kings County Supreme Court Officer Susie Williams spends much of her free time preparing teenagers for the world of adulthood. The founder of the organization Pathways for Young Leaders (PFYL), Williams has set out a mission to assist the youth of Brooklyn with the tools they need to improve their health, academic and economic status as women and men.
Every Sunday, the children of PFYL gather at the Brooklyn Sports Club on Van Siclen Avenue for workshops on etiquette and manners and seminars on health, education, and professionalism. “We hope to provide the tools for disadvantaged youth to improve their lives,” Williams told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We want to teach them to believe in themselves.”
The programs PFYL provides “enable our students to take a more proactive approach in becoming self-sufficient adults,” said Williams. To bolster their self-confidence and provide an opportunity to put their lessons learned to work, PFYL is hosting its first ever-cotillion ball for its students.
Historically, a cotillion is a formal party wherein young women (and men) are officially introduced into society for the purpose of finding a suitable suitor. In the present day, the cotillion is less about finding an appropriate mate and more preparing young people in social education.
“The cotillion will allow our students to practice all that they have learned throughout the year,” Williams commented. Social education is not the only things commemorated by PFYL’s cotillion ball. “We will be crowning a Royal King and Royal Queen,” noted Williams. “It is not just about dressing up in a white gown and knowing what where your salad fork is,” she said. “Your grade point average and character references are factored into nominations and the ultimate reward of King and Queen.”
Students are also required to maintain a level of attendance and participation in PFYL’s programs as well as participate in an essay contest.
“Our ultimate goal is to educate and empower every youth to become worldwide impactful leaders,” said Williams. “The cotillion is one step in that direction.”
Pathways for Young Leaders Royal Achievers Cotillion Ball will be held on March 14, 2013, at Grand Prospect Hall. Honorees include District Attorney Charles Hynes, Deputy Borough President Sandra Chapman, and Assistant Director of the Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Pageant Shekinah Monee.