Tellefson returns for I Am More Girls Gathering

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Cathy Marshall Tellefson of Watershed Ministries will be offering her yearly I Am More Girls Gathering event on Sunday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at The Surge.

The event, for girls 11-18, is largely about making good decisions and offering girls a faith-based guide for their lives.

Talks started soon after Hunter Peebles opened her dance studio here 30 years ago. As the weeks ticked down to the annual spring break, Peebles would overhear her students talking about the beach and the partying that would go on during the week they were out of school. And it worried her, she said in a previous Wilson Times story. So she reserved class time to talk to the older girls and encourage them not to drink, smoke and do inappropriate things. They called it “the talk.”

Peebles continues to see girls struggling.

“Every single week, I see girls going through tough times,” she said. “It is hard to be a middle and high school girls these days. Girls walk through our doors in all kinds of moods, and sometimes they look like they have had a tough day or have been crying,” she continued.

“There are a lot of girls who say they are ugly or fat and they wish they looked like someone else who is prettier. Some are struggling in their relationships with their parents or are distraught over dysfunctional family situations,” Peebles said. “A lot of girls struggle with low self-esteem and don’t think they are worthy of love or attention. Most girls are too scared or embarrassed to be themselves and they try to become what others think they should be instead.”

“The talk” at Hunter’s Dance evolved over the years, and now Tellefson, a former Wilsonian, does a community event each year for area girls.

Tellefson, who has degrees in Christian counseling and psychology, encourages parents to send their daughters to the talk, especially if they are dealing with anxiety and stress, or looking for love, acceptance, security and happiness in boys, popularity or possessions.

“Our prayer is that every girl who comes, whether she has been straying from or striving for the father’s love, will leave knowing how deeply loved she is by him ... always,” Tellefson said.

From the Wilson event, Tellefson plans to launch a weekly interactive walk through the Bible on the I Am More in Him Instagram account called “This is JesUs.”

“We are very excited about continuing to gather as a community of girls who want to connect their story to God’s story and to each other’s stories,” she said.

Generation Youth band will perform Sunday, and two young women will their testimony.

Go to www.watershedministries.org/events to register.