Posted Online: Feb. 01, 2013, 9:28 am

Mom helps girls navigate teenage years

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Photo: McClatchy Newspapers
Bluffton author Rhonda Mincey at her home in Barnyard Park in Bluffton, South Carolina. Mincey's book, 'A Girl's Guide to Becoming Great,' works to improve the lives of young women by encouraging a positive mindset, among other strategies.
HILTON HEAD, S.C. — When Rhonda Mincey's daughter was 13 years old, she started getting into trouble. She was skipping school and hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Mincey said she remembers the day she looked at her daughter, Kristian, and saw the confusion in her eyes.
"As a mother, it broke my heart," the Bluffton, S.C., woman said. "How am I going to help her navigate these teenage years? And I didn't know all the answers, obviously. There wasn't a book written. I did the best I could for her by being there for her, speaking to her and listening to her. However, peer pressure is a force to be reckoned with, to put it mildly."
Rhonda said her daughter made poor decisions because she wanted to fit in. She wanted to feel pretty.
Rhonda knew she had to do something — not only for Kristian, but for other young girls out there.
"The passion was so strong it was like a burden for me, just a strong mandate to talk to them," Rhonda said. "I've always been a person of compassion for other people, therefore I knew I could make a difference in the life of a girl — by spending time with her, by listening to her, by letting her know her worth."
So about eight years ago she started a nonprofit organization called Made 2 B More, which gave her the opportunity to speak to girls about self-esteem, decision-making and reaching their potentials. She spoke at community centers and in schools, and said it was a joy to see the girls blossom.
Although the organization has since dissolved, Rhonda still speaks to middle school and high school students, and sometimes even grown women. She has partnered with the Department of Social Services in Beaufort and speaks to one of their groups every other month.
She also has released a book, "A Girl's Guide to Becoming Great," geared toward girls age 11 to 19 and includes quotes, poems and stories about real girls struggling with self-esteem and peer pressure.
"I've found that if young girls think differently, first of all about themselves and secondly about the issues around them, then they would do things differently," she said. "That's the foundation of everything else — how they think about themselves — because if they think positively about themselves, they will make certain good decisions about other aspects in their life."
In 2006, Rhonda received Turner Broadcasting System's Pathfinder Award, which is given to people who have impacted the community.
Now 21 and a mother herself, Kristian has a new mindset, according to her mother. Rhonda said Kristian is determined to be a success. She currently is in school full time to be a nurse.
"She understands who she is now as a young woman and what she should not accept in her life — whether it's negativity ... (or) the wrong companionship," Rhonda said.