Winston-Salem, NC (March 29, 2021) — LEAD Girls of North Carolina hosted their 5th Anniversary Soiree on Sunday, March 28 in a virtual celebration and awards ceremony honoring the hundreds of participants, supporters, and partners of LEAD Girls. Four LEAD girls were recognized for their accomplishments at 5:30 p.m. The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel lit up their building in LEAD’s signature teal and pink colors at 7:30 p.m. to further celebrate LEAD and their five-year anniversary.

LEAD Girls worked with 229 girls in 2020 from 27 schools. Four LEAD Girls were recognized for their accomplishments last year. Patience Marie Adams received the Literacy Growth of the Year Award. A sixth grader at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, Patience is helpful and engaged in school and in LEAD Academy sessions. Striving to be successful academically, she is respectful to her peers and to adults. “LEAD has taught me that when I grow up,” said Patience, “I can be anything I want to be.”

Ariana Rhymer, a 9th grader at West Forsyth High School received the LEAD Ambassador of the Year Award. Ariana has been a part of LEAD for three years and has excellent participation and a tremendous commitment to LEAD, which has helped her own personal growth and development. When she grows up, she wants to be an entrepreneur with a business focused on fashion and product development.

Lily Goldstein received the Community LEAD Girls of the Year Award for her exemplary participation, perfect attendance, and vibrant attitude. A seventh grader at Paisley IB Magnet Middle School, Lily is a tremendous asset, working to fully understand LEAD’s curriculum subjects and topics. This is her first year being a part of LEAD Girls and she has already improved her confidence and found her voice.

Zha’Nyia Bryant-Jones, a 12th grader at Glenn High School, received the Trailblazer of the Year Award. Zha’Nyia has been with LEAD Girls since its founding, 5 years ago. She has already been accepted into 10 colleges and plans to major in engineering. Eventually, she wants to own a business where she is an active participant in building and demolition. 

“These young women represent what LEAD Girls is all about,” said Joy Nelson Thomas, Founder and Executive Director. “We are so excited about all they will accomplish in the future and thrilled several will be able to help younger LEAD girls thrive.”

In conjunction with the soiree, LEAD Girls launched a new initiative called the LEADher Circle. This Circle - which is based on the belief that every girl deserves the chance to thrive - was created in partnership with three local leaders and friends of LEAD Girls: Natalie Broyhill, Mary Jamis, and Dr. Paula Wilkins. With a donation before April 1, supporters can join the inaugural LEADher Circle.

Through donations from LEADher Circle donors, soiree sponsors, and the silent auction, LEAD raised $43,054.12 to support their programs and help girls overcome barriers to success. While they didn’t meet their goal of $50,000 yet, a $1,000 challenge match has been issued with the hope of additional support offered from the community by April 1. The sponsors for the soiree were: The Chronicle, Truliant Federal Credit Union, M Creative, Maynard & Harris Attorneys at Law, PPL, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Denise D. Adams, Mayor Pro Tempore, Goodwill Industries, WSSU School of Health Sciences, Kilpatrick Townsend, and CC Baller Creations, LLC.  Donations and a link to the celebration video can be found

The funds raised will be used to sustain the organization’s programs such as Community LEAD, LEAD Academy, the Summer Fashion Entrepreneurship Camp, and three pilot programs that began this spring, all of which will continue the work that LEAD has done for the past five years to ensure that girls in our community have the tools and resources they need to succeed socially, academically, and financially.

“Our fifth anniversary was wonderful to celebrate! I am grateful for the outstanding support from our community,” said Thomas. “We have come a long way, and I am so proud of the girls and all they have accomplished.”

While this year’s soiree looked different from years past, the virtual celebration united supporters of the organization to celebrate the work that LEAD has done over the past five years as well as LEAD girls and their families to recognize their accomplishments and resilience over the past year.

About LEAD Girls of NC

Learning Everyday Accomplishing Dreams (LEAD) Girls of NC was established in 2015 to give young low-income and at-risk girls facing multiple challenges in their lives a space to feel supported and to learn how to make choices to improve their lives into adulthood. Our mission is to provide the tools and resources through innovative leadership and personal development programming that our girls need to become productive citizens and active leaders in our community. We work to achieve our mission through our LEAD Girls workshops offered bi-weekly in-school (currently at Winston-Salem Prep, Wiley, and Mineral Springs Middle Schools) and in the community, one-day and week-long leadership and summer programs, and community service projects completed by our girls. In the spring of 2021, we expanded our outreach into Cook Literacy Model School and Carver High School with two pilot programs. Please visit for additional information. For more information on the 5th Anniversary Soiree or to make a donation to join the LEADher Circle, please visit

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