Coaching with a Cause
In Kinston, North Carolina on a Monday afternoon at Holloway Recreation Center, you can find Sanderson Farms employee, Kentrille Lawson, coaching the Glamorous Girls, a high-intensity, competitive dance squad. For those who know Lawson best, they would say that he has always had a very apparent love for dance and a passion for giving back to the community.
When Lawson attended Kinston High School, he participated in cheerleading, the marching band and the flag team. He also enjoyed volunteering and giving back to the community at the Holloway Recreation Center, a community recreation center and park where it all started for Lawson. At the community center, Lawson was first given the opportunity to step up and shine by Melissa Morgan, Recreation Center Supervisor, by coaching cheerleading at the center.
In 2014, Lawson came up with the idea to let those two parts of his world collide, and the Glamorous Girls dance squad was born. “I started the squad to reach out to the low income areas here in Kinston, North Carolina,” said Lawson. “There was a lot of violence going on in the area, and I thought about what I could do to help improve the community.”
With a name like the Glamorous Girls, Lawson felt the need to teach the young girls more than just the art of dance. Through the dance squad, Lawson strives to instill in the girls life lessons such as proper etiquette, personal hygiene, discipline, dressing appropriately and success in school.
“They are required to bring in progress reports to even be able to dance, and I offer them tutoring if they are slacking on their grades,” said Lawson. “We also promote college attendance in the girls.”
Since the dance team was created, Lawson has seen the positive impact that the Glamorous Girls squad has had on its team members. “I’ve had girls with low self-esteem and behavioral problems that love this team so much they know what they have to do to continue to be a part of it,” said Lawson. “I have seen girls that have improved their grades as a result of the team and are now on the A Honor Roll.”
The competitiveness associated with being a part of a dance squad teaches the girls camaraderie, teamwork and leadership, which, in turn, helps them to learn to respect themselves and others around them. For many of the girls, the team has given them a whole new outlook on life and a reason to be proud of their own community.
At the Holloway Recreation Center, Lawson coaches a junior group of girls with ages ranging from six to 12 as well as a senior group of girls with ages ranging from seventh to 12th grade. One of his dancers, Jakaylon “Kayla” Brumfield, is the daughter of Kinston Processing Sanitation Supervisor, Shelton Brumfield. According to Brumfield, his daughter is always excited and enthusiastic about dancing and looks forward to her next practice or competition.
“Glamorous Girls has encouraged me to be a better person, a more responsible person and the team is a good example for other young women like me,” said 12-year-old Kayla Brumfield. “To be a glamorous girl, you need to be smart, responsible, a fast learner and, most importantly, be glamorous. Glamorous Girls are the best to me. I like being on the team because it gives me a better future, and now I have more goals than I had before this experience.”
Lawson began working at Sanderson Farms in July of 2014 in the Evisceration Department before transferring to the Sanitation Department, where he currently works. “Kentrille’s work ethic has developed tremendously,” said Brumfield, who is Lawson’s supervisor at Sanderson Farms. “He has a great attitude and is always willing to do his job properly. In my opinion, he is an asset to Sanderson Farms and the Kinston community.”
Working on the third shift at Kinston Processing allows Lawson a little time during the day to focus on the team. He is able to handle more business associated with the team such as calling to register the girls for their competitions and making sure everything is in order with their uniforms.
Lawson is excited for the future of the Glamorous Girls squad and is thankful to have a job at Sanderson Farms. Through his work with the dance squad, Lawson is truly living out the company’s vision by giving back to his community through investing in the future of our youth and, as a result, the future of the Kinston, North Carolina area.