JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Police Athletic League of Jacksonville opened its doors Friday night for the third annual DNA Unique All-Girls Slumber Party.
The event brought together female law enforcement officers with young girls for a night of empowerment -- all about dreaming big and having a great time.
On a Friday night, moms and dads may want the sound turned down by the rambunctious kids. But not at the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville's Northside Center.
The sleepover was all about fun, and the camaraderie develops traits that can power the girls into womanhood -- confidence, inspiration and uniqueness.
"We just think this is what it takes. We have to be the change that we want to see in the world and that's what we're doing," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Lakesha Burton, executive director of JaxPAL.
It was also a night of learning. The theme was Girls Around the World, and the event included booths representing different countries, set for the girls to explore.
"I learned about India, that when it's flooded in India, people come and help," one girl said.
The DNA Unique event brought girls between the ages of 10 and 16 together with female law enforcement officers. The event also included a circuit judge, a state representative and a motivational speaker.
Even teenage volunteers were inspired.
"In everyday life, they have grown with confidence," said Asia Duncan, a 17-year-old volunteer. "They speak to each other. They grow friendships. This is something that they take back to their schools and with their families and their own homes."
DNA stands for Dream big, Navigate through life's challenges and Achieve ambitions. At the end of the overnighter, that's the hope for each of the girls.
Organizers believe when girls feel confident about their worth, they're able to love who they are, embrace their uniqueness and fulfill their life's big dreams.