Serena Williams joins Girls Inc. for Fuel Her Fire

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Serena Williams was in Huntsville last night! (Sarah Gronberg / Hville Blast)

Girls Inc. of Huntsville celebrated some big wins last night at the Fuel Her Fire Sneaker Gala event, featuring Serena Williams as the headline speaker.

They celebrated reaching their fundraising goal of half a million dollars, which will go toward empowering an additional 3,000 girls in our community through their program.

They celebrated the climax of what Mayor Tommy Battle proclaimed to be the “Year of the Girl.”

They celebrated 50 years of employering girls in our community and inspiring them to be “strong, smart and bold.”

Here’s what it was like.

Before the event

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The atmosphere was electric. (Sarah Gronberg / Hville Blast)

The Von Braun Center buzzed with activity. Tickets had sold out at the beginning of September, long before the event took place.

Needless to say, Huntsville was excited.

Crowds rushed in donned in sparkles, ruffles, suits and sneakers. Girls Inc. encouraged all the attendees to throw on their favorite sneakers with their formal attire, and the attendees happily complied.

Anthems like “Roar” and “Firework” played in the background as crowds gathered in the South Hall to take pictures and chat with friends.

The girls’ excitement

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This mother surprised her two daughers with the news that they were about to see Serena Williams. (Sarah Gronberg / Hville Blast)

The girls of Girls Inc. were all smiles and excitement in their dresses and sneakers. It was two girls’ first day with Girls Inc., and what a day to get started in the program! Their mother surprised them when they got there, and they jumped and smiled with excitement.

Nine-year-old Siraya, said she was happy and that the people there were nice. Her sister, 13-year-old Erin, said that she was baffled and was excited to come to more events.

Other girls described what Girls Inc. has meant to them over the years.

“Girls Inc. means different people from different backgrounds, but the same love.”

TaMea Edwards

When TaMea first heard that Serena Williams was coming to the Fuel Her Fire Sneaker Gala, she thought there was no way. She was nervous for the event but excited to have this opportunity.

If you spoke with the girls, you’d probably hear the phrase “strong, smart and bold” echoed. Girls Inc. has been inspiring these girls and many more to be those three things.

The program

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The bold red carpet set the tone for the evening. (Sarah Gronberg / Hville Blast)

After everyone walked the red carpet to their seats (in their sneakers, of course), the program commenced.

The night began with a welcome and invocation from Riyomari Fletcher from Buckhorn High School and Dawn C. Stanley, the 50th Anniversary Chair at Girls Inc. Then, they recognized their sponsors before dinner was served.

The hall once again buzzed with activity as tables ate and talked. Then, the moment we’d all been waiting for came.

Serena walks in

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Serena, the panelists, and moderator Nia Malone take the stage. (Sarah Gronberg / Hville Blast)

Serena Williams, the headline speaker for the Fuel Her Fire Sneaker Gala, took the stage.

The crowd went wild as the legendary tennis star took a seat. The panelists joined her and started the question-and-answer session with Serena.

Afterwards, Girls Inc. held a live auction and Stephanie Malone, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Huntsville, did the closing.

It was a night of fun and fancy outfits, excitement and celebration.

Congratulations, Girls Inc. of Huntsville.

Follow along with us to get all the details on events like these, and share your Huntsville event photos with us by tagging us @hvilleblast or by using our hashtag #hvilleblast.

Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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