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BLUSH reunion connects current and former members

Mauldin Middle School Counselor Renee Brown is building a network of students that support each other, even as she and other adults mentor them from middle school to high school and beyond. 

Brown, who was one of Upstate Parent’s 2020 Educators Who Make a Difference, started a mentoring program, BLUSH: Beautiful, Loveable, Unique Sisterhood, where girls learn etiquette, public speaking, makeup, financial literacy and more. 

“I started BLUSH in 2015, so last year was the first group to graduate high school,” she said. “I keep in contact with as many as I can.”

Just before the end of this most unusual school year, Brown held a reunion for those new graduates and other current and past participants. She has begun the tradition of gifting those high school graduates with a laundry basket loaded with supplies that will carry them to their next stop – either college or the workforce. Teachers, current BLUSH members and community members donated to support the effort. 

“I hope it will continue and grow,” Brown said of the mentoring group. “Sometimes the smallest thing excites them and lets them know, OK, I’ve got someone in my corner.”

Brown’s hope is that former members will return to be role models and mentors for her middle school students.

“I tell them to always reach back and help somebody,” she said.