News & Events

“A Beautiful Me” of Macomb County named latest recipient of centennial philanthropy

First State Bank donates $5,000 to give girls a boost

Sep 13, 2017

St. Clair Shores, MI (September 5, 2017) – Real beauty doesn’t come from the latest fashions or a supposedly ideal body weight. Real beauty comes from within. Sharing that message is the mission of A Beautiful Me, a Macomb County nonprofit that conducts self-worth workshops for girls from 3rd through 12th grade.

As part of its centennial celebration, First State Bank is honored to award a $5,000 donation to A Beautiful Me, supporting an organization that does so much to inspire so many. Upwards of 7,000 young women have participated in A Beautiful Me’s interactive workshops since the first was held in 2009.

“A Beautiful Me is one-of-a-kind,” says Gene Lovell, president and CEO of First State Bank. “It does a remarkable job instilling confidence in young women and empowering them to make a positive impact on their community.”

Founder Karen Palka of Washington Township admits she didn’t feel comfortable with her own self-worth until she was in her 40s. Determined that her own two daughters wouldn’t have to wait so long, she felt moved to create a program aimed at building self-esteem.

Palka began by conducting extensive research, seeking input from female friends and entrepreneurs. The concept for A Beautiful Me gradually gelled around a workshop series based on a proprietary confidence-building curriculum.

“The root of many problems facing girls today is low self-esteem,” Palka says. “A girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9 and often goes down from there. Our workshops encourage girls to recognize their intrinsic value so they don’t try to find self-worth from external sources.”

Though A Beautiful Me now conducts various presentations, retreats and assemblies, the core offering remains the four-part workshop series. Each two-hour session focuses on a different empowering topic. Girls express themselves through presentations, group interaction, crafts and journaling.

Workshops are popular among schools, Girl Scout troops and youth groups. Facilitators from A Beautiful Me always travel to client sites. Plans are also underway to open an upscale thrift shop that will teach girls business skills in a philanthropic environment.

Founded in 1917, First State Bank will observe its 100th anniversary in October. Throughout the year, it has been donating $5,000 to local nonprofits to celebrate its centennial. Honorees are nominated by bank employees and evaluated according to community impact.

A Beautiful Me is First State Bank’s fifth $5,000 recipient, joining the Macomb Charitable Foundation, Friends of Foster Kids, KnowResolve and Care House of Macomb County.

“We’re Macomb County’s hometown bank—and have been for a century,” Lovell says. “That longevity comes with a responsibility to support organizations that share our desire to invest in the well-being of our community.”

To learn more about A Beautiful Me or to donate to the organization, please visit


First State Bank is headquartered in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. With 100 years of service and $670 million in assets, First State Bank serves Macomb County with 11 branch offices located in Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Eastpointe, Macomb Township, Richmond, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Washington Township, and a Loan Center in Clinton Township. For more information, please visit or call 866-372-1275.