VolunTEEN Nation Helps Youth Discover Service Opportunities and Funding

simone-bVolunteers make a difference in communities across the country and around the world. Studies have shown that giving back through service can positively impact mental and physical health. If that’s the case, then Simone Bernstein is the poster child of wellness. Simone, 24, is the co-founder of VolunTEEN Nation, a comprehensive national organization designed to help youth and families find volunteer opportunities. She’s been an active volunteer in and around her community for more than a decade.

We had a chance to connect with the George Washington University Medical School student last month after stumbling upon volunTEENnation.org.

1. When you were in middle/high school, what were some of your volunteer experiences? I first started volunteering at my local library when I was in middle school. I helped check-out and shelve books. Through word-of-mouth I learned of other opportunities for teens in my community. Since I was interested in a career in medicine, when I was 16, I volunteered at the local VA Hospital. Having a variety of volunteer experiences helped me network, develop skills and explore career options. I realized that all youth can benefit from volunteering, but there were limited ways for teens to find opportunities. So in 2009, I created a regional website for youth to find and easily connect with volunteer opportunities in the St. Louis region. The interest from the regional website encouraged my brother and I launch a national website to engage youth throughout the nation in service.

2. As a medical student and nonprofit founder, how do you balance academics and altruism? Med school is challenging, so we are truly fortunate to have a great team of high school and college students that volunteer their time to organize, plan and lead events for volunTEENnation.org.

3. What advice would you give to teens or young adults who want to make a difference but don’t know where to start? Call non-profit organizations in your area and ask how you can help either on site or off site. For example, a homeless shelter could benefit from a personal hygiene products drive or food banks welcome a healthy food drive. Students can also offer to oversee the social media tasks like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for an organization.

Mentor Empowers Teens to Live Above Bullying, Drama and Societal Pressure with New Book

efg-angled-book-imageFrom cyberbullying to societal pressure, 21st century girls face challenges that generations before them may have never imagined. But they also have unlimited resources and opportunities to live powerfully.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams, an award-winning mentor and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl, explores how girls and young women can use their personal power to make a difference in her new book, “Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama.”

Written for and inspired by girls, “Be EmPOWERed” is an interactive guidebook and journal packed with inspirational prose, thought-provoking questions and written activities.

Once teased and bullied by classmates for being weird and different, Rasheda found a way to embrace and ultimately celebrate her uniqueness.

The book reveals her journey from excluded to emPOWERed and how she got there with help from trusted adults, mentors, friends and ultimately herself.

“Life isn’t always easy or fair. But if you’re equipped with the right tools, it makes the process more meaningful,” Rasheda says.  “You can learn a lot – especially from yourself.”

“Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama” is now available on Amazon.com.

A book release and 6-year anniversary celebration is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Good Cakes and Bakes in Detroit. Admission is $15 and includes a copy of the book, sweet treats, a special gift and raffle ticket for prizes. Tickets are available here.

Born and raised in Detroit, Rasheda Kamaria Williams is a communications professional and award-winning mentor on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another. She is the founder and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl, a social enterprise that works with schools, communities and families seeking solutions to cyberbullying, drama, relational aggression and other social/communications challenges facing youth. A survivor of bullying, Rasheda was featured in Cosmopolitan magazine in the article “Being bullied changed my life.” 

October is Bullying Prevention Month: Join us at these POWERful events

October is Bullying Prevention Month and Empowered Flower Girl will be out an about in the community connecting with youth and youth advocates to encourage acts of kindness and support for and among young people.

Join us at the following events this month:

Oct. 15 (Detroit)  – Commemorating Global Day of the Girl

Oct. 17 (Novi, MI) – Defeat the Label Community Conversation on Bullying

Oct. 22 (Kalamazoo, MI) – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Literary Café

Oct. 25 (Detroit, MI) –  Giant Step Teen Conference

For additional news, events and inspiring content, be sure to connect with us via social media.

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