She’s EmPOWERed: Calgary student’s gesture to help friends grows into nonprofit providing essential support to the community

When times get hard, people often find themselves in need of help. Sometimes, that help comes from strangers but other times it comes from supportive friends.

Meet Deep Braich – a friend on a mission to help those in need.

Deep, a 20-year-old university student from Calgary, Alberta, is the founder of Youth Helping Youth YYC. She started the organization at the height of the pandemic to provide much needed hygiene supplies to young people in her community.

“When the Covid lockdown was first announced, my classmates and I were doing our best to stay in touch with one another through social media because we all felt the drastic toll it had on our relationships with one another,” she said. “We shared with one another the problems we were having with families losing jobs, having an increase in financial difficulty because the university was going to start in the fall, and my female friends being unable to access feminine hygiene products because of financial difficulty, the inability to leave the home, and many more concerns.”

After hearing about the issues her friends and other associates were facing, Deep wanted to do her best to help. She started looking for any extra hygiene products like shampoos, pads, and tampons that she had at home and started packaging them up into brown paper lunch bags to keep them discrete.

“I would leave the package outside my front door and my friends would come to pick it up to take home,” she added. “The number of friends I was helping started to increase when those I had helped started telling their friends that this was something I was doing. Slowly people from all over Calgary – teenage and adult women – reached out because they were in need.”

Deep was initially funding the project with her own savings and the money she earned from babysitting and a summer job. But she needed more resources to meet the need in her community.

After receiving some local and even international media coverage about the project and the selfless work she was doing, Deep started receiving messages from people asking how they could donate. “Suddenly the project I had started to create a difference amongst my friends became a project to create a difference amongst my city,” she said. “ When organizations like the Women’s Shelter began to reach out to access feminine hygiene kits, I became more aware of the structure of our society and the people at the bottom of the economic triangle who are in need of hygiene products year-round, even more now because of Covid.”

Youth Helping Youth YYC was founded as a result.

What started as a thoughtful gesture to help friends has become an official nonprofit operating under Youth Helping Youth Alberta, an umbrella organization for Youth Helping Youth YYC.

“We started local with the YYC title and we wanted to provide support to more youth communities, therefore we registered ourselves as Youth Helping Youth Alberta Foundation to provide opportunities to establish smaller umbrella organizations in other cities,” Deep said.

To date, the organization has provided over 2,075 feminine hygiene kits to women in Calgary and parts of Alberta. The organization works with local emergency shelters as well as housing and youth organizations. It also offers mental health, anti-bullying and anti-racism workshops.

Youth Helping Youth is youth-run in all facets – from projects, ideas and planning to communications, social media and networking.

“We work together to build solutions to youth social issues and advocate for our fellow youth,” Deep noted. “We find that youth issues are often put aside and we want to bring the spotlight back on this community for politicians to recognize the support and resources our youth need.”

Deep is a true advocate with big aspirations. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to go to law school and become a lawyer while also continuing her work in the community.

Connect with Youth Helping Youth YYC:

Instagram

Facebook

Email: calgaryyouthhelp@gmail.com

Funding for Your Impact Ideas and Initiatives in 2023

Do you have ideas or established initiatives with potential to make a powerful, positive impact? Could you use a little help to make it happen? There are resources to help individuals and organizations doing good in their communities and beyond.

In the spirit of the Be the Impact Summit, Empowered Flower Girl is continuing to share funding opportunities for young changemakers as well as community organizations.

Here are a couple funding opportunities worth exploring:

New York Life Foundation’s Aim High Grant for Middle School Programs 

http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/awards.cfm

New York Life Foundation will make 40 grants to out-of-school time programs serving youth, specifically middle schoolers, through its Aim High grant program. The program is part of the company’s ongoing investment in middle school OST programs to help eighth-graders reach ninth grade on track and on time. One- and two-year grants are available. Applications are due February 1, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET.

Pace e Bene Changemaker Youth Grants 

https://paceebene.org/changemaker-grants

Pace e Bene is thrilled to announce a second round of Changemaker Youth Grants! Youth ages 12-23 can receive up to $1,000 for projects that provide a creative solution that addresses violence in their community. These projects can be creative, artistic, out-of-the-box ideas. Ideally, they advance a nonviolent solution or alternative to the problem. 

“The Changemaker Youth Grants are about supporting the brilliant and wise ideas that young people have for addressing violence in our communities,” said Rivera Sun, Pace e Bene program coordinator. “With creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, these projects offer hope, inspiration, and tangible change. We were blown away by the 2022 recipients, and can’t wait to see what this year’s applicants dream up.” 

Applications are due on Feb 10, 2023. Awards will be announced by Feb 20. Projects will be completed by June 1, 2023. All recipients must be available to attend a virtual Final Showcase in June. 

She’s EmPOWERed: Maryland Teen Inspires Youth to Serve with Small Things Matter Organization

For as long as she can remember, Lana Anderson has been involved in her community. As a preschooler, she would make crafts for children as part of the National Institute of Health’s Thoughtful Treasures program. And as a middle school student, she was an active member of her school’s Difference Makers service club.

Those experiences fueled her passion for giving back. And now at 18, she continues to serve and encourage others through her nonprofit, Small Things Matter (STM).

“I started Small Things Matter as a way to empower younger children to serve and create lifelong habits of giving back,” said Lana, who is currently studying biology at the University of Maryland. “Our motto is kid-powered kindness for those in need.”

Small Things Make a Big Difference

Small Things Matter hosts several events and initiatives under three programs: a food distribution program, a literacy program and a crafting for charity program.

Through its food distribution program, STM provides nutritious grocery items to over 1,000 local families each month, totaling about 1 million pounds of food each year. “These fresh produce, dairy and nonperishable items allow families to feed their children healthy, delicious, high-quality meals,” Lana noted.

The Books for Bedtime literacy program provides new books to underserved children and their families in an effort to build a strong educational foundation.

Crafting for Charity gives children of all ages and abilities the opportunity to share their talents with those in need at children’s hospitals, shelters, etc.

Through these projects, STM hopes to nourish children’s bodies, minds and spirits and motivate youth of all ages to give back.

Lana’s work with Small Things Matter has been recognized by numerous government agencies as well as national organizations and businesses.

Thank you, Lana, for all you do to help improve the quality of life for others while being a positive role model for youth!

To learn more about Small Things Matter, visit www.smallthingsmatter.org.

Follow Small Things Matter on Facebook.

Youth Power Panel, Generational Givers highlight of 2022 Be the Impact Summit

Empowered Flower Girl’s 2022 Be the Impact Summit welcomed youth and adult participants from the US, Canada and the UK on Saturday, October 8. The virtual event showcased young changemakers and social entrepreneurs as well as provided resources for those aspiring to make a difference in their communities. 

The summit kicked off with a video presentation featuring the Generational Givers – youth enrolled in Take My Hand’s community outreach and volunteer program. 

Four young social entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders – from Washington and Texas to Georgia – shared their impact stories and offered tips to the audience on how to get started in service as well as how to find resources to support your endeavors. 

Rasheda Kamaria Williams, chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl, hosted the event and facilitated the “Passion. Purpose. Profession” workshop and discussion which offered tips for youth to be strategic about their community service. Tia Russell, founder of Detroit-based nonprofit Take My Hand, joined the conversation highlighting her organization’s Generational Givers program. 

Participants also learned about the numerous funding, fellowship and recognition opportunities available through Youth Service America. Nikki Liles, YSA director of partnerships, shared information about programs like the Hershey Heartwarming Young Heroes Grants and the Everyday Young Hero Awards. 

The event concluded with the Impact Ideas and She’s EmPOWERed alumni giveaways. Esha Aggarwal of Illinois and Cassidy Conley of Michigan were selected to each receive a $250 e-gift card. 

The 2022 Be the Impact Summit was sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. Empowered Flower Girl was one of three Detroit-area organizations/social enterprises to receive a Social Impact Grant from the Consulate in June. The event was produced by coordinating sponsor Foundation Management LLC

VIEW SUMMIT RECORDING:

https://youtu.be/rIL5FTzvLuM

She’s EmPOWERed: Detroit senior personifies excellence – from academics to athletics

From academics to athletics, Taylor Weston excels. She’s an honor and international baccalaureate student boasting a 4.0 g.p.a. and member of a history-making lacrosse team. 

And to top it all off, she’s actively involved in the community. 

Taylor, a senior at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Mich. (Rasheda Kamaria’s alma mater), has demonstrated herself to be a leader. A star lacrosse player and co-captain on one of the first girls lacrosse teams in Detroit, Taylor is making moves on and off the field. 

In addition to her academic and athletic endeavors, she is a member of the Co-Ette Club, an organization dedicated to promoting the values of sisterhood, volunteerism, leadership and philanthropy; a Congress of Future Medical Leaders scholar, and a third-year participant in the Doctors of Tomorrow program at the University of Michigan in preparation to pursue a healthcare career in college. 

“After undergrad, I will be going to med school to become a forensic pathologist,” Taylor said. “Outside of career and school, I want to continue to travel and visit the other countries on my bucket list.”

According to Taylor’s sister Janel Johnson, Taylor learned the importance of giving back to the community at an early age from family members. 

“Whether it is serving food at a homeless shelter or planting flowers at the local senior citizens home, Taylor’s mission is to be a global change maker,” Janel said. 

With Taylor’s dedication, discipline and desire to make a difference, we are certain she will go far. 

Starting Your Own Business: Becoming a Business Owner as a Teenager

By Joyce Wilson

Have you thought about starting your own business but are unsure if you can because you are a teenager? It’s possible to run a business of your own even if you’re not out of high school.

Working for yourself can come with many benefits, including learning how to manage money and teaching you about investing in your company, and it can give you an idea of what type of career you want to pursue in the future. 

The Benefits of Working for Yourself

Working for yourself can teach you many helpful habits when it comes to money management. You can learn about setting aside money to reinvest in your company and estimating how much you’ll need to get started. Building your own business is easier if you have low overhead, or don’t have to spend a lot of money to get set up and run your company. 

For individuals who are trying to build upon their commerce skills, this can be a useful way to solve problems (such as filling a need for your community), showcase your creativity (creating or designing something that people will buy).

Budgeting and Saving While Running a Business

After you have identified what type of business you want to create, set up a budget for your company, planning on how much you will spend. According to experts, this will help stay within spending limits and help you avoid spending too much money before your company has had a chance to take off.

Saving money is important because you’ll want to reinvest earnings into your company. You’ll want to identify what your profits and losses are, and use this information to tweak changes to your company so that you can ensure you are earning as much as possible. 

Potential Work in Animal Care

Are you wondering what type of business you could set up as a teenager? If you love animals, consider working with them and setting up a company that caters to their needs. You could become a dog walker or offer pet sitting services either in your home or the home of the pet’s owner. 

This business model wouldn’t cost much to get started since you’d only need to focus on marketing efforts, and you could take on as many clients as you felt comfortable managing. If you want to stand out from the competition while marketing, try using an online logo maker so you can make custom logos instantly and easily. Select a style and icon, choose the text you want, and you’ll be able to view different logos in a variety of colors and fonts. 

Working with Children

Babysitting can be fun for individuals who like to work with children. Much like pet sitting, you can set your own hours and work as much or little as you would like. You might take care of children for a few hours or a majority of the day. Your efforts will mostly rely on marketing and word of mouth to help you find customers, thereby keeping your costs low and making this a worthwhile venture. 

Even if you are still a teenager, there are plenty of ways to build a business of your own. This can teach you valuable skills that can help you in college and beyond, no matter what you choose to pursue later in life. 

Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher and enjoys sharing lesson plans, resources, and teaching tips on Teacher Spark. Her website is a compilation of practical resources that will inspire student engagement and instill a love for learning. By tapping into a student’s natural creativity and curiosity, Joyce believes that they can take their education to a new level.

Girlpreneur logo

The Girlpreneur Expo is Back!

Are you a girlpreneur or aspiring young entrepreneur in the Detroit area? If so, join us on Saturday, August 13 for the Girlpreneur Expo, hosted by the T-Rose Foundation. The event is free for attendees. Register via Eventbrite or visit www.t-rose.com/girlpreneur. Empowered Flower Girl will be there with information about our workshops and programs, including how you can get featured in our She’s EmPOWERed column and attend our Be the Impact Summit this fall.

Empowered Flower Girl one of three Detroit area organizations to win a $5,000 Social Impact Grant

The Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest announced winners of its Social Impact Grants during an awards ceremony on Friday, June 17, in Detroit.

Empowered Flower Girl was selected among three Michigan-based organizations to receive a grant.

Other organizations awarded include: Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and Quartz Water Source.

“Out of the numerous applications that we received, these three grassroots organizations reflect a value that is also quintessential to Israeli society: taking care of our own and each other” said Yinam Cohen, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.

Empowered Flower Girl will use the funds to host events this fall, including a Be the Impact Summit in honor of International Day of the Girl and service-learning showcase for youth.

“At Empowered Flower Girl, our tagline is be empowered, live powerfully and this wonderful Social Impact Grant from the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest will help us continue our work with young people who are being the change in their schools, communities and in the world,” said EFG Founder and Chief Empowering Officer Rasheda Williams.

In 2021, the Consulate provided its first Social Impact Grants in Minneapolis. The Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest is charged with connecting to the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

She’s EmPOWERed: Jet-setting teen encourages others to embrace their uniqueness with Wonderfully Weird campaign 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It’s a proverb that has been recited for centuries. But for many people, words do hurt. And for others, words are motivation.  

Meet Brooklyn D. – a talented, artistic and unique 14-year-old girl with a kind spirit.  

Last month, a few girls at her school attempted to break her spirit by teasing her, writing “Brooklyn is wird (weird)” on the bathroom wall. Brooklyn was understandably upset. 

But she wasn’t defeated. She didn’t let those words break her. Instead, she worked with her aunt to create the ultimate clap back.  

Brooklyn embraced the moniker and decided that she’s “Wonderfully Weird.” 

With her aunt’s help, she launched the campaign and designed a special t-shirt in support and celebration of anyone who’s been bullied for being uniquely themselves.  

“I created the shirts to let people know to be themselves and be comfortable in their own skin,” said Brooklyn, creator of the Jr. Jetsetter travel blog. “We want to encourage them to be themselves and to not care what anybody says about them.” 

The Wonderfully Weird t-shirts are $25.00 and come in a variety of sizes (S-XL).  

For more information about the shirts or to follow Brooklyn’s journey and her travels, be sure to connect via Instagram at @myjrjetsetter or at www.jrjetsetter.com

She’s EmPOWERed: Meet Kaci Houston – Model, Rapper, Influencer and Superstar in the Making

At 10 years old, Kaci Houston is a mini mogul. The multi-talented Detroit tween is not only a rapper, actress and social media influencer, she’s also a positive (role) model for youth and adults alike. 

As the co-founder of K.T.M. Entertainment, Kaci uses her talents to inspire kids to pursue their passions while addressing social issues that impact their lives. 

“I was motivated to start my business because I found that kids just don’t have a lot of places in the entertainment industry to be creative and work with their peers, so I created just that,” Kaci said. 

“We are helping uplift the youth in our community with the arts and bringing awareness to issues that affect them.”

Kaci has taken her empowering messages on the road, performing at various events across the country and working with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club. 

In addition to her work with K.T.M. Entertainment, she also is the CEO of Kolours By Kaci the Model.

The young fashionista has been sashaying runways since she could walk and striking poses since she was an infant. 

But with all of the fame – she has well over 110K followers on Instagram – Kaci remains grounded. She is an anti-bullying advocate and encourages youth to follow their dreams. Her advice: “Go for it. The sky is your limit. It’s a hard work, but never give up.”

You can follow Kaci on Instagram at @kacithemodel.

She’s EmPOWERed: Miss Indiana Hopeful Helping Girls Stand Up to Bullying

At first glance, you can sense that there’s something special about Elayna Hasty. She’s confident, beautiful and poised. But you’d never know that once upon a time, the Miss Indiana hopeful and aspiring Miss America was teased and excluded as a kid.

“I was the new girl in school,” recalls Elayna, who is now 20 years old. “As soon as I walked into my homeroom, I was laughed at and mocked for something so simple as forgetting my gym shoes on the first day. That was only the beginning and it only got worse for me, as well as for one of my childhood friends.”

Elayna, like many young people, was bullied. But through it all, she learned many important lessons. Those lessons inspired her to create G.A.B. Girls (Girls Against Bullying).

She started the program in 2009 when she was only 9 years old. A decade later, she continues to run G.A.B. Girls, which is a movement that teaches people of all ages the importance of being a leader by standing up to bullying.

“We are a community of support as we encourage co-action, healthy self-esteem, and promote anti-bullying as well as suicide prevention,” Elayna said. “My motivation for founding G.A.B. Girls was to help my friend who was going through bullying and to empower others to stand up – not just for themselves – but others as well.”

In addition to running G.A.B. Girls, Elayna is a college student and reigning Miss Duneland 2022. The Miss Duneland competition is an official preliminary to the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competitions.

Once she graduates with a bachelor’s degree, Elayna plans to attend law school. Her ultimate goal is to be a family attorney who works to help children who come from abusive households.

“I plan to continue G.A.B. Girls by furthering my reach nationally, as well as create more workshops tailored towards cyberbullying and suicide prevention,” she said.

Kudos to Elayna for using her platform to speak up and out against bullying. We wish her much success in her career and as she aims for the crowns!

Follow Elayna’s journey at:

Instagram: @g.a.b.girls
Facebook: G.A.B. Girls (Girls Against Bullying Girls)
Website: www.gabgirls.org