Program helps teens find passion and purpose in service

Growing up in the ‘80s, I often heard adults saying things like “children should be seen and not heard.” It was their way of maintaining peace and quiet. I was never a proponent of this proverb. In fact, I am a firm believer in the opposite – young people should be seen and heard. Their voices matter!

Everyone – regardless of age – has the power to change the world. All it takes is the courage to speak up and take action.

April is National Volunteer Month and we encourage tweens and teens (and adults) to turn their passions into purpose by volunteering with organizations that reflect the issues and activities they care about the most.

There are thousands of causes, charities and issues in which to get involved. Websites like Idealist.org and VolunTeenNation.org are great resources to help find opportunities that touch, move and inspire action as well as funding to make it all happen.

Looking for ideas to encourage volunteerism among youth?

Empowered Flower Girl’s got you covered with our School & Community Service Learning Guide, which explores ways for tweens and teens to make a difference in their communities based on their interests and passions.

The guide is available for schools and organizations that purchase at least 20 copies of “Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama.” Register by April 15 and receive special bonuses! Email info@rashedakamaria.com for details.

Be sure to join us at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 via Facebook for a special announcement about the service learning guide and how teens can secure funding for their do-good projects!!

About Global Youth Service Day (GYSD)

Hosted by Youth Service America, GYSD is the largest service event in the world and the only one that celebrates the contributions that children and youth make 365 days of the year. 

Empowered Flower Girl to facilitate Mentoring Girls & Inspiring Sisterhood workshop

Cat fights, drama, gossip. While some of us cringe at these behaviors, they’ve become normalized in popular media.

But how are reality TV and social media shaping girls’ relationship realities? Empowered Flower Girl will examine this and how educators and parents can help transform the way girls relate to one another.

As part of the 2017 MAMSE (Michigan Association of Middle School Educators) Conference, EFG will present Mentoring Girls & Inspiring Sisterhood: In the Age of Bad Girls, Housewives and Frenemies.

This year’s conference is scheduled Friday, March 10 at Swartz Creek Performing Arts Center, 8427 Miller Rd, Swartz Creek, Michigan.
Learn more about the conference and register here.

In addition to engaging more online, girls are twice as likely as boys to be victims of cyberbullying. Mentor Girls & Inspiring Sisterhood examines how role modeling and mentoring can combat relational aggression and encourage positive relationships in and out of the classroom.

Kindness is Key

For many of us, November has been exhausting. The contentiousness of the U.S. presidential election has kept many who work with children and youth on edge. Our children are like sponges and soak up the good and the bad of our collective behavior. Unfortunately, many have picked up on the not-so good.

But all hope is not lost.

We have opportunities to transform how people relate to one another in our communities and classrooms. I recently attended the International Bullying Prevention Association Conference in New Orleans. The theme was “Getting to the Bottom of It: Bullying Prevention through Empathy and Kindness.”

Kindness is powerful. Author and education expert Dr. Michelle Borba noted in her opening keynote that empathy is “we” not “me.” Instilling a we attitude in our children is vital. This can be done in and out of school through experiential activities.

Sunday, Nov. 13, gave us all an opportunity to turn me into we as the nation observed World Kindness Day, a 24-hour global campaign dedicated to paying it forward and focusing on the good. Empowered Flower Girl encourages you to engage – and engage youth – in activities that make a difference year round!

Make kindness go viral.

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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Events at Beaumont Hospital to Kick Off Bullying Prevention Month in Michigan

Bullying often goes unreported by students in many schools across the country. Despite research findings that show bullying has significant long-term impacts on both victims and perpetrators, many young people are reluctant to speak up.

It is up to parents, teachers, counselors and youth advocates to learn the signs of bullying and know how to effectively respond to children and youth.

That’s why the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA), in partnership with Beaumont Children’s, is hosting the Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference on October 1, 2016. The event, scheduled at Beaumont Hospital’s campus in Royal Oak, will unite diverse groups of youth advocates to discuss bullying and peer aggression. They will also develop strategies and solutions to take back to their schools and communities.

Patti Agatston, Ph.D., a national cyberbullying expert and IBPA president, and Anne Collier, founder of the iCanHelpLine, will open up the conference with a keynote and discussion on “Cyberbullying and Digital Citizenship Strategies.”

Workshop topics include restorative practices, school climate, bullying and suicide, effective communication strategies, cyberbullying and legal aspects of bullying and many more.

Registration is $25 per person and includes breakfast and lunch. Professional development credits are available. Principals, teachers, counselors, liaison officers, social workers, school board members and those working in community agencies are encouraged to attend.

The conference will be preceded by a free event for parents and adult family members covering information and strategies specific to online safety. Karuna Nain, Facebook global safety manager, will present “Navigating the Social World with Your Teens — Insights from Facebook,” on Thursday, September 29. Registration is required for this event.

The Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference is sponsored by Beaumont Children’s, NoBLE (No Bullying Live Empowered) and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Additional support comes from the Michigan Elementary and Secondary Principals Association (MEMSPA).

For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.ibpaworld.org/mi.

How to Support Youth in Crisis

A new school year has begun. The excitement of new teachers, new classmates and new experiences is present for many young people. But for some children and teens – especially those experiencing mental health challenges – the new school year can be daunting,.

As mentors, educators, parents and youth advocates, we have a responsibility to make sure young people have the resources and support they need to be successful in school and in life.

If you encounter a young person in crisis, do you know the steps to take to ensure his or her safety or wellbeing?

Earlier this summer, I became certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. And the training didn’t cost a dime.

What is Youth Mental Health First Aid?

It’s a course designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

Many organizations/institutions across the nation are offering the eight-hour course FREE of charge. Find a course in your community today.

September is Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month. If you know someone at risk, don’t be afraid to intervene. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 if you or someone you know needs help.

Empowered Flower Girl’s CEO among finalists in national MentoringCruise contest

We are excited to share that Rasheda Kamaria Williams, founder and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl has been selected as a finalist in MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and Cabot Creamery Cooperative’s #MentoringCruise contest!

She’s the only person from Michigan selected.

We’re asking for your support. The mentor with the most votes by August 30 will win a once in a lifetime experience of an all-expense paid Alaskan cruise for two. The cruise will feature workshops and seminars for the more than 50 volunteer honorees.

Thanks in advance!

VOTE HERE:

http://bit.ly/2aVLCIA

By the way, sharing is caring. Share the link and invite your friends and colleagues to vote!

Business is Delightful for Detroit-area Tweenpreneur

Asia 2
Asia Washington is a serial entrepreneur. From creating whimsical necklaces and soy wax melts to launching a line of doll accessories, Asia is diversifying her business and brand portfolio. 

You’d expect this sort of entrepreneurial prowess from someone in their 30s. But Asia, 11, is a girl empowered and ready for world domination! 

I caught up with her after meeting this summer at a church carnival/picnic where she and her mom were selling their “delightful” goods.

What businesses do you own? I own Delightful Ribbons, a hair bow and doll accessories business. I make and sell hair bows and headbands for girls and 18- inch dolls. I recently started hand painting designs on t-shirts for the 18 inch dolls to match my hair accessories. When I’m not making doll accessories, I make soy wax melts with my mother. She allows me to make my own scent creations and sell them to her fans on Facebook.

How old were you when you started your businesses?  I started at the tender age of eight. When I started out, I made chunky beaded necklaces and soy wax melts.

What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?  You get to choose something you really like or love doing and start selling it for money. Plus, you get to be your own boss.

What are your hopes for your future?  My hope for the future is to one day sell enough crafts so that when I’m ready for college I can afford it. I plan on attending school to become an architect /illustrator.

What advice would you give to kids who want to start a business?  You might want to start with something simple or your hobbies first and soon as you get really good at it, you can start selling it. The better you get with your skill the more money you can sell it for. You never know unless you try. Don’t be afraid of rejection because it just makes you stronger.

You can find Asia’s awesome products at delightfulribbons.com.