Join the Conversation: Let’s talk about bullying

Transformation often starts with a conversation. When individuals unite to create dialogue, they set the tone for positive change.

That is the premise of Defeat the Label’s (DTL) Community Conversation on Bullying. Over the past four years, DTL has hosted the event during National Bullying Prevention Month- a time when organizations, youth and youth advocates create heightened awareness of the issue and work toward interventions and solutions.

“Since we hosted the first Community Conversation, one thing that has shifted is that bullying continues to be taken more seriously by schools, parents and the community,” said DTL Executive Director Jamie Greene. “When we started this, even though it was in the not so recent past, there was still a feeling of ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ from many adults. Now, we are realizing the drastic and sometimes even deadly impact, that bullying can result in.”

Cyberbullying is a major concern

A 2018 Pew Research Survey found majority of teens have experienced some form of cyberbullying. Nearly 60% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online, and many say it’s a major problem for people their age.

A vast majority of teens (90%) believe online harassment is a problem that affects people their age. Unfortunately, many of the young people surveyed think key groups, such as teachers, social media companies and politicians are failing at tackling the issue.

But the good news is that teens think parents are doing a better job in addressing cyberbullying.

Greene recommends that parents continue to have open conversations with their children about bullying.

“Make sure that we are all speaking the same language about what is bullying and what isn’t bullying and how (young people) can recognize bullying behavior, not only directed to themselves, but also towards their peers.”

Join the conversation
WHEN:
October 24, 2019; 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
WHERE: Oakland Schools Conference Center, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township, MI
REGISTRATION: $25; RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-conversation-on-bullying-tickets-49907633074

Event to honor International Day of the Girl, highlight advancements in girls’ human rights

Bell Global Justice Institute and Wayne County Community College District’s Diversity and Inclusion Program are partnering to celebrate International Day of the Girl and provide resources for individuals and organizations to uplift and support girls locally and globally. The event will be held on Saturday, October 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at WCCCD’s Downtown Campus at 1001 West Fort Street, Detroit, MI.

International Day of the Girl (official observance Oct. 11) is commemorated around the world by UN Member States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and citizens to raise awareness and inspire action around the unique barriers and challenges girls face. This is also a time set aside by the United Nations to recognize and honor the achievements of girls worldwide.

“This year we will be discussing the advancements made in girls’ human rights since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995,” said London Bell, president and CEO of Bell Global Justice. “Join us to learn more about this significant international policy and how you can be involved.”

About Bell Global Justice

The mission of Bell Global Justice Institute is to inspire, empower, build, and mobilize strong voices and impactful actions to advance and preserve the human rights and human dignity of women and girls globally. The organization is named in honor of SSGT. Vincent J. Bell, U.S. Marine Corps. (1983-2011, Afghanistan), and its work is guided an informed by a commitment to and respect for human rights, human dignity, inclusiveness, equality, and social justice.
The event, which is free and open to the public, features empowering speakers, global music and light refreshments. Free parking is available. For more information or to register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/united-nations-international-day-of-the-girl-in-detroit-tickets-71210810451.
Empowered Flower Girl is proud to participate for the second consecutive year. Chief Empowering Officer Rasheda Kamaria Williams will be among the speakers during the event.

Detroit area teens, women tell their “Girl Story”

Girls are powerful and have the potential to change the world. But sometimes they face challenges along their journey.

On Saturday, Oct. 12 – just a day after the observance of International Day of the Girl – Cinema Detroit (located at 4126 Third Street in Detroit) will host a screening of the “My Girl Story” documentary followed by a community forum. The documentary chronicles the lives of two African-American girls in Detroit who give a glimpse into what life is like for 21st century teens in the city.

The “My Girl Story” community forum will focus on empowering and increasing opportunities for girls of color and their peers who are coping with disabilities, depression, peer pressure and other social challenges. The forum will bring together a range of stakeholders from the academic, private, government and philanthropic sectors to discuss ways that we can break down barriers to success and create more ladders of understanding and opportunity for all girls.

“We need to listen to our young women when they talk, especially if something is bothering them,” said Tameka Citchen-Spruce, “My Girl Story” producer and disability justice advocate. “While they’re going through ups and downs in life, being there emotionally and showing you care can help them through the teenage years.”

Tickets to the event are FREE but registration is required via Eventbrite.

Empowered Flower Girl is proud to have facilitated the Chica Chat workshop featured in the documentary. Chief Empowering Officer Rasheda Kamaria Williams will be among the panelists during the community forum.

 

 

Excluded to emPOWERed: How to help young people who’ve experienced bullying

Do you know a young person who has been a victim of bullying? Chances are you do, even if they’ve never reported it.  In the United States, 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 has been bullied during the school year according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center,  the observance/campaign aims to unite communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.

Often young people don’t report bullying for fear of retaliation or more aggressive harassment.

In seventh grade, I was harassed and teased daily.  The constant bullying was almost unbearable. I was alienated and excluded. Like many tweens and teens, it took months for me to build the courage to speak up for myself and report the taunting.

I confided in a trusted adult – my English teacher – and that changed my life.

You can be the change for young people.

Bullies and their victims have something in common – they both are dealing with some sort of pain. They both need someone to listen to their challenges, struggles, aspirations and hopes. Listening can empower victims and transform perpetrators.

It is up to us – the village – to empower young people to speak up. We must listen without judgment, avoid victim blame and shame and be willing to advocate for them.

Knowledge is power and the more you know about bullying prevention, the more equipped you’ll be to support and empower the young people in your life.

Signs a child is being bullied from Stopbullying.gov (partial list):

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school

For the full list of warning signs, visit https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams is an award-winning mentor, motivational speaker, author and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl. Check out a clip from her Bullying Prevention Month talk entitled “Excluded to EmPOWERed.”

Back to School Series: How to inspire an emPOWERed school year

Educators and parents, mentors and coaches all care about the wellbeing and livelihood of young people in our communities.  We are well aware that twenty-first century tweens and teens face unprecedented challenges that many of us may have never imagined, from cyberbullying, drama, trauma and immense societal pressure. 

 But to combat these challenges, I was inspired to do something.

Nearly 15 years ago, I was a mentor and youth advocate who wanted to do something to make a difference for middle and high school students – who like me – were teased, bullied and ostracized by classmates and even relatives.

In 2010, I launched Empowered Flower Girl. Since we started, we’ve been on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another. Through workshops and programs that address and combat cyberbullying, relational aggression and other social/communications challenges facing youth, we work to empower the next generation of leaders.

So as students prepare for a new school year, we want to remind the adults in their lives of the importance of collaboration aka the Village approach.

It takes parents, educators, community members and youth themselves to truly make a difference.

Let’s work together to ensure that every young person has a successful and safe school year!

Empowered Flower Girl focuses on partnerships, community collaboration for 2018/19 school year and beyond

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG), a social enterprise dedicated to transforming the way young people relate to one another, is evolving and expanding its mission. The company will focus its resources toward building partnerships and fostering collaborations with education and community organizations throughout the U.S.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams, founder and chief empowering officer, says that EFG will continue offering workshops and programs in schools but will expand in the area of consulting.

With more than 15 years of community relations, strategic communications and project management experience, Williams understands that many organizations and institutions need support resources.

“Collaboration is key to transforming our communities,” Williams says. “When we combine our talents and work together toward empowering youth and families, we can have a greater impact.”

Founded in 2010, by mentor and author Rasheda Kamaria Williams, Empowered Flower Girl offers programs that combat bullying, drama and other social/communications challenges facing youth. The company has facilitated workshops and hosted events reaching nearly 4,000 youth and adults across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

For more information, visit www.empoweredflowergirl.com.

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.