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She’s EmPOWERed: Seattle sisters’ Joys of Giving working to bring educational equity to all

Vanesha Hari, 14, and sister Varshini Hari, 12, are an inspiration for anyone who has ever seen or experienced something they thought was unfair and took action to change it. 

As young children, they would often visit family in India. While there, they observed young girls working to help their families with basic needs but not attending school. They noticed this was a pattern in many households.  

“We started asking our parents and grandparents how this could be fair,” Vanesha said. “Back in Seattle, while helping our mother with a local fundraiser to assist the women’s homeless shelter and children in foster homes, it really hit us that suffering and unfortunate situations existed in several avenues and many needed help.”

The girls wanted to do something to make a difference. And in 2016, Joys of Giving was born. The organization focuses on bringing global educational equity to everyone, especially to the underserved.

Vanesha and Varshini are passionate about the work they do in their community and encourage other youth to think about how they want to make an impact.

“We believe everything starts with passion, Varshini said. “So, before you start a nonprofit, connect and identify with a cause that you really want to support and figure out how you want to bring about a change. Every effort starts out small, but it’s the persistence, passion and hard work that will always bring any initiative to life!” 

The Joys of Giving offers free workshops to youth across the country and around the world. The organization started offering virtual workshops over the summer in response to COVID-19. Joys of Giving has facilitated approximately eight workshops teaching the basics of computer science, coding, baking and other STEM topics reaching more than 150 youth.

According to their mother Shalini, the girls have raised over $15,000 to support partner organizations working towards a great cause. “They have inspired many young kids to give back and find a greater purpose in their lives,” Shalini said. 

Learn more about Joys of Giving and their upcoming workshops like “Intro to Python and Graphic Design Art” on Oct. 17 and “Fall Baking: Apple Pie Thumbprint Cookies” on Oct. 24 by visiting www.joysofgiving.org. You can also find them on social media: Instagram @joysofgivingpnw, Facebook @joysofgivingseattle.

Empowered Flower Girl founder named one of 15 Dynamic Entrepreneurs of 2020

Exeleon Magazine, a national business and tech publication, recently published its fall issue featuring 15 Dynamic Entrepreneurs of 2020. Among the men and women highlighted is Empowered Flower Girl’s own Rasheda Kamaria Williams.

In an exclusive interview, Rasheda shares her social entrepreneur journey and discusses topics ranging from mentoring and bullying prevention to leadership and Empowered Flower Girl’s 10-year anniversary.

Check out the article at: https://exeleonmagazine.com/interview-empowered-flower-girl-rasheda/.

In 2020, Empowered Flower Girl is celebrating 10 years of service to the community.

Girls Who Transform the World

You’re probably already aware that Empowered Flower Girl is an advocate and ally for youth. We work to help young people of all backgrounds live above life’s drama to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. 

But we also know how vitally important it is to serve and support girls and young women as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. 

Girls across the globe face challenges – from equal access to education and capital to greater risks of digital harassment and domestic abuse. 

But despite those challenges, girls are poised to change the world. They are creators. They are innovators and they are POWERful.

On October 1, 2020, Empowered Flower Girl will dedicate our social media to “Girls Who Transform the World.” We will host a live discussion via Facebook as well as highlight girls who are making an impact in their communities. We’re doing this in honor of International Day of the Girl, which is observed every year on October 11. 

The International Day of the Girl campaign encourages girls to amplify their voices and stand up for their rights. This year, under the theme “My voice, our equal future,” organizations and individuals are encouraged to seize the opportunity to re-imagine a better world inspired by adolescent girls – energized and recognized, counted and invested in.

Do you know a girl transforming her community or the world through entrepreneurship, volunteerism or the arts? Let us know at info@empoweredflowergirl.com and we just may feature her in our She’s EmPOWERed column. 

Do you want to help transform your world?

If you are a teacher, counselor or nonprofit/after-school professional who is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of young people, let’s connect. Seriously. Schedule your FREE 20-minute discovery call to discuss how we can help you. 

BTW, Girl World Peace Academy enrollment returns September 25th. Learn more at  www.rashedakamaria.com/girlworldpeace

She’s EmPOWERed: Seven-year-old author helps kids learn colors and count with confidence

At 7 years old, Rosemary Nwaosuagwu already is an accomplished author. She’s published not one but two books. And while she may not be old enough to formally teach a class, she’s helping kids learn their basic colors, count and believe in themselves.

With inspiration from her mother and aunt, Rosemary published her first book at 6 years old.

“My mother always tells me to believe in myself, follow my dreams and to always do my best to achieve my goals,” she said. “I love reading books. I like to use my imagination to create stories so I started writing stories at the age of six. One day, I was complaining to my aunt and I was not in the best mood. (She) told me I should turn something negative into something positive and creative. So I used my skills to create the book ‘Lily’s Favorite Color.’”

When she wrote “Lily’s Favorite Color,” Rosemary already had plans to write more books that educate, inspire and bring joy to children everywhere.

She followed her dream and published another book: “Come Along and Count with Lily,” which introduces children to counting and helps them with early literacy skills.

“For me, having published two books now at such a young age has been a huge accomplishment and a blessing! I love motivating other children and inspiring them through my books,” Rosemary said.

She encourages other kids to never give up on their dreams. Her advice is simple, yet profound – “You can achieve anything you set your mind to.”

In addition to writing more books, Rosemary aspires to study medicine. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

Learn more about Rosemary’s journey and purchase her books at booksbyrossy.com. Follow her via Instagram @booksbyrossy and Facebook @booksbyrossy1.

Save the date for our Facebook Live conversation and training “Girls Who Transform the World” on October 1, 2020 (7 pm EDT). We’ll discuss how Generation Z is inspiring change, how we can uplift girls and things to do to celebrate International Day of the Girl.

Empowered Flower Girl Launches Girl World Peace Academy

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG), a social enterprise on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another and themselves, is evolving and expanding its mission after 10 years of service. Founder and chief empowering officer Rasheda Kamaria Williams announced the company will focus on building partnerships and facilitating programs that support North American schools and youth-serving organizations.

“We understand that there’s enormous pressure to not only ensure that young people are academic achievers but to also equip them with skills to be responsible citizens,” Rasheda said. “This may be challenging when also dealing with social and emotional challenges they face.”

This summer, EFG is launching Girl World Peace Academy, a self-guided virtual course that provides teachers, after-school professionals and other youth advocates tips, tools and strategies to inspire sisterhood, increase self-esteem and encourage empathy among middle and high school girls. The course includes one-on-one coaching as well as video lessons covering topics ranging from empowering 21st century girls to no-cost tools to promote your programs.

Why focus on girls?

After facilitating bullying prevention and empathy boosting programs for a decade, Rasheda has observed:

  • Girls often exclude each other because they really don’t know each other.
  • On and offline conflict can adversely impact classroom dynamics and student performance.
  • Educators, who often are overwhelmed with conflict and drama in the classroom, may lack additional support and resources to address and solve it.

Additionally, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that girls are three times as likely as boys to be victims of cyberbullying and online harassment.

“At the end of the day, most girls actually want positive, friendly relationships with one another. However, some don’t feel confident enough to break the ice. They have a desire to create lasting bonds, but sometimes lack the tools,” Rasheda added. “Our goal is to help youth advocates breakdown barriers, build trust and develop an authentic connection with students that ultimately inspires peace in classrooms and communities.”

Learn more and register at www.rashedakamaria.com/girlworldpeace. The first individual or organization to register for the course will receive an Empowered Flower Girl swag “bag” valued at over $50.

She’s EmPOWERed: Washington girl on a mission to stop bullying

At 11 years old, Autumn Smith is resilient. Like Empowered Flower Girl’s Rasheda Kamaria Williams, she is a survivor of bullying, which she’s endured since kindergarten.

Despite being alienated and feeling lonely at times, deep down Autumn knew she wasn’t alone.

“I didn’t want people who were being bullied like me to feel alone. I wanted them to understand that if we stood together then maybe we could get others to listen and things change,” Autumn said.

And change things is what she did.

Autumn used her experience and creative abilities to develop a line of empowering t-shirts. With assistance from her mom, she designed the shirts which come in several colors with messages like “Bullying Stops Here” and “Kindness is My Rebellion.”

“When I (made my first shirt), it made me feel stronger. Like I was being heard for the first time in a long time,” she said. “I wanted to share that feeling with my friends. Then I wanted to share it with the whole school.”

Autumn spent the summer raising funds to pay for 600 shirts, which she sold and gifted to students and families in her community and beyond.

“She is a very determined kid and has had some amazing supporters along the way,” according to her mother Cynthia.

“She has done some pretty scary things for a kid her age but she fights through it because she wants to make the change. She feels that strongly about ending bullying.”

Learn more about Autumn and her Stopping Bullying One Shirt at a Time initiative on Facebook.

Know a girl or young woman 5-25 years old who deserves recognition? Email rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.com. Parental consent required for anyone under 18 years of age.

How to “Mess” Up Your Summer in 5 Steps (2020 edition)

With so much drama and chaos happening in our world from the fallout of COVID-19 to civil unrest, I had to revisit a topic I blogged about a few years ago. And now with EVERYONE and their mama online … literally (your grandma and great grandma are trying to figure out Zoom) social media engagement is at an all-time high. 

And that means more opportunities to engage with people – some of whom you may want to avoid. 

In 2017, I published “How to Eff Up Your Summer in 5 Steps.” Pardon my crassness but I had to be direct given the climate at the time. 

The blog was mostly aimed at young people from middle schoolers to college students. But let’s face it, many adults are involved in online drama. 

Fast forward to June 2020, we’re witnessing many states open back up just as summer starts to sizzle. Here’s our chance to make summer great again. 

But countless media reports have already shown: people are messing it up before it truly begins. 

From posting inappropriate, offensive and down right mean comments to participating in ridiculous online challenges for likes, there are some surefire ways to have an effed up summer break. Don’t be that kid or grown up.

So are you ready? Here is the 2020 list:

5. Get in a Twitter fight with a celebrity … or a president. We all love to voice our opinions about celebrities who do wild and obnoxious things, have bad hair days or overuse photoshop. But resist getting into a battle with celebrities, politicians or anyone who has a fanbase as dedicated as Beyonce. They sting. And they will come for you, boo. 

4. Put your friends or family on blast via social media – any platform. Sure, best friends can disappoint us and sometimes our siblings can do jerky things. But, there is a better way to bring this to their attention. Instead of posting a shady status update, pick up the phone, send an email or schedule a Zoom meeting. Just kidding on the Zoom meeting. But you really should talk it out. 

3. Post incriminating pics or videos on Instagram or TikTok. This is one of the best ways to kiss your summer internship, college acceptance or job security good-bye. Even if everyone else is doing it, DO NOT post pics of drug use, private parts or illegal activity.

2. Make racist or homophobic posts and comments. This one should be obvious but in the wake of what’s happened in the U.S. over the past month, apparently it isn’t. People are losing their jobs and livelihoods. Think before you post, seriously. I always say, “what’s in my head doesn’t have to be said.” Making racist and homopobic comments is rude (first of all) and also mean. If you want to stay employed either change your thinking or don’t post your thoughts. 

1. Do something productive. Of course this doesn’t follow the format of the other tips because you actually SHOULD engage in activities that inspire you and those around you. Kindness is the key to a kick-butt summer. Volunteer or advocate for a worthy cause, get a summer job or learn a new skill. Staying occupied will keep you out of trouble and give you a confidence boost.

So in conclusion, don’t be a jerk online, stay off the Internet when you’re in a crappy mood and overall, think before you Tweet or Snap or whatever you do. 

Hope your summer is fiya. 

She’s EmPOWERed: Empowered Flower Girl salutes girls making an impact

There are kids in our communities and around the world tackling issues and championing causes – from climate change and racism to access to education and homelessness. Although it’s our job as adults to pave the way and solve these problems, I am still inspired by the courage, dedication and commitment of children and teens globally. 

Empowered Flower Girl is committed to showcasing youth making a positive difference and those who are using their gifts to bring joy to others.

Do you know a young social entrepreneur or change maker (who identifies as female) from 5 to 25, let us know. We’ll highlight her in the next issue of Be EmPOWERed. Email rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.com.

Parental consent will be required for those under 18.

Make sure you sign up to receive the Be EmPOWERed newsletter!

Icebreakers that Engage

Are you working or aspiring to make a difference in the lives of girls and young women? Do you seek tools and content that complement your current or future SEL, bullying prevention or after-school programming?
 
If so, sign up to receive our FREE Inspiring Sisterhood “Icebreakers that Engage” PDF.
 
Whether you’re hosting an assembly, workshop or kindness club, you’ll want to incorporate entertaining and interactive activities to kick things off. We’ve got you covered.
 
Be sure to connect with us via social media for empowering news, events and course offerings like our upcoming Girl World Peace Academy!
 
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How to combat cyberbullying while #athometogether

We’re all coping with the life changes that COVID-19 has sparked. Many adults are working remotely and children are home learning via virtual classrooms. 

While students are not engaging in-person, they’ll be engaging online – via social media apps and texting. 

Empowered Flower Girl, a social enterprise on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another and themselves, encourages youth and parents alike to monitor online interactions and behavior. Cyberbullying is still a concern for many children. 

Here are tips to prevent online drama and encourage quality family time:

TECH-FREE FAMILY NIGHT: Ditch the cell phones, laptops and tablets for dinner and conversation. For some teens, talking face-to-face may seem old-fashioned but it’s a great way for families to connect. It also reduces the temptation to go online.

ASK QUESTIONS: Take an active role by inquiring about your child’s relationships with peers on and off line. Most children won’t volunteer the information. Parents should ask specific, preferably open-ended questions to get their children to open up.

Empowered Flower Girl is celebrating 10 years of service in 2020. Founded in 2010, EFG works with schools, community organizations and families to combat bullying, cyberbullying, relational aggression and other social challenges facing youth. Learn more at www.empoweredflowergirl.com. Follow via Facebook/Instagram at @empoweredflowergirl