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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!
 
Help us help you. Take the poll:

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

 

Chica Chat: Imagining Girl World Peace

Do you want girl world peace in your school/community?

Imagine the day where exclusion, apathy and relational aggression no longer exist. It’s all possible if youth are engaged and equipped with the right tools.

Designed for middle and high school students, Chica Chat promotes sisterhood and gives girls the tools to transforms the they relate to one another.

Participants have the opportunity to be self-expressed, heard and understood by their peers and adult mentors in a supportive, safe and accepting environment.

Additionally, girls break down barriers by participating in fun and engaging ice-breaking activities and have the opportunity to ask questions anonymously that are answered by their peers with guidance by facilitators.

Why Chica Chat?

In our 10 years of facilitating bullying prevention and esteem building programs, we’ve noticed:

  • On and offline conflict adversely impact classroom dynamics and student performance.
  • Girls often exclude each other because they really don’t know each other.
  • Girls who are confident in expressing their own feelings are typically more empathetic toward others.

Why Empowered Flower Girl?

  • 98% of Chica Chat participants found the workshop content helpful or very helpful.
  • EFG founder and chief empowering officer Rasheda Kamaria Williams has more than 15 years’ experience as a mentor and youth empowerment speaker.

But don’t just take our word. Here’s what educators/youth advocates have to say:

“We were experiencing a lot of drama with our middle school girls. Our girls needed a structured and safe environment to learn and express themselves. The Chica Chat allowed them to do so. I received positive feedback afterward and even felt the climate change a bit. One girl even said ‘I actually squashed some beef from that.’ Hearing that, made me very happy.”  – Alaina Evans, Teacher, Laurus Academy 

“The workshop provides students a forum to talk about issues that are important to them. The workshop also allows young ladies to freely express their feelings without being judged or embarrassed”. – Bianca Heath, Student Family Liaison, Reach Academy

Are you ready and able to invest in transforming the climate in your school or community? If so, let’s work together. Schedule your consultation today. Email rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.com or fill out the form below. 

Be someone who matters to someone who matters: January is National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month – a time for individuals and organizations across the country to bring awareness to the need for caring adults to serve as role models for youth.

According to MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, 1 out of 3 children will face growing up without a mentor. That means millions of children throughout the country may never have powerful, positive interventions. 

From children and teens in foster care to those with incarcerated parents, there are specific populations of youth who need positive role models. 

Consider one-on-one or even group mentoring in your community. There’s also opportunities to mentor youth across the country through online or e-mentoring programs. 

It only takes a few hours a month of face time and a phone call or text a week to help increase a child’s self-esteem. In addition to the mentee’s development, the mentor benefits in many ways. My mentees have helped me aspire higher in my career and in life. And knowing that they’re looking up to me keeps me living in integrity.

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor but not sure if you have what it takes, answer these questions: 1. Do you have a big heart? 2. Do you have a little time? If yes and yes, then you’ve got it! At the end of the day, you don’t need a fancy job title or curio cabinet full of plaques and medals to be make a difference for young people. 

Still unsure? Download our FREE Mentoring Guide for some insight. Ready to become a mentor? Visit the MENTOR organization search tool to locate a program near you. 

Rasheda Kamaria Williams is an award-winning mentor, motivational speaker, author and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl. She is a dedicated youth advocate and was recently named to the Michigan Community Service Commission’s Mentor Michigan + Consultant Network.

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.