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Empowered Flower Girl founder named to MentHer’s Top 20 Social Impact Founders List

IMG-20211216-WA0003Rasheda Kamaria Williams, chief empowering officer and founder of Empowered Flower Girl, has been named among MentHer magazine’sTop 20 Social Impact Founders.” Rasheda joins 19 other women around the globe named to the first annual list featured in the December issue of MentHer magazine, themed “Make Your Mark.”

The announcement was made during MentHer’s virtual Social Impact Summit on Dec. 16. 

“While attending the summit, I was surprised and honored to learn that I made the top 20 list,” Rasheda said. “The women on this list are doing some incredible work across the globe. I was shocked, yet humbled to be included. Empowered women empower women and work to help others realize their power to create change.”

The MentHer organization and magazine were founded by Ntsiki Mkhize, a South African social entrepreneur, author and model. The Social Impact Founder’s List, celebrates female founders making an impact through their business or non-profit. The 20 finalists collectively represent a combined 90 years of social impact work, over 140 jobs created, more than $14 million in annual revenue or grant funding and over 171,000 lives impacted.

About Empowered Flower Girl

Empowered Flower Girl is a social enterprise on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another and themselves. The company provides resources and tools to help youth and youth advocates live above life’s drama (from cyberbullying to societal pressure) and make a powerful difference in the world. 

View or download the magazine here

She’s EmPOWERed: Katie’s Krops founder planting seeds of inspiration for youth

Sometimes the seeds of inspiration don’t take root until we’re older. But not for Katie Stagliano of South Carolina. She discovered her calling at just nine years old when she received a cabbage seedling from the Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program. 

“I planted my seedling in my backyard. Every day I would come out with the watering can and water it.” she said. “I would fertilize the cabbage and weed around it. My family and I watched it grow and grow and grow in size.”

When her cabbage was fully grown, it weighed an astounding 40 pounds.

And just as her consistent care for the seedling sprouted a magnificent cabbage, it also sprouted a genuine interest in helping others. 

“In May of 2008, my family and I brought my cabbage to Tri-County Family Ministries. When I walked in, I saw a huge line of people waiting for what might be the only meal they would have that day,” she recalled. “The guests greeted me and asked if I grew the giant cabbage. When it was time to serve my cabbage to the guests, they thanked me for helping to feed them. My one cabbage helped to feed 275 people. 

After seeing how many people her one cabbage could feed, Katie thought about how many people can be fed from a full garden. 

And that was the inspiration for Katie’s Krops!

The mission of Katie’s Krops is to empower youth to start vegetable gardens and donate the produce to those in need, as well as inspire others to do the same.

“I started with a garden at my home, then my school but I quickly realized that the larger the gardens, the more gardens, the bigger the impact I could have on hunger. I decided to start supporting other youth to start their own Katie’s Krops garden ten years ago,” she added. 

Along with the fresh vegetables, the organization provides hot, healthy, and free garden-to-table meals at Katie’s Krops Dinners, where youth prepare and serve the dinners. 

Over the past 12 years, Katie’s Krops has donated more than 500,000 pounds of fresh produce to help people struggling with hunger and food insecurity across the United States and has served over 30,000 free meals.

Katies KropsGrowing Aspirations

In May of 2020, Katie graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in communications. And now at 23 years old, she operates Katie’s Krops full time. She aspires to expand the organization to have gardens in all 50 states and empower even more youth to grow a healthy end to hunger. 

“Overall, the goal of Katie’s Krops is to end hunger. I know that can be seen as a lofty goal, but working together, we can make a difference, one vegetable garden at a time,” she said.

Katie’s Krops Grower Grants Available: Apply by December 31, 2021

Kids ages 7-16 in the U.S. can apply to become a Katie’s Krops Grower and help end hunger in their community by starting a vegetable garden. Grantees receive an all-inclusive grower box, complete with everything necessary to start their own garden. Learn more and apply at www.KatiesKrops.com.

Keep up with Katie via social media:

Facebook: Katie’s Krops

Instagram: Katie’s Krops

Twitter: Katie’s Krops

Atlanta tween co-writes book to help boost girls’ self-esteem

Research suggests that many girls’ confidence takes a nosedive as early as eight years old. A 2018 poll found that their confidence drops by 30% from ages 8 to 14. It’s no surprise when many look to social media apps for likes and validation.

So what can we do to help boost girls’ self-esteem? Eight-year-old Lianna Dozier has some ideas. 

The Atlanta tween wrote a children’s book entitled Don’t Call Me Pretty

“I wanted to write a book for girls my own age, so they would love themselves and not go through bad things in life,” she said. “I started talking to my mom about things that bother me and things that make me insecure. I also asked her questions about what her life was like and how she felt as a little girl.”

So she and her mother, Lisamarie Thomas, co-wrote the book which helps girls “look at themselves in a good way instead of comparing themselves to everyone else.”

When I Grow Up

Even though she’s only eight, the  young author has big aspirations for her book and herself. 

She hopes to start an after-school program and charity for young girls to show them how to believe in themselves, even when they don’t. 

“I think that young children everywhere would love to have another child read a story that they wrote and speak to them on these things,” Lianna said. “I know that I am just a child but I think this is important. So I would like to help.” 

When she grows up, Lianna would like to be a doctor who helps kids. “I would like to become a child psychologist when I graduate from college. I have always wanted to help other kids and I believe that everyone can be a better person if they have someone to help them,” she added. 

Kudos to Lianna for taking a stand for girls and showing them that even in a world where beauty seems to be most important, they can challenge the status quo.

Follow Lianna and Lisamarie on Instagram at @Lisamarie _The_Author.

Don’t Call Me Pretty, by Lianna and Lisamarie

Girl World Peace Academy gives youth advocates tips, tools and templates to engage and empower girls

Countless articles, polls and reports have shown that girls are being adversely impacted by digital harassment and cyberbullying. Additionally, a 2020 study revealed that we are in the middle of a teen mental health crisis – and girls are at its epicenter.

Now is the time for us to come together to help our girls. 

You may have been thinking of launching a girls mentoring program or youth-focused nonprofit but not sure where to start or how to engage students. 

Or perhaps you already have an established program but need additional help and resources to grab the attention of potential participants, media and funders.

If either of these describe you, consider Empowered Flower Girl’s Girl World Peace Academy! 

“Our course graduates are making an impact and a difference in their communities,” said Rasheda Kamaria Williams, EFG chief empowering officer and founder. “Our girls need positive role models, mentors and advocates. They need women like you.”

Make a Difference this Year!

Girl World Peace Academy is a self-guided online course + coaching for youth advocates of all backgrounds – from teachers and counselors to after-school program professionals and mentors.

This course is especially for you if:

  • You aspire to make a difference in the lives of girls and young women. 
  • Girls in your school or community face social or emotional challenges (bullying, peer pressure, trauma, etc.) that impact their ability to thrive.
  • You seek empowering and interactive tools and content that complement your current or future SEL, prevention or after-school programming.
  • You can use help getting the word out about the good you’re doing (to media, sponsors and potential participants)

Questions about the course or general questions about the youth empowerment space? Book a free discovery call with Rasheda. 

Enroll at https://rashedakamaria.com/girlworldpeace.

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Got Fall/Winter Travel Plans? Here are Tips for a Fun and Safe Family Vacation

By Joyce Wilson

School breaks give your family a chance to spend time together and bond. Like many families, you may choose to plan a vacation; however, with the ongoing pandemic, many of the family vacation plans you love may no longer be available. This situation may leave you wondering how best to spend your vacation as a family.

Empowered Flower Girl suggests some indoor and outdoor family vacation activities, some COVID-safe travel options, and how to stay safe during your family vacation.

Indoor and Outdoor Family Vacation Activities

Regardless of your family size, there are many fun activities you can do as a family during your vacation. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do some gardening together as a family
  • Play hide and seek
  • Build a homemade treehouse or swing set
  • Play mini-golf with the older children
  • Consider attending dance classes together
  • Go hiking or biking together

Family vacation indoor activities include:

  • Playing board games
  • Going to the gym
  • Arranging indoor gardening activities

Family Vacation COVID-19 Safety Tips

Keeping your family safe during your vacation is a challenge this year due to the ongoing pandemic. According to federal experts, you can travel if you’re fully vaccinated, but you still need to take some precautions. They don’t recommend non-essential travel for unvaccinated people.

If you choose to travel for your family vacation, the following steps may lower travel-related risks.

  • Ensure anyone you plan to visit has received the COVID-19 vaccine if they’re eligible.
  • Check the COVID-19 community spread rates of the places you plan to visit.
  • Make sure everyone you travel with wears a mask when you use public transportation.
  • If you must fly, try to take direct flights.
  • Pack extra sanitizers and masks.

Likewise, consider the following pandemic-friendly family vacation travel options.

  • Limit interactions by staying at a private vacation home rental.
  • Go for a socially distant family road trip in an RV.
  • Go camping at a remote location.
  • If possible, travel by car.

As you plan your family vacation, keep in mind that the pandemic is not over. Even if you take the proper precautions, traveling involves significant risk during this period.

Install a Fence Around Your Property

One of the most important safety measures during a family staycation is fencing around your property, and it’s best done by a contractor. Search for a fencing company nearby before selecting one and read customer reviews online.

Cost is among the important factors to consider when comparing contractors. The cost of installing a new fence can vary depending on materials used, fence size, and the location of the installation. As with all projects that require digging, safety is a priority. You should make sure that the contractor is aware of any underground utility lines on your property.

Have Fun and Stay Safe

The ongoing pandemic has limited the number of options available for family vacations, especially those that involve coming into contact with the public. Thankfully, there are still many activities that you can still do both indoors and outdoors, and the insights in this article will help you have a fun and safe family vacation.

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.

She’s EmPOWERed: Meet the 15-year-old political journalist challenging bias in the media

For many people, finding your passion and purpose can take several years or even several decades. But not for Cassidy Conley. At only 15 years old, she is already making her mark as a political journalist. 

From copywriting in the government and advocacy sectors to curating content for her blog “Let’s Talk Politics,” Cassidy has a wealth of experience . . . and she’s just getting started.

“I found my passion in politics because I wanted to be part of the movement our nation is going through today. I didn’t want to sit idly by complaining about what our nation is doing wrong,” Cassidy said. “I combined my two passions and effectively used my voice for the better of people, especially women, like me; young and resilient.”

In addition to being young and resilient, Cassidy describes herself as funny, intriguing, fierce, bold, bright, joyful and helpful – all of which would make her a great candidate for political office someday. 

After high school, she plans to attend the University of Michigan, major in Public Policy and intern for her state representative’s staff team.

“My service is for the community. It is centered around the community. The whole purpose of my service is to give citizens the best resources and representation,” she said. “Our news resources are very biased, and it is not fair to the upcoming generation to take the brunt of the biased media.”

Finding Balance

Cassidy may be laser focused on her career, but she finds balance in other passions. 

“I love to impact people and help them in any way which is also a huge reason why I am stuck in politics, but other than that, I am a competitive figure skater.”

We are so proud of Cassidy and wish her much success in her life and career.

If you know a girl who is making an impact, tell us about her. We’re continually accepting submissions for She’s EmPOWERed. Learn more here

She’s EmPOWERed: Tulsa Teenpreneur Uses Greeting Cards to Inspire, Celebrate Girls of Color

Kolbi Lucas was introduced to the world of entrepreneurship as a tween after she noticed a lack of diversity in the greeting card industry. 

That introduction quickly became a passion when she discovered that she could also use her ideas to create and control her future. “I have received a lot of support from many girls and women who tell me that I have inspired them,” said Kolbi, 13. “Their words are affirming and make me feel like I am on the right path.”

That path was directed while Kolbi was out shopping for a birthday card for a friend. She realized there were very few cards with images of Black and Brown girls. 

So, at 10 years old, she started Kolbi’s Afromations – a company that designs handcrafted greeting cards and stationery.   
She hopes that her cards inspire, encourage, and affirm the beauty, intelligence and magic of being a Black girl.

Words of Encouragement
As a successful girlpreneur, Kolbi offers some encouraging advice to aspiring young business owners. 

“Be patient with your business. It is a process, and you won’t always see the success you want right away’” she said. “Prioritize your business by managing your time. As a business owner, you have to be willing to put in the time it takes to provide the best quality for your customers. Sometimes, this means sacrificing things you want to do, but in the end, it will help your business grow.”

Kolbi has aspirations of her own. After high school, she plans to attend NYU or Howard University and study art or fashion. The ambitious teen is interested in being a fashion designer, stylist, or chief editor for a high-end brand. She’s also interested in acting. 

We’re sure she will flourish in any career. Kudos to Kolbi!

Connect with Kolbi:
IG: Kolbis_afromations 
FB: Kolbi’s Afromations

EmPOWERing 21st Century Teens series addresses challenges and opportunities for youth and youth advocates

Empowered Flower Girl wants to support families and those who work with teens with a space to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities their young relatives/students face in the 21st century.

In observance of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, Empowered Flower Girl is hosting a FREE 3-week conversation series. If you’d like to participate as a guest panelist or if your organization provides resources to families of teens and preteens, email rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.

The series will be streamed via Zoom and Facebook. Follow Empowered Flower Girl at www.facebook.com/empoweredflowergirl.

Schedule:
May 11, 18, 25 – 6 to 6:45 p.m. EDT
Zoom link: http://bit.ly/21stcenturyteens

Topics:
5.11 – Mentoring teens to live above bullying
5.18 – Intergenerational empathy
5.25 – Collaborating to support youth

She’s EmPOWERed: Community Service is a Family Affair for Virginia Sisters and NEST4US Founders

Service to the community is a strong value in the Venkat family household. So it’s no surprise that sisters Shreyaa and Esha are championing causes and inspiring others to do the same.

“Our mom would bring us along to volunteer at school and community events even back in elementary school,” said eldest sister, Shreyaa, 18. “That was when we were first introduced to the world of community service. The giving spirit has always been in our family for generations.”

The award-winning sisters believe it’s our responsibility as humans to give back to the people who need it the most. There are millions of people in the world that don’t have access to basic necessities like food and some don’t even have families or loved ones.

PURPOSE & PASSION

“This is proof that the world needs people to spark change and build a better future. So, we thought, why couldn’t that be us?” said younger sister, Esha, 15. That’s the inspiration behind why they formed NEST4US, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing volunteer solutions to the community to make the world better through kindness.

The sisters have made such an impact in their community and across the country that they have been honored with dozens of awards, including the George H.W. Bush Points of Light Award. This year, Shreyaa was selected for the Clinton Global Initiative University 2021 Cohort by the Clinton Foundation. Additionally, the girls were among the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth honorees and selected for the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey.

It’s hard to imagine Shreyaa and Esha having time for anything else with all their NEST4US initiatives. But they do! These fierce founders are both travel soccer players, Kathak dancers, 3rd degree black belts, certified soccer referees and assistant martial arts instructors.

“Many people wonder, how do we manage to balance academics, extracurriculars and still keep time open in our schedules to give back consistently? Well, for us, we believe that you don’t need to have time, you should make the time to help others,” the sisters agreed.

ASPIRATIONS

Currently, Shreyaa is balancing her time as a freshman at Georgetown University majoring in Global Health studies. She aspires to enter the medical field and delve into healthcare management, through which she’ll continue providing aid to marginalized populations who lack equitable access to vital healthcare resources and treatments.

Esha, who is a high school student, is interested in studying neuroscience and/or computer science/animation when she goes to college. “Personally, I want to work in the neuroscience and technology field when I grow up, because I am interested in the brain and all things STEM,” she said.

You can keep up to date with all of the NEST4US initiatives and activities at www.nest4us.org.

Follow them at:

Facebook- @nest4us
Instagram- @joinnest
Twitter- @joinnest4

Helping Kids Manage Their Unique Pressures Starts by Being a Healthy Role Model

By Amanda Henderson

Being a child isn’t always easy. While it’s true that there are few decisions to make in the early years, children learn to make decisions later on by watching their parents. If you are a positive role model, you will empower your kids to be healthy and independent adults.

The Pressures of Today

Kids today are under more pressure than ever. Our youth — especially teenage girls — deal with issues that we never did. Social media is an especially difficult hurdle for young girls to handle, and it unfairly puts ridiculous expectations on how they should look, act, and befriend.

Be EmPOWERed is a great book to read as a parent and to share with your daughter. It will walk you through Rasheda’s heart-wrenching journey through her victory of how she learned how to embrace all of the beautiful things that made her different.

It is not just girls that have to live up to an unrealistic standard either. Once young people enter college — and even before — they may experience what the Child Mind Institute calls “duck syndrome.” This is essentially a way to describe the turmoils that people are dealing with individually without letting the world see. It references how waterfowl seemed to glide without obstacles on the water while, under the surface, they must kick violently to stay afloat.

How You Can Encourage a Healthy Reality

As a parent, teacher, camp counselor, or other type of caretaker, you can model behaviors that will serve as a life-long example for the children in your life. Doing things, such as refusing to live up to social media standards and embracing your own reality will go a long way toward encouraging kids to do the same.

The online world is not the only place that you can model a healthy adult life. In the real world, talk to your children early about the future. Let them know that there is nothing stopping them from pursuing the life they desire. To do this, however, you need to live your own reality and take your own advice. If you are stuck in a go-nowhere job, look inside for the courage to go back to school.

Let’s say that you wanted to be a software systems architect in high school but chose an easier path. You can take an online computer science course now and earn a degree so that you can master your professional earning capacity. Plus, you’ll be following your dreams, and your children will see that you face your fears and overcome them.

Other ways to encourage healthy habits in children include:

Get plenty of sleep. Teenagers are especially prone to forgoing bedtime so that they can finish homework or stay up late to chat with their friends. While both academics and socializing are crucial to their development, teach them that their health is also important by creating an environment that encourages everyone to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Don’t bow to peer pressure. We tend to think peer pressure is something that only affects those under 18. This is absolutely not true, and adults are often faced with decisions to make based on behaviors by their friends and acquaintances. Remember, you don’t have to go out every weekend even if your divorced friends are. By prioritizing what’s important to you and not bowing to everyone else’s whims, you show your child that it’s okay to be independent and follow their heart instead of the crowd.

Obviously, this is not a full guide on how to be a role model for your children. But living your own reality and encouraging healthy habits are a great start. Remember, everything you do now will be embedded in your children’s brains and will become the map for their own adult life. Children will do as you do, not as you say, so make the most of your behaviors. All eyes are on you.

About the author

Amanda enjoys writing in her freetime, and recently decided to create safechildren.info