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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.”
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!
Bullying and digital harassment are pervasive in schools and communities around the globe. We all know this. But what are we doing collectively to address and prevent it? Our friends over at Defeat the Label are bringing together students, parents, educators and youth advocates to discuss strategies that produce solutions. And it all begins with a conversation.
On Oct. 26, the organization will host its 3rd annual Community Conversation on Bullying at the Oakland Community Schools Conference Center in Waterford, Michigan. In addition to conversations, the event includes workshops on topics ranging from mental health and relational aggression (girl bullying) to social media and empathy in early childhood.
Empowered Flower Girl’s Rasheda Kamaria Williams will discuss the impact of popular media on girls’ relationship realities and how the adults in their lives can transforms the way they relate to one another during the Mentoring Girls and Inspiring Sisterhood workshop.
Admission to the conference is $25. Learn more and RSVP by visiting defeatthelabel.com.