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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.

Mentor Empowers Teens to Live Above Bullying, Drama and Societal Pressure with New Book

efg-angled-book-imageFrom cyberbullying to societal pressure, 21st century girls face challenges that generations before them may have never imagined. But they also have unlimited resources and opportunities to live powerfully.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams, an award-winning mentor and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl, explores how girls and young women can use their personal power to make a difference in her new book, “Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama.”

Written for and inspired by girls, “Be EmPOWERed” is an interactive guidebook and journal packed with inspirational prose, thought-provoking questions and written activities.

Once teased and bullied by classmates for being weird and different, Rasheda found a way to embrace and ultimately celebrate her uniqueness.

The book reveals her journey from excluded to emPOWERed and how she got there with help from trusted adults, mentors, friends and ultimately herself.

“Life isn’t always easy or fair. But if you’re equipped with the right tools, it makes the process more meaningful,” Rasheda says.  “You can learn a lot – especially from yourself.”

“Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama” is now available on Amazon.com.

A book release and 6-year anniversary celebration is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Good Cakes and Bakes in Detroit. Admission is $15 and includes a copy of the book, sweet treats, a special gift and raffle ticket for prizes. Tickets are available here.

Born and raised in Detroit, Rasheda Kamaria Williams is a communications professional and award-winning mentor on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another. She is the founder and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl, a social enterprise that works with schools, communities and families seeking solutions to cyberbullying, drama, relational aggression and other social/communications challenges facing youth. A survivor of bullying, Rasheda was featured in Cosmopolitan magazine in the article “Being bullied changed my life.” 

EmPOWERing Events in Your Community

Check out the following national observances and events being hosted by us and/or partner organizations:

Teacher Appreciation Week

May 4-8, 2020 – It’s in these challenging times that we truly recognize and appreciate the vital role educators play in children’s lives. The National PTA, in partnership with Office Depot, is honoring teachers and giving everyone an opportunity to show their appreciation. Check out these resources at http://www.pta.org.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.

Girl World Peace Academy

Coming Summer 2020 – This summer, Empowered Flower Girl will launch its first virtual course for educators, counselors, afterschool professionals and mentors seeking solutions to relational aggression, social exclusion and drama in girl world. The self-guided course, “Girl World Peace Academy” is designed to help youth advocates breakdown barriers and build trust to develop a more authentic connection with young people; a connection that inspires sisterhood and gives girls the courage to stand up for themselves and each other. Learn more here.

For additional news, events and inspiring content, be sure to connect with us via social media.

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Events at Beaumont Hospital to Kick Off Bullying Prevention Month in Michigan

Bullying often goes unreported by students in many schools across the country. Despite research findings that show bullying has significant long-term impacts on both victims and perpetrators, many young people are reluctant to speak up.

It is up to parents, teachers, counselors and youth advocates to learn the signs of bullying and know how to effectively respond to children and youth.

That’s why the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA), in partnership with Beaumont Children’s, is hosting the Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference on October 1, 2016. The event, scheduled at Beaumont Hospital’s campus in Royal Oak, will unite diverse groups of youth advocates to discuss bullying and peer aggression. They will also develop strategies and solutions to take back to their schools and communities.

Patti Agatston, Ph.D., a national cyberbullying expert and IBPA president, and Anne Collier, founder of the iCanHelpLine, will open up the conference with a keynote and discussion on “Cyberbullying and Digital Citizenship Strategies.”

Workshop topics include restorative practices, school climate, bullying and suicide, effective communication strategies, cyberbullying and legal aspects of bullying and many more.

Registration is $25 per person and includes breakfast and lunch. Professional development credits are available. Principals, teachers, counselors, liaison officers, social workers, school board members and those working in community agencies are encouraged to attend.

The conference will be preceded by a free event for parents and adult family members covering information and strategies specific to online safety. Karuna Nain, Facebook global safety manager, will present “Navigating the Social World with Your Teens — Insights from Facebook,” on Thursday, September 29. Registration is required for this event.

The Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference is sponsored by Beaumont Children’s, NoBLE (No Bullying Live Empowered) and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Additional support comes from the Michigan Elementary and Secondary Principals Association (MEMSPA).

For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.ibpaworld.org/mi.

How to Support Youth in Crisis

A new school year has begun. The excitement of new teachers, new classmates and new experiences is present for many young people. But for some children and teens – especially those experiencing mental health challenges – the new school year can be daunting,.

As mentors, educators, parents and youth advocates, we have a responsibility to make sure young people have the resources and support they need to be successful in school and in life.

If you encounter a young person in crisis, do you know the steps to take to ensure his or her safety or wellbeing?

Earlier this summer, I became certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. And the training didn’t cost a dime.

What is Youth Mental Health First Aid?

It’s a course designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

Many organizations/institutions across the nation are offering the eight-hour course FREE of charge. Find a course in your community today.

September is Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month. If you know someone at risk, don’t be afraid to intervene. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 if you or someone you know needs help.

Empowered Flower Girl’s CEO among finalists in national MentoringCruise contest

We are excited to share that Rasheda Kamaria Williams, founder and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl has been selected as a finalist in MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and Cabot Creamery Cooperative’s #MentoringCruise contest!

She’s the only person from Michigan selected.

We’re asking for your support. The mentor with the most votes by August 30 will win a once in a lifetime experience of an all-expense paid Alaskan cruise for two. The cruise will feature workshops and seminars for the more than 50 volunteer honorees.

Thanks in advance!

VOTE HERE:

http://bit.ly/2aVLCIA

By the way, sharing is caring. Share the link and invite your friends and colleagues to vote!

Business is Delightful for Detroit-area Tweenpreneur

Asia 2
Asia Washington is a serial entrepreneur. From creating whimsical necklaces and soy wax melts to launching a line of doll accessories, Asia is diversifying her business and brand portfolio. 

You’d expect this sort of entrepreneurial prowess from someone in their 30s. But Asia, 11, is a girl empowered and ready for world domination! 

I caught up with her after meeting this summer at a church carnival/picnic where she and her mom were selling their “delightful” goods.

What businesses do you own? I own Delightful Ribbons, a hair bow and doll accessories business. I make and sell hair bows and headbands for girls and 18- inch dolls. I recently started hand painting designs on t-shirts for the 18 inch dolls to match my hair accessories. When I’m not making doll accessories, I make soy wax melts with my mother. She allows me to make my own scent creations and sell them to her fans on Facebook.

How old were you when you started your businesses?  I started at the tender age of eight. When I started out, I made chunky beaded necklaces and soy wax melts.

What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?  You get to choose something you really like or love doing and start selling it for money. Plus, you get to be your own boss.

What are your hopes for your future?  My hope for the future is to one day sell enough crafts so that when I’m ready for college I can afford it. I plan on attending school to become an architect /illustrator.

What advice would you give to kids who want to start a business?  You might want to start with something simple or your hobbies first and soon as you get really good at it, you can start selling it. The better you get with your skill the more money you can sell it for. You never know unless you try. Don’t be afraid of rejection because it just makes you stronger.

You can find Asia’s awesome products at delightfulribbons.com.