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.

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.

Icebreakers that Engage

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Cheers to Stevenson High School!

The Stevenson High School cheer team got a visit from Empowered Flower Girl founder and author Rasheda Kamaria Williams on October 16 during National Bullying Prevention Month.

Mrs. Diana Langlois, a member of Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe, a volunteer service organization, purchased copies of the book “Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama” for each girl. Diana’s daughter, Robbie, coaches the team which is made up of 22 ambitious and dedicated cheerleaders.

The girls had been reading the book since the beginning of the semester. To reward the team for their recent successes and to encourage them to keep up the good work, Diana coordinated the visit.

Schedule a “Be EmPOWERed” book talk for your school, organization or house of worship. Empowered Flower Girl offers a special rate for nonprofits that order 20+ books.

EmPOWERing 21st Century Girls: Event Aims to Bridge Generation Gap, Inspire Teens to Live Powerfully

Twenty-first century girls face challenges that generations before them may have never imagined. From cyberbullying to societal pressure, they’re coping with the pangs adolescence both on and offline. But because of technological advances, they also have unlimited resources and opportunities to live powerful lives.

On Thursday, March 9 during Women’s History Month, Empowered Flower Girl (EFG) – in partnership with the Skyline Club’s Emerging Leaders Group – will host “EmPOWERing 21st Century Girls.”

The event, scheduled 6-7:30 p.m. at the Skyline Club in Southfield, aims to bridge the gap that exists between 20th and 21st century women and girls while encouraging sisterhood and empathy.

Participants will break down the walls of separation by participating in engaging, inter-generational icebreaking activities as well as learn about local organizations and programs supporting girls and women.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams, EFG founder and author of Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama, will facilitate the workshop and sign copies of the guidebook and journal.

“The ultimate goal of this event is to boost understanding and empathy across the generations while combating behaviors and norms that lead to drama, relational aggression and other challenges young women face,” Williams said.

The event is open to girls 11 and older and their parents, guardians or other adult chaperones. Admission is $10 per couple and includes appetizers and a raffle ticket for prizes.

Call the Skyline Club at 248-350-9898 to RSVP. Learn more about Empowered Flower Girl at empoweredflowergirl.com.

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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.”