She’s EmPOWERed: Maryland Teen Inspires Youth to Serve with Small Things Matter Organization

For as long as she can remember, Lana Anderson has been involved in her community. As a preschooler, she would make crafts for children as part of the National Institute of Health’s Thoughtful Treasures program. And as a middle school student, she was an active member of her school’s Difference Makers service club.

Those experiences fueled her passion for giving back. And now at 18, she continues to serve and encourage others through her nonprofit, Small Things Matter (STM).

“I started Small Things Matter as a way to empower younger children to serve and create lifelong habits of giving back,” said Lana, who is currently studying biology at the University of Maryland. “Our motto is kid-powered kindness for those in need.”

Small Things Make a Big Difference

Small Things Matter hosts several events and initiatives under three programs: a food distribution program, a literacy program and a crafting for charity program.

Through its food distribution program, STM provides nutritious grocery items to over 1,000 local families each month, totaling about 1 million pounds of food each year. “These fresh produce, dairy and nonperishable items allow families to feed their children healthy, delicious, high-quality meals,” Lana noted.

The Books for Bedtime literacy program provides new books to underserved children and their families in an effort to build a strong educational foundation.

Crafting for Charity gives children of all ages and abilities the opportunity to share their talents with those in need at children’s hospitals, shelters, etc.

Through these projects, STM hopes to nourish children’s bodies, minds and spirits and motivate youth of all ages to give back.

Lana’s work with Small Things Matter has been recognized by numerous government agencies as well as national organizations and businesses.

Thank you, Lana, for all you do to help improve the quality of life for others while being a positive role model for youth!

To learn more about Small Things Matter, visit www.smallthingsmatter.org.

Follow Small Things Matter on Facebook.

She’s EmPOWERed: Third Grader’s Passion for the Planet Inspires Environmental Justice-Themed Book

Around the world, governments are trying to figure out how to solve the most pressing environmental issues – from air and water pollution to global warming and sea level rise. 

So, what on earth can we do to fix these problems? It may seem overwhelming but the first thing to do is something! 

Meet Aahna Rangnath – an eight year old from California deeply committed to environmental justice. She is an elementary school student who is doing something! Aahna is on a mission to motivate kids to help transform the environment. 

The aspiring author is working on publishing her first book entitled Green Girls.

The book follows a group of three friends who find a magic portal in Hawaii and travel around the world to save the planet.

Aahna, who is of Asian Indian descent, wanted to make sure that the characters in her book reflect the girls in her community. “There are not that many books about girls with brown skin so I made sure all my characters had brown skin, she said. “I want people to know that young girls can be powerful.”

Girls are indeed powerful and have the potential to create world-wide change. 

According to a report from the National Democratic Institute, gender equality is a vital component of climate justice. “Women and girls are, and will continue to be, more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation,” the report stated. 

More women and girls are needed to hold leadership positions and be at the center of environmental activism and governance. 

Aahna is well on her way. When she grows up, she wants to be a scientist. “I want to be a dog scientist because I love my dog and I love science. I do a lot of science projects and I really enjoy them,” she explained.“ I also like doing science projects about water conservation.”

Good luck Aahna. We can’t wait to get our copy of Green Girls

She’s EmPOWERed: Seven-year-old Arlington author and entertainer uses creativity to educate and inspire kids around the world

Zoey Robinson is a seven-year-old girl on a mission to spread joy and creativity around the world. As a children’s book author, entertainer and kidpreneur, she’s using her gifts and talents to inspire others.

A Star is Born
If you visit her YouTube channel, you’ll quickly see why Zoey is a rising star. Her bright smile and enthusiasm will not only melt your heart but also motivate you to learn.

As the host of Zoey TV, Zoey uses her creativity to encourage kids to follow their dreams while promoting literacy.

Her very first feature – an anti-bullying challenge video – was filmed and published when Zoey was just a year old. A year later, she expressed her desire to be on YouTube. Her mom, Kesha, followed through with the request after watching Zoey re-enact her own show segments.

“I’m inspired most by Zoey’s confidence, her positive attitude and her ability to dream big without limitations,” said Kesha Robinson, Zoey’s mother.

Kesha, who’s also an entrepreneur and author, believes that parents can best support their children in following their dreams by being their biggest cheerleader and finding programs and activities that would help cultivate their gifts and talents.

The Future is Bright
Zoey has not only become an exceptional actress, but a phenomenal dancer, and model as well. She has been featured nationally and internationally in magazines as well as radio shows.

She is an established author as well. From “Zoey’s Book of Manners” to “Zoey’s Book of Affirmations,” Zoey has an impressive catalog of books that empower and educate.

In the future, Zoey plans to continue creating and promoting more books and businesses. With her drive and talent, we’re sure she’ll make it happen!

You can follow Zoey on Instagram and YouTube at @zoey_tv.

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

She’s EmPOWERed: Ohio social entrepreneur educates girls on how to be beautiful from the inside out

Leah Berdysz is a young woman on a mission. She’s an educator, social entrepreneur, up-and-coming author and girl-power enthusiast.

The founder of Empowered & Poised (E&P), Leah works to empower and educate girls on how to be beautiful from the inside out through discovery of social, mental and physical components.

Her previous work with youth as a physical education teacher, babysitter and party motivator for Rock the House Entertainment prepared her to launch E&P as well as write her upcoming book Conscious Empowerment: A Guide to Helping Girls Build Self-Esteem & Confidence.

“Founding this organization, writing my upcoming book and obtaining my master’s degree in social work were inspired by the struggles I’ve faced with anxiety and body image. I recognized that I was not the only one struggling with self-esteem and confidence,” Leah said. “Therefore, I made it my mission to make a difference in the community and support young girls in their growth and development towards becoming strong and capable women.” 

Girls definitely have a strong and capable role model in Leah. At 25 years old, she has numerous achievements to her name and she’s just getting started. She has advice for aspiring changemakers, social impact heroes and entrepreneurs. 

“Being a girlpreneur or social entrepreneur can be challenging, but it’s SO worth it. Surround yourself with a supportive tribe, and don’t give up when it gets hard. You can do it!” she exclaimed.

Learn more about Empowered & Poised at www.empoweredandpoised.com. Be sure to follow Leah via social media at @empoweredpoised and @itsleahbee.

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

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?
 
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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.