How to combat cyberbullying while #athometogether

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

 

Be someone who matters to someone who matters: January is National Mentoring Month

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. 

Still unsure? Download our FREE Mentoring Guide for some insight. Ready to become a mentor? Visit the MENTOR organization search tool to locate a program near you. 

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.

Join the Conversation: Let’s talk about bullying

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

Defeating Bullying One Conversation at a Time

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.

Empowered Flower Girl focuses on partnerships, community collaboration for 2018/19 school year and beyond

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG), a social enterprise dedicated to transforming the way young people relate to one another, is evolving and expanding its mission. The company will focus its resources toward building partnerships and fostering collaborations with education and community organizations throughout the U.S.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams, founder and chief empowering officer, says that EFG will continue offering workshops and programs in schools but will expand in the area of consulting.

With more than 15 years of community relations, strategic communications and project management experience, Williams understands that many organizations and institutions need support resources.

“Collaboration is key to transforming our communities,” Williams says. “When we combine our talents and work together toward empowering youth and families, we can have a greater impact.”

Founded in 2010, by mentor and author Rasheda Kamaria Williams, Empowered Flower Girl offers programs that combat bullying, drama and other social/communications challenges facing youth. The company has facilitated workshops and hosted events reaching nearly 4,000 youth and adults across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

For more information, visit www.empoweredflowergirl.com.

Be a mentor in 2018

If you’ve resolved to make a difference or dedicate your time to worthy causes in the new year, I encourage you to consider mentoring.

You may have thought about it in the past but weren’t sure if you’d have the time or qualifications. But chances are – you do!

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.

I’ve been inspired to mentor for the past 16 years. While I have no biological children, I am dedicated to positively impacting the young people in my family and in my community.

According to MENTOR, the national mentoring partnership, 1 out of 3 children will grow up without a mentor.

There are many benefits for children and teens matched with mentors. These young people are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and activities such as truancy, drugs and gangs. They also are more likely to graduate high school and attend college.

Consider this.

It only takes a few hours a month of face time and a phone call 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.

Still not sure about mentoring?

Visit www.rashedakamaria.com to download your copy of my FREE mentoring guide. 

Rasheda Kamaria Williams is an award-winning mentor, author and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl LLC. Check out her TEDx talk to learn how mentoring makes a difference. 

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.

Does New Anti-Sexting Legislation Criminalize Kids?

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R.1761, also known as the “Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017,” which builds on current law that makes teen-to-teen sexting a crime.

This new legislation supposedly aims to close “loopholes” in current child pornography legislation. But a recent Forbes.com article revealed that the bill could have teens facing 15 years for trying to sext. Second-time offenders would be fined and imprisoned for up to 50 years.

While it is important to protect our children from predators and those seeking to exploit them, it is also important that we communicate with children the consequences of sharing inappropriate or sexual content. Criminalizing them isn’t the answer.

While the legislation was supported by many in congress, it was opposed by dozens of others, including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. Lee, in the article, called the bill “deadly and counterproductive,” and commented during a House debate over the issue, “While the bill is well intended, it is overbroad in scope and will punish the very people it indicates it is designed to protect: our children…”

Learn more about the legislation here.

Kindness is Key

For many of us, November has been exhausting. The contentiousness of the U.S. presidential election has kept many who work with children and youth on edge. Our children are like sponges and soak up the good and the bad of our collective behavior. Unfortunately, many have picked up on the not-so good.

But all hope is not lost.

We have opportunities to transform how people relate to one another in our communities and classrooms. I recently attended the International Bullying Prevention Association Conference in New Orleans. The theme was “Getting to the Bottom of It: Bullying Prevention through Empathy and Kindness.”

Kindness is powerful. Author and education expert Dr. Michelle Borba noted in her opening keynote that empathy is “we” not “me.” Instilling a we attitude in our children is vital. This can be done in and out of school through experiential activities.

Sunday, Nov. 13, gave us all an opportunity to turn me into we as the nation observed World Kindness Day, a 24-hour global campaign dedicated to paying it forward and focusing on the good. Empowered Flower Girl encourages you to engage – and engage youth – in activities that make a difference year round!

Make kindness go viral.

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.