She’s EmPOWERed: Giving Back is a Way of Life for Tennessee Teen

For many children and teens, volunteering is a chore or something you do because you are told.

But not for Asia Bigsbee.

The 14-year-old Tennessee native has been giving back for nearly a decade and finds joy in it.

She is the founder of the Beautiful Spirited Cupcake Mentoring Program for girls ages four to 11. The program helps participants learn life skills that will help develop and mature them into positive and productive individuals in life, education and community.

“The Beautiful Spirited Cupcake Mentoring Program is making a difference in communities worldwide by providing free programming, community workshops and free resources to give girls in low-income areas a lifetime opportunity to dream big no matter what,” said Asia, who began volunteering when she was four.

Overall, she has hand-written more than 200 letters of hope filled with inspirational and encouraging words to girls worldwide. Additionally, she has fed and provided clothing for over 500 hundred people in need in her community.

Activism, Athletics and Academics

Asia has spoken to and served girls through free workshops, seminars and service projects as a girl power champion.

Not only is she laser-focused on uplifting those in her community, but she’s also focused on academics and athletics. Asia is an honor roll student, volleyball player, basketball player and proud member of several regional and national organizations/associations, including Royal Neighbors of America, Delta Gems of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Peace First, Points of Light, Volunteer Memphis and Mentoring Grizz Foundation.

After high school, Asia aspires to enter a veterinarian program.

You can learn more about the Beautiful Spirited Cupcake Mentoring Program by visiting the Beautiful Spirited Women website at www.beautifulspiritedwomen.org.

Learn more at:
Instagram: @beautifulspiritedwomen
Twitter: @bswblessings
Facebook: @bswblessing

Girl World Peace Academy gives youth advocates tips, tools and templates to engage and empower girls

Countless articles, polls and reports have shown that girls are being adversely impacted by digital harassment and cyberbullying. Additionally, a 2020 study revealed that we are in the middle of a teen mental health crisis – and girls are at its epicenter.

Now is the time for us to come together to help our girls. 

You may have been thinking of launching a girls mentoring program or youth-focused nonprofit but not sure where to start or how to engage students. 

Or perhaps you already have an established program but need additional help and resources to grab the attention of potential participants, media and funders.

If either of these describe you, consider Empowered Flower Girl’s Girl World Peace Academy! 

“Our course graduates are making an impact and a difference in their communities,” said Rasheda Kamaria Williams, EFG chief empowering officer and founder. “Our girls need positive role models, mentors and advocates. They need women like you.”

Make a Difference this Year!

Girl World Peace Academy is a self-guided online course + coaching for youth advocates of all backgrounds – from teachers and counselors to after-school program professionals and mentors.

This course is especially for you if:

  • You aspire to make a difference in the lives of girls and young women. 
  • Girls in your school or community face social or emotional challenges (bullying, peer pressure, trauma, etc.) that impact their ability to thrive.
  • You seek empowering and interactive tools and content that complement your current or future SEL, prevention or after-school programming.
  • You can use help getting the word out about the good you’re doing (to media, sponsors and potential participants)

Questions about the course or general questions about the youth empowerment space? Book a free discovery call with Rasheda. 

Enroll at https://rashedakamaria.com/girlworldpeace.

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She’s EmPOWERed: Tulsa Teenpreneur Uses Greeting Cards to Inspire, Celebrate Girls of Color

Kolbi Lucas was introduced to the world of entrepreneurship as a tween after she noticed a lack of diversity in the greeting card industry. 

That introduction quickly became a passion when she discovered that she could also use her ideas to create and control her future. “I have received a lot of support from many girls and women who tell me that I have inspired them,” said Kolbi, 13. “Their words are affirming and make me feel like I am on the right path.”

That path was directed while Kolbi was out shopping for a birthday card for a friend. She realized there were very few cards with images of Black and Brown girls. 

So, at 10 years old, she started Kolbi’s Afromations – a company that designs handcrafted greeting cards and stationery.   
She hopes that her cards inspire, encourage, and affirm the beauty, intelligence and magic of being a Black girl.

Words of Encouragement
As a successful girlpreneur, Kolbi offers some encouraging advice to aspiring young business owners. 

“Be patient with your business. It is a process, and you won’t always see the success you want right away’” she said. “Prioritize your business by managing your time. As a business owner, you have to be willing to put in the time it takes to provide the best quality for your customers. Sometimes, this means sacrificing things you want to do, but in the end, it will help your business grow.”

Kolbi has aspirations of her own. After high school, she plans to attend NYU or Howard University and study art or fashion. The ambitious teen is interested in being a fashion designer, stylist, or chief editor for a high-end brand. She’s also interested in acting. 

We’re sure she will flourish in any career. Kudos to Kolbi!

Connect with Kolbi:
IG: Kolbis_afromations 
FB: Kolbi’s Afromations

EmPOWERing 21st Century Teens series addresses challenges and opportunities for youth and youth advocates

Empowered Flower Girl wants to support families and those who work with teens with a space to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities their young relatives/students face in the 21st century.

In observance of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, Empowered Flower Girl is hosting a FREE 3-week conversation series. If you’d like to participate as a guest panelist or if your organization provides resources to families of teens and preteens, email rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.

The series will be streamed via Zoom and Facebook. Follow Empowered Flower Girl at www.facebook.com/empoweredflowergirl.

Schedule:
May 11, 18, 25 – 6 to 6:45 p.m. EDT
Zoom link: http://bit.ly/21stcenturyteens

Topics:
5.11 – Mentoring teens to live above bullying
5.18 – Intergenerational empathy
5.25 – Collaborating to support youth

Helping Kids Manage Their Unique Pressures Starts by Being a Healthy Role Model

By Amanda Henderson

Being a child isn’t always easy. While it’s true that there are few decisions to make in the early years, children learn to make decisions later on by watching their parents. If you are a positive role model, you will empower your kids to be healthy and independent adults.

The Pressures of Today

Kids today are under more pressure than ever. Our youth — especially teenage girls — deal with issues that we never did. Social media is an especially difficult hurdle for young girls to handle, and it unfairly puts ridiculous expectations on how they should look, act, and befriend.

Be EmPOWERed is a great book to read as a parent and to share with your daughter. It will walk you through Rasheda’s heart-wrenching journey through her victory of how she learned how to embrace all of the beautiful things that made her different.

It is not just girls that have to live up to an unrealistic standard either. Once young people enter college — and even before — they may experience what the Child Mind Institute calls “duck syndrome.” This is essentially a way to describe the turmoils that people are dealing with individually without letting the world see. It references how waterfowl seemed to glide without obstacles on the water while, under the surface, they must kick violently to stay afloat.

How You Can Encourage a Healthy Reality

As a parent, teacher, camp counselor, or other type of caretaker, you can model behaviors that will serve as a life-long example for the children in your life. Doing things, such as refusing to live up to social media standards and embracing your own reality will go a long way toward encouraging kids to do the same.

The online world is not the only place that you can model a healthy adult life. In the real world, talk to your children early about the future. Let them know that there is nothing stopping them from pursuing the life they desire. To do this, however, you need to live your own reality and take your own advice. If you are stuck in a go-nowhere job, look inside for the courage to go back to school.

Let’s say that you wanted to be a software systems architect in high school but chose an easier path. You can take an online computer science course now and earn a degree so that you can master your professional earning capacity. Plus, you’ll be following your dreams, and your children will see that you face your fears and overcome them.

Other ways to encourage healthy habits in children include:

Get plenty of sleep. Teenagers are especially prone to forgoing bedtime so that they can finish homework or stay up late to chat with their friends. While both academics and socializing are crucial to their development, teach them that their health is also important by creating an environment that encourages everyone to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Don’t bow to peer pressure. We tend to think peer pressure is something that only affects those under 18. This is absolutely not true, and adults are often faced with decisions to make based on behaviors by their friends and acquaintances. Remember, you don’t have to go out every weekend even if your divorced friends are. By prioritizing what’s important to you and not bowing to everyone else’s whims, you show your child that it’s okay to be independent and follow their heart instead of the crowd.

Obviously, this is not a full guide on how to be a role model for your children. But living your own reality and encouraging healthy habits are a great start. Remember, everything you do now will be embedded in your children’s brains and will become the map for their own adult life. Children will do as you do, not as you say, so make the most of your behaviors. All eyes are on you.

About the author

Amanda enjoys writing in her freetime, and recently decided to create safechildren.info

The Transformative Power of Mentoring

After all they experienced in 2020, children and young adults across the globe can use an extra helping of support and empathy. 

Twenty-first century students face a number of challenges – from societal pressure and family obligations to financial hardships and mental health crises. 

Coping with all of this, especially for those who lack support, can be difficult. 

That’s why mentors are needed. 

As a mentor, you have the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s life, including your own. 

My life was forever changed when I responded to an ad an organization placed in the local newspaper seeking mentors for girls in its after-school program. I was a college senior at the time facing numerous challenges myself. 

I became a mentor as a way to shift the focus from my pain and trauma to help others. I was healed in the process. At the time, I was experiencing depression and PTSD after losing two close relatives. While meeting with my mentees had a positive impact for them, the experience saved my life. 

A big heart and a little time

Whether formal or informal, your mentoring relationship can have a tremendous impact, even if you spend just an hour a week connecting with your mentee virtually.

Young people who need mentors:

  • First generation college students
  • Youth in or aging out of foster care
  • Youth with an incarcerated parent
  • Low-income/homeless youth and young adults
  • Refugees
  • LGBTQ youth

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership found that students who have a mentor are more likely to stay in school, attend college, volunteer, hold positions of leadership and become mentors themselves.

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 this. 

At the end of the day, you don’t need a fancy job title or curio cabinet full of plaques and medals to make a difference for young people. 

Still unsure if mentoring is right for you? Download Empowered Flower Girl’s FREE Mentoring Guide for busy professionals. Ready to become a mentor? Check out the MENTOR search tool to locate a program near you.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams is an award-winning mentor, mentoring consultant and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl, a social enterprise that empowers youth and youth advocates to live above life’s drama to make a difference. Connect with her at www.rashedakamaria.com.

Empowered Flower Girl to Host “Be the Impact” Service-Learning Training and If I Were President Campaign

On January 20, U.S. citizens will inaugurate their 46th president. And while presidents and other elected officials serve their country as leaders and policymakers, they aren’t the only ones who can affect change.  

Ordinary people make extraordinary contributions to our society every day.  

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG) is inviting youth and youth advocates to explore the impact they can have and the difference they can make regardless of age or occupation. 

As a social enterprise dedicated to helping young people live above life’s drama to make a POWERful difference, EFG will host “Be the Impact,” a virtual service-learning training and introduction to our “If I Were President” campaign.  

“We will explore ways youth can tackle and solve issues in their communities as well as support and resources available to them,” said Rasheda Kamaria Williams, chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl.  

The campaign will culminate with an “inauguration” event on MLK Day, January 18, 2021, where participants will share their ideas and celebrate and support one another to make them a reality. 

Two participants will be randomly selected during the inauguration to receive a $100 gift card in honor of their ideas to make a difference in their communities. 

The training and inauguration event are being hosted as part of Youth Service America’s MLK Day of Service initiative. Empowered Flower Girl was among eight Michigan-based organizations awarded a grant from the Michigan Service Squad to carry out service-learning trainings and projects in honor of Dr. King’s legacy.  

Be the Impact Training 

Monday, January 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET 

www.betheimpacttraining.eventbrite.com

Girls Who Transform the World

You’re probably already aware that Empowered Flower Girl is an advocate and ally for youth. We work to help young people of all backgrounds live above life’s drama to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. 

But we also know how vitally important it is to serve and support girls and young women as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. 

Girls across the globe face challenges – from equal access to education and capital to greater risks of digital harassment and domestic abuse. 

But despite those challenges, girls are poised to change the world. They are creators. They are innovators and they are POWERful.

On October 1, 2020, Empowered Flower Girl will dedicate our social media to “Girls Who Transform the World.” We will host a live discussion via Facebook as well as highlight girls who are making an impact in their communities. We’re doing this in honor of International Day of the Girl, which is observed every year on October 11. 

The International Day of the Girl campaign encourages girls to amplify their voices and stand up for their rights. This year, under the theme “My voice, our equal future,” organizations and individuals are encouraged to seize the opportunity to re-imagine a better world inspired by adolescent girls – energized and recognized, counted and invested in.

Do you know a girl transforming her community or the world through entrepreneurship, volunteerism or the arts? Let us know at info@empoweredflowergirl.com and we just may feature her in our She’s EmPOWERed column. 

Do you want to help transform your world?

If you are a teacher, counselor or nonprofit/after-school professional who is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of young people, let’s connect. Seriously. Schedule your FREE 20-minute discovery call to discuss how we can help you. 

BTW, Girl World Peace Academy enrollment returns September 25th. Learn more at  www.rashedakamaria.com/girlworldpeace

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.

She’s EmPOWERed: Washington girl on a mission to stop bullying

At 11 years old, Autumn Smith is resilient. Like Empowered Flower Girl’s Rasheda Kamaria Williams, she is a survivor of bullying, which she’s endured since kindergarten.

Despite being alienated and feeling lonely at times, deep down Autumn knew she wasn’t alone.

“I didn’t want people who were being bullied like me to feel alone. I wanted them to understand that if we stood together then maybe we could get others to listen and things change,” Autumn said.

And change things is what she did.

Autumn used her experience and creative abilities to develop a line of empowering t-shirts. With assistance from her mom, she designed the shirts which come in several colors with messages like “Bullying Stops Here” and “Kindness is My Rebellion.”

“When I (made my first shirt), it made me feel stronger. Like I was being heard for the first time in a long time,” she said. “I wanted to share that feeling with my friends. Then I wanted to share it with the whole school.”

Autumn spent the summer raising funds to pay for 600 shirts, which she sold and gifted to students and families in her community and beyond.

“She is a very determined kid and has had some amazing supporters along the way,” according to her mother Cynthia.

“She has done some pretty scary things for a kid her age but she fights through it because she wants to make the change. She feels that strongly about ending bullying.”

Learn more about Autumn and her Stopping Bullying One Shirt at a Time initiative on Facebook.

Know a girl or young woman 5-25 years old who deserves recognition? Email rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.com. Parental consent required for anyone under 18 years of age.