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Youth Empowerment

Dedicated to My Favorite B-Girl

TFG Spotlight, Youth Empowerment

“I’m dedicating this one to my favorite girl…” – R. Kelly

My sister has always been a passionate little person. In fact, we often called her the “Militant Midget.” Word to Good Times. When she puts her mind to something, you can pretty much consider it set in stone. So, a couple of weeks ago, when she told me about her newest project…her baby, I knew that she was onto something great. That day, she told me how she wanted to start an organization called B-Girls. The goal of B-Girls is to enhance the lives of Black girls and provide a safe space where they can  celebrate the unique experience that is Black girlhood. There was so much committment in her voice…Y’all it was powerful to hear.

Generation after generation, little brown girls have always had to battle obstacles both physical and mental, but now? I’m sorry…it’s pretty bad, guys. Statistics and the media tell our girls that they have nothing to strive for, that they are ugly, and if they make it out the “hood” and go to college, they’ll never get married. That’s not what I want my daughter to EVER hear or believe and neither should you.

Okay…back to my favorite B-Girl.

Today, Brittany launched her website, LetGirlsBGirls.com. The B-Girls program will provide leadership for young girls, promote health awareness education about nutrition and sexuality, offer career development and teenage-specific educational and cultural programming. B-Girls will also train young ladies to become peer-to-peer mentors. She’s currently seeking writers for her website and developing a program curriculum AKA not sleeping. Get it, girl!

Sister...Sister

My sister is the ultimate B-girl and no one can ever take that away from her…

Bold…Brash…Beautiful…Baffling…Brilliant…Bossy…Benevolent…Brown…Brittany

Catch her on the web three different ways…

URL – www.letgirlsbgirls.com

Twitter – www.twitter.com/letgrlsbgrls

Tumblr – http://letgirlsbgirls.tumblr.com/

-kb

TFG Spotlight: The Dreamcatcher Foundation

TFG Spotlight, Youth Empowerment

Last week in reaction to the Derrion Albert killing and other violence in Chicago, I blogged about getting involved with our youth and the need to recognize community organizations leading the fight. While trying to think of my first spotlight, my mind immediately went to a story that I read in the Chicago Weekly about The Dreamcatcher Foundation. This organization was started by Stephanie Daniels and Brenda Myers-Powell, two Chicago-based survivors of the sex trade industry. Focused on Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, the mission of The Dreamcatcher Foundation is reach out “to girls and young women between the ages of 12-25 years old with the hopes of igniting confidence, courage, independence, and inner strength within them.” Englewood is one of Chicago’s most crime-ridden communities with high rates of violence and prostitution.

Some of the young ladies who participate in the programs have been victims of mental, physical, and sexual abuse. This past makes them vulnerable for sexual exploitation, and this is exactly what Daniels and Myers-Powell want to help them avoid. In addition to traditional mentoring activities, such as arts and crafts, field trips, and academic support, the girls also have access to health services, emotional and psychological services, and personal development workshops.

I think the work done by The Dreamcatcher Foundation is some of the most important work being done in our community. Many people, young/old and male/female, often make unsafe and unhealthy lifestyle choices because they aren’t sure about their self-worth. This foundation makes an earnest and holistic approach to helping these girls set goals and understand that they are so much more than a vessel for sexual relations, either consensual or forced situations.

To learn more about The Dreamcatcher Foundation and how you can become involved, please visit www.thedreamcatcherfoundation.org!

-kb

These Are My Kids Too…

KB's Journey, Youth Empowerment

As a proud Chicagoan, an African-American, a future mother, and a human, I had a very strong reaction to the news about the killing of Derrion Albert, a 16-year old honors student from Chicago. What happened to Derrion was tragic, but sadly this is the kind of violence that more and more of our teens both here in the city and across the country are faced with. And, it’s not just the gang members and drug dealers. Teens who are doing everything in their power to avoid negative situations are getting caught up in the ills of their communities and something has to be done about it.

I blog about giving back and living a charitable lifestyle because I want the world to be a better place. I know that each of us has the capability and the power to make sure that every day in the future is brighter than the one that proceeded it. But, if our young people are constantly being taken from this world, I have to wonder what kind of future are we looking at. These teens could be our future cancer researchers, HIV activists, philanthropists, educational advocates, and nonprofit leaders. Saving them is saving us.

Last school year, 34 Chicago Public School students were killed and hundreds were injured in shootings, and officials are predicting that this year could be even bloodier. I’m angry, heartbroken, and confused, but I’ve learned that those feelings need to be channeled into something positive. Having said all of that, mentoring the youth is now one of my top priorities. I’ll be looking to my peers and community leaders to help me get started. I want to be part of the solution, and not just talk about it. These are not just somebody else’s kids. These are our children…Our future.

If you are involved with community mentoring organizations and programs, I’d love to hear about it. There are plenty of people doing their part to support our communities, and I’d love to help spread the word. The first profile will go up this Friday weekend, and will continue in a weekly series. Please send all information to kb@thefabulousgiver.com.

-kb