Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dreams of Gems and Jewels

I started this blog with a poem in 2007, but recently was inspired to revisit it...

A few months back via the Internet I met an inspiring woman named Kara Norman who co-founded a wonderful organization for girls called GEMS and Jewels Empowerment Group with Adriane Simmons. Seeing their work to motivate girls, from organizing etiquette classes to college preparation field trips, really encouraged me. Remembering my own childhood and teen years as shy, unconfident girl, her group would have nurtured me so much to grow as it is doing for so many girls today. If every girl had dedicated mentors like Kara and Adriane I'm sure there would be more strong, confident women in the world.

The GEMS and Jewels recently had their Kick-Off Celebration for the year and above is a booklet I had the pleasure to create for them and below a simple poem I've written dedicated to their vision and girls:

Dreams of Gems and Jewels

Your eyes glint
With passion for life,
Your dreams sparkle
So very bright.
You have purpose,
Worth, power and gifts
So walk and dream
With confidence...

You are one very special girl,
Who has the power to change the world.
You’re precious, unique, talented,
Intelligent too,
One day your dreams
Can come true!
This is why we celebrate you
Because you are truly
A Gem and Jewel!

More Information About the GEMS and Jewels Empowerment Group for Girls:


Mission: The mission of the G.E.M.S. and Jewels program is to promote self-esteem, self-awareness, self worth and respect within the lives of young girls and teens. Through enrichment workshops/activities, cultural awareness, community service projects, mentorship, leadership/educational programs and social activities G.E.M.S. and Jewels will accomplish these goals and create confident young women who will make a difference in our world!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beyond Color: How Do Youth Perceive the World?

Note: This was originally posted on my main blog


“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color...”
"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength." - Maya Angelou

One of the topics concerning youth I find myself often researching and learning about is identity, especially how young people view themselves and others. One area in particular is relating to race and ethnic background – how do young people see themselves and others? In my college "Women & Minorities in the Media” course I did a final paper on African American girls and how the media and role models in their lives affect the way they grow up and pursue careers.

Are we as adults and educators teaching children to see beyond color? Will the environment's we live in and experiences we have had always have an effect on our world paradigm? Below are a few pieces and resources on this subject:

Colour Me - The Feature Film

Colour Me is a feature-length documentary film from Red Piano Productions following motivational speaker Anthony McLean and five youth on their journey to discover what it means "to be black". McLean himself is biracial and talks about the struggles he felt growing up trying to find where he "fit in." Watch this development reel from the documentary:

"A Girl Like Me" A Short Documentary Film by Kiri Davis

agirllikemeA few years back (then 17-year-old) Harlem student Kiri Davis recreated the famous doll experiment of the 1940's by psychologist Dr. Kenneth Clark. Children were presented with dolls of different races to see how they responded to them. Kiri received recognition from various outlets for the film and was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, bringing the subject to the forefront to be discussed - have perceptions changed? Click here to learn more about Kiri Davis on her website.

CNN Report: Black or White: Kids on Race (May 2010 - Click here for the full report)

CNN commissioned a study on children's racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences that shows black and white children are biased toward lighter skin. The test aimed to re-create the landmark Doll Test from 1940s. The two girls at the end of the video have so much wisdom and see the reality that "you don't judge someone by the way they look but by the way they act." Though it was sad to see when some didn't realize their worth, it's refreshing to see that some really "get it".

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On Dreamer ENT I had the honor of interviewing an inspiring young lady who is spreading the love of reading to the young and old alike. Check out my interview with Adele Ann Taylor founder of Adele's Literacy Library below:

There's nothing like a good book; you can immerse yourself in different worlds, share someone else's experiences and ignite your own imagination to what's possible in the world.

Adele Ann Taylor has such a passion for books and at the age of 13 decided she wanted to share her love for reading with other kids, to show them how much power it holds and how much fun it could be. This is why she founded her non-profit organization Adele's Literacy Library™ (A.L.L.) in December 2008. The goal of A.L.L. is to "instill and empower that reading is not only fundamental, it is the key ingredient to success and through reading ALL things are possible."

Throughout the past few years since founding A.L.L., Adele has already donated thousands of books and spoken to hundreds of kids about the power of reading. Her main goals are to donate millions of brand new books and bookmarks to schools, libraries and charitable organizations, and to "make a difference" in the lives of others through a book. She also wants to eventually offer scholarships to graduating seniors who want to pursue their educational dreams.

Adele was crowned Miss Heartland's Outstanding Teen 2009, making her an official representative for the sister group to the Miss America Organization, and she was most recently crowned Miss Bonnie Blue Outstanding Teen 2010. She is also a featured Hero on the website Kids Are Heroes that shows that young people can make a difference in the world. Watch Adele in the video below from a Kids Are Heroes event, where she speaks about her organization and how other young people can become change-makers in their communities: Presents Adele Taylor

Adele aims to motivate people of all ages to develop a passion for reading and show them that "regardless of where you come from, you can go anywhere in the world by reading a book." This inspiring teen spoke to Dreamer ENT about how she got started and what she's up to now - ALL for the love of reading.

Dreamer ENT: Tell us about you - how old are you and what grade are you in, and a little bit of your background?

Adele Taylor: I am a 14-year-old freshman [will be entering 10th grade in the upcoming year]. I am the oldest of three; I have a younger brother and sister. I enjoy rock climbing, roller skating, ice skating, hanging out with my friends, dancing and of course reading.

DE: When and why did you start Adele's Literacy Library? What sparked the idea and what did you do to get started?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ruby B. Inspiring Little Dreamers

rubybookMeet eight-year-old Ruby Marigold Booker, the main character in the Scholastic book series "Ruby & the Booker Boys" by author Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Ruby is creative, fun, sassy, smart, and shows her style and individuality by sporting mismatched shoes and coming up with new adventures to undertake.

The series follows Ruby's fun experiences and lessons as she navigates her eight-year-old world. Her character is relatable for all little readers especially African American girls who can see themselves in a character that looks like them and can be inspired by a positive example of a black family reminiscent of "The Cosby Show."

Watch the video below of Barnes talking about why he started the series:

I love the essence of the Ruby books and it would be great to see more books from the series. If you have a little reader in your life or know of someone who does, consider supporting the series by purchasing the books, especially book 3 and 4. If they're not in your bookstore you can have them ordered or order online. The books are pretty affordable and they are worth bringing joy to children who may not have seen a role model like Ruby.

If you are or happen to know any educators (teachers, librarians, principals, etc.) you can visit the author's website to find out how to schedule a classroom visit.

Click here to be a fan of Ruby & The Booker Boys on FaceBook.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dreamer ENT Interview with Young Entrepreneur Jasmine Lawrence


For my youth website Dreamer ENT I got to interview an inspiring young entrepreneur, Jasmine Lawrence, who started her own natural hair care company when she was 11. Check out the full interview by clicking below - I'm sure you'll be inspired.

youngjasmineJasmine Lawrence is a young successful entrepreneur who has definitely been soaring and growing toward her dreams. It all sprouted when she was 11-years-old, after she mixed together natural ingredients to create her own hair oils for her broken, damaged tresses. By age 13 her hair was flourishing, and she was selling her hair products to friends. At 15 she shared her story with Oprah and other major news outlets, and began discussing distribution deals with Wal-Mart - all while striving to get her homework in on time.

Now at 17-years-old, Jasmine's natural beauty care company Eden BodyWorks has bloomed immensely, and she hopes to bring it to even greater heights. She recently graduated from high school, and is studying computer engineering at Georgia Tech. She’s also featured in the film Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon (that we wrote about in a previous post) featuring young entrepreneurs. Watch Jasmine below in a clip from the film:

Video Source: Ten9Eight Website

Jasmine spoke to Dreamer ENT about her amazing experiences, what motivates her to keep going, and how other young people can bring their dreams to fruition:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Little Brown Girl

This is a poem inspired by girls I've witnessed in the inner-city who seem to be losing hope because they don't know it exists. From getting pregnant as a teen to dropping out of school, my heart breaks to see any child, whatever the background, fail to see their purpose and worth. We see how women are objectified in the media and the way positive role models for African American girls are so few on TV. It's up to us - mothers, sisters, aunts and mentors - to instill confidence and faith in the next generation.

Little Brown Girl,
Why do you cry?
Why do those waterfalls,
flow from your brown eyes?
Why do you weep inside,
As your soul slowly dies?

Little Brown Girl,
How can you be
So blind and so accepting
to how the world sees
And treats you as less than Divine royalty?
Why do you give up your dreams?
Little Brown Girl, when will you be free?

Little Brown Girl,
Where is your pride?
Why do you give your heart away
And leave your treasure open wide
Why do you let them steal your gems
Until you're bleak- empty inside?

Little Brown Girl,
Who is to blame?
Who will correct them
When they call you
Out of your name?
Who will stand up
And put an end to this game?
Who will wipe your tears
and free you from this shame?

Little Brown Girl,
When will you know
That you are worth,
far more than diamonds and gold
That you are priceless,
Intelligent and beautiful
And that your Creator,
Your King, is with you
Everywhere you go?

Little Brown Girl,
Change will come,
When Little Brown Girls
Of yesterday unite as one
And through ceaseless surveillance
And lifting up of generations to come
The youth of tomorrow can be won.
Stand up Little Brown Girl
Wipe your eyes,
Walk with authority,
Your journey has just begun.