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Become a Free2Rise Angel Donor and help enrich the lives of girls facing adversity

Educational Enrichment, Life Skills, Cultural Events, & Civic Engagement

November 2020  - Virtual Tutoring

On November 5, 2020, Free2Rise pivoted to conduct weekly virtual tutoring sessions to  boys and girls associated with the Freedom Schools Program of the National Center for Families and Children. Student Volunteers from the University of Maryland and Towson State University began working with us to help the Freedom Schools prevent students who are "at risk'" from falling behind in their studies during this Covid -19 experience. 


April 19, 2020 - HBCU  Covid-19 Student Emergency Relief Fund

Free2Rise Educational Foundation makes monetary donation to the DSU Student Emergency Relief Fund to support students during the Covid-19 pandemic.


March 2020 - Civic Engagement - Cuba 

Free2Rise CEO Brenda Silvils and Board Vice President, Helen Mitchell (owner of the ReFresh Experience), made donations to elders and students at a community center on behalf of Free2Rise Educational Foundation, during a ReFresh Retreat.


June 25, 2019 - Middle School College Tour - Delaware State University

Free2Rise Educational Foundation sponsored middle school students from the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas to participate in an AKA, Rho Mu Omega Chapter, Middle School College Tour. The students traveled to tour the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Delaware State University.



March 19, 2017 - Financial Workshop - "Everyday Money"

Free2Rise Educational Foundation would like to thank Candy Miles-Crocker, Board President, for conducting an awesome financial life skills workshop called “Everyday Money”! This fantastic life skills session should be taught in every school! Candy shared that throughout life there will be many choices to make as it relates to finances. Currently parents or loved ones are paying for the lives that the girls live. She asked the girls if they had any idea of how much their “fabulous” lives cost. Of course, they did not. She asked them to think about who they are, and how they want to live and spend their money.

Candy took the girls through an interactive session in which they were able to select the positions they would be working. Salaries were assigned based on their positions. Play money was given to each girl that equated to their gross salaries for one month. The girls had to deduct money off the top for federal and state taxes and Medicare and Social Security. They then had to deduct basic monthly expenses to live such as rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, and groceries from the Net.

Once they started looking at what was left the teens realized there was not much left for personal items and entertainment, and they had not even looked at savings and investments. The girls were shocked at all the money their parents have to pay monthly in order for them to live a decent life. Some said that their parents had called them “consumers” but never knew what it met until the workshop. They gained a greater appreciation for their parents and now understand what is required to run a household.

“Everyday Money” was a very informative workshop and in the end the girls found that life is expensive and they need to be more selective in how they spend their money and that of their parents.

I am certain that the girls will take tips from this lesson with them as they navigate their financial lives. FANTASTIC WORKSHOP CANDY!!!! THANK YOU!

December 17, 2016 - Civic Engagement

The Free2Rise girls "gave back" and paid forward" by delivering items to Sarah's House, a facility that provides transitional housing and services to the homeless!!!! Special thanks to one of our parents Mrs. LiQuanna Chapman for volunteering, Program Director Kisha Webster, for making it happen, and Sorors Charice WilliamsDenise K Roper, Helen Canada's-Saulny, Kim Alfonso, Soror Adrienne Higgins and the Butterfly Organization of professional women for their contributions to this great effort! Thanks to the Free2Rise Girls for being inspired to give back to the community! We are extremely proud of you!!!👍🏽

After dropping off items to Sarah's House the Free2Rise girls traveled to Baltimore, MD to a place called "Open Works" (incubator workspace for artists and craftsman) to spend time with elementary school kids. They provided gifts, helped the kids make personalized ornaments and decorate cookies, and they served food to the children and adults in the community that were present. The philanthropic seed planted continues to grow!

While at Open Works the teens were able to tour the facility with a special presentation on 3D printing technology. And they participated in a session with "Future Makers" in which they made miniature robots using everyday materials.

Most importantly, the Free2Rise teens were able to give back by engaging in fellowship and service with diverse adults and children in the community. Free2Rise provides civic engagement to multiple communities, not just the community that we live in.

We are thrilled to see the willingness of our teens to give back and the joy that they received by helping others. 


November 20, 2016 - Crossing Lines that Border your Comfort Zone


Ms. Alexandra J Tucker conducted a life skills workshop for Free2Rise teen girls in November called "Don't Cross That Line! An experiential workshop on crossing over the lines that border our comfort zone.” Ms. Tucker asked everyone to identify and share 2 things that made them comfortable and 2 things that took them outside of their comfort zone. She also shared some of her previous experiences, and opened up discussion about what it meant to venture outside of your comfort zone. The group engaged in lively discussion about venturing outside of the comfort zone and participated in a Dyad experiment”. Dyadic communication occurs when two people are conversing directly to one another.

This was a fantastic exercise that helped the girls to understand that they must move forward despite what others think about their vision. They learned that fear must not prevent them from moving beyond their comfort zones, and they must not permit others who do not support their vision to stop their growth and development.

The workshop allowed everyone to gain an understanding and experience what it might feel like to step outside of their comfort zone. They were able to display courage, communication, body language, active listening, critical thinking, honesty, and eye contact during this awesome workshop!

Ms. Tucker left everyone with the knowledge to recognize and deal with uncomfortable feelings that sometimes get in the way of growth and development. The information that she provided will help the girls to move outside of their comfort zone and courageously conquer uncomfortable feelings in order to excel and fulfill their desires.

October 28, 2016 - Maya Angelou: "Still I Rise" Documentary

Free2Rise Girls attended a screening of the Bentonville Film Festival 2016 documentary, “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,” as part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities at the National Endowment for the Humanities - Constitution Center in Washington, DC on October 28th, 2016. The authorized and definitive feature-length documentary chronicles the challenges and triumphs of national treasure and history maker, Maya Angelou.


October 16, 2016 - Kung Fu Self-Defense

Teens from Free2Rise Educational Foundation attended a great life skills workshop on Self-Defense at the Dennis Brown Shaolin Wu-Shu Training Center October 16, 2016. Master Marcia Chisolm and Shi-Fu Eesha Bandivadekar, certified Black Belts, introduced the teens to various self-defense techniques that can be recalled if they ever need to protect themselves. The girls had a great time learning invaluable life skills and life lessons taught by Master Marcia and Shi-Fu Eesha. It was an awesome and fun experience for the girls! Thank you, Master Marcia and Shi-Fu Eesha for sharing your time, knowledge, and skills, to support teens. We appreciate you!

The Dennis Brown Shaolin Wu-Shu Training Center has truly inspired the Free2Rise teen girls to become “Forever, Responsible, Educated, and Empowered” to Rise! Free2Rise is forever grateful to Grand Master Dennis Brown, Mrs. Andrena Brown, and the Dennis Brown Shaolin Wu-Shu Training Center for their level of commitment to give back to the community. 

July 16, 2016 - Bring it Live!

Over the summer Free2Rise girls went to see the "Bring It Live Dance Troupe" which  "provided enrichment for the mind, body, and soul".


April 3, 2016 - Beautiful Belles


The Free2Rise Girls were blessed to have Danielle Young, Clinical Professional/Investigator, Prince George’s County Circuit Court – Family Division, Writer, and Owner of d.Belles Tapestre (“…Fusions & Textures of Life…a collection of beautiful things…”) present a Life Skills Workshop called “Beautiful Belles”. The workshop was broken down into two sections: "Beauty Beyond Gems", and "What is beauty to you?" The question of what beauty met to the girls was interactive with the girls creating vision boards. 


The “Beauty Beyond Gems” workshop was created to empower and encourage the girls to work from the inside out. Ms. Young believes that what you have to say, offer, and the valuable information you have to share with others is as important as outward appearance. And it is the knowledge you have to share with others that will allow you to truly leave your mark and make an impression!


Danielle told the girls that they were all “Beautiful Belles” and asked them to share what they thought being a “Belle” met. The girls had heard of southern belle, and some said “a lady”, amongst other things. Danielle shared that indeed a “Belle” met beautiful lady. However, the beauty means more than outward appearance. One must be beautiful on the inside as well. 


The “Beauty Beyond Gems” Workshop began with Danielle addressing the person within by presenting 5 gems in a jewelry bag to each girl and sharing a story about what each gem represented and why. Danielle explained the value of each jewel and what each represented. The Ruby represents beauty and self-value; Silver represents valuing others; Gold represents knowledge and wisdom; The Yellow luster jewel with the Honeycomb color within the jewel represented sweetness and to speak only sweet words to others; and the Diamond represents the work hard it takes to hone your skills and prepare yourself to shine and share your talents, while always being aware not to give them away, or allow anyone to take them from you. It was a very powerful message that resonated with the girls. This information was valuable and I trust that the girls will carry this knowledge with them for a lifetime.


For the 2nd part of the “Beauty Beyond Gems” Workshop Danielle shared that “Outward beauty, make-up, grooming and overall appearance/presentation can make a statement when you enter a room. BEFORE you even speak.”  Because of the age of the girls only lip gloss was used along with make-up wipes to demonstrate how to apply and remove. Danielle showed the girls how to properly apply their lip gloss and why and how to use make-up wipes. Danielle explained the importance of proper application and shared the importance of first appearances.


As an added bonus Danielle provided beautiful small make-up sample pouches for the girls that included make-up wipes, appliques and lip gloss, footies, headbands, and a make-up mirror. The girls were allowed to take the jewels home to remember the stories of each jewel and what each represented to help them stay on point as they move through life.


The second part of the workshop was "What is beauty to you?" The question of what beauty met to the girls was interactive with the girls creating vision boards. Danielle displayed a vision board that she had created and explained to the girls the importance of creating a vision board. She shared that you can have an idea but until you put it on paper and begin to take steps to make it happen it is nothing more than an idea. The girls began creating vision boards to reflect their aspirations and aligned it with what beauty met to them.


Beautiful Belles was a fabulous workshop that provided beauty tips from the inside out and will help our girls to not only work on outward appearances but to also deal with the beauty within. We thank Ms. Danielle Young for taking the time to share her knowledge with us and for the extra mile she went to share "goodie" bags and jewels that will allow the girls to remember the importance of being a “Beautiful Belle” inside and out.


March 20, 2016 - Fitness and Nutrition 


Free2Rise Girls experienced an exciting, informative, and fun-filled Fitness and Nutrition life skills workshop today presented by Ms. Rhonda M. Dews, Certified Fitness Instructor, Life Coach, and President of the Fitness Ministry, First Baptist Church of Glenarden. She began by emphasizing that life is about choices, giving the girls the option of deciding which to do first, exercising or discussing nutrition. Per their choice, Ms. Dews took the girls through interactive circuit training exercises and demonstrated proper form, while stressing the importance of exercising.


The girls began with a warm up and then jumped rope, used a weighted hula hoop, did pulses with pilates ring, moved back and forth doing drills with an agility ladder, did squats using a stability ball and very light weights, went side to side with band, and worked their legs and arms with gliding discs. Ms. Dews suggested that the girls should do some type of exercise at least 4-5 days a week to maintain fit and healthy bodies.


Immediately after their cool down, Ms. Dews and the girls discussed the importance of how eating nutritious meals, drinking water and exercising help to reduce many illnesses, including the number killer heart disease. She provided the girls with handouts, including the "Choose My Plate" diagram which identifies the types of foods and proportions the body requires. Ms. Dews brought several types of foods and discussed both the good and bad ingredients and how they affect our bodies. She suggested using seasonings to spice up foods, and eating natural or frozen vegetables as opposed to canned or processed foods.Ms. Dews asked the girls to share their “take away” for the day. Their responses included: 1) white sugar and large amounts of sodium are bad for you; 2) read the ingredients and labels on food purchases, and be sure to get food that have simple ingredients…if there is an ingredient that you don’t understand or recognize, it probably isn’t good for you; 3) use seasonings to spice up foods; and 4) how it’s better to start at their age.


This Fitness and Nutrition Life Skills Workshop was extremely informative and so much fun for the girls. Thank you Ms. Dews for planting the seed that will allow our youth to forever think and become conscious of what they eat, the importance of eating healthy foods and exercising their bodies on a regular basis. They now know that fitness and nutrition are very important and are a matter of life and death. We loved, loved, loved, this workshop session!Please see the Free2Rise Fitness & Nutrition Life Skills Workshop Photo Album for more photos. 



February 21, 2016 - Self-Esteem, Past, Present, & Future


Ms. Rona D. Lewis, a brilliant young lady who has risen above all odds to obtain a BA, MS, Post Masters, and MSDE Certifications conducted a workshop on Self-Esteem (Past, Present, and Future). Ms. Lewis was very up-front and personal in sharing her past and present experiences to aid the girls in assessing their ability to make healthy life choices. The goal was to provide the girls with opportunities to enhance their self-esteem and provide a basis for healthy group interaction. The girls learned the meaning of self-esteem and gained an understanding that it is not only about “who I am” but also “how I feel about who I am”. Ms. Lewis shared the components of self-esteem such as competence, belonging, sense of worth, and factors that affect one’s self esteem such as home and family relationships, and relationships with classmates, teachers, counselors, as well as social and societal relationships.


The girls discussed words that harm self-esteem e.g. fat, ugly, dumb, stupid, slow, and other harmful words and Ms. Lewis took them through steps to help them feel better about themselves and to not let the negative words of others paint negative pictures of them. They learned how to accept compliments, to be confident, and to affirm themselves. The girls wrote positive notes to others in the room and took a self-esteem inventory. When asked what they learned some of the answers were that they learned to care about themselves, to love themselves, to not believe the negative things that people might say about them, and to be comfortable with their very being. And they learned to affirm themselves in a positive manner each and every day


Thank you Soror Rona D. Lewis for giving of your time and sharing your experiences to help uplift girls and enable to them become confident about who they are, to value their self-worth, and to become comfortable in their own skin. We are certain that the girls will carry the knowledge and confidence they learned today throughout their lives. We appreciate you for planting the seeds to build self-esteem, confidence, and self-love!!!


March 15, 2015 - Why Manners Matter


Mrs. Angela Jiggetts-Bazzi ever dedicated to uplifting our youth came back to continue the Bullying discussion as it is a "hot button" issue that our youth are facing. Mrs. Jiggetts-Bazzi took the opportunity to incorporate the actions associated with "Bullying" to why "Manners Matter" into the workshop. The girls found that people who bully and don't have manners have no respect for themselves or others. They were able to grasp that when you respect yourself and others bullying is beneath you, and manners matter when you have self-respect and respect for others. They also learned how to identify themselves on the phone, how to address and respond to people, and even how important it is to send a personal note card of appreciation. It was an awesome experience for the girls as Mrs. Jiggetts-Bazzi met the girls where they were in this current environment. The thought provoking conversations allowed them  to express all that they had internalized and experienced. We are eternally grateful to Ms. Angela for helping the Free2Rise Girls aspire to become better individuals. And we believe that the impact of the Bullying and Manners Matter workshops will be reflected as powerful lessons in all of the girls' future interactions with people. We truly appreciate you Mrs. Angela Jiggetts-Bazzi. Thank You for all you do in the interest of Free2Rise.


February 15, 2015 - Taking Actions to Disappear Bullying


Mrs. Angela Jiggetts-Bazzi, a 3rd time Professional Free2Rise Educational Foundation Presenter, conducted a life skills workshop called "I Am Good Enough."  Taking Actions To Disappear Bullying. Mrs. Jiggetts-Bazzi engaged the girls in an interactive session which stretched their thought process and enabled them to share their actions or lack thereof with respect to bullying.  During the session the girls were asked to think about examples of bullying, why people bully, reasons that they might have bullied, why they were silent when they saw it happening, and how they should react when being bullied.  Mrs. Jiggetts-Bazzi was “up close and personal” with the girls which made them feel comfortable about sharing their bullying experiences. The girls valued the intimacy of the conversation. Learning that they have the power to address bullying was huge! The life skills shared on bullying will cause the girls to think and react differently to bullying.  This workshop session provided critical and valuable lessons that the girls can use throughout their lives. Thank you Soror Angela for your commitment to Free2Rise and your continuous support to inspire girls to rise to their highest potential.


January 25, 2015 - Importance of Respect


Ms. Ashlei Brathwaite, a 2nd time Professional Free2Rise Educational Foundation Presenter, conducted a life skills workshop for the Free2Rise Girls on the importance of “Respect”. Various discussions and activities took place to address self-respect and respect for peers, and adults. Ms. Brathwaite engaged the girls in discussion and activities to address real-life home and school scenarios of respectful versus disrespectful behavior. The exercises gave the girls the opportunity to think about their behavior when interacting with others. The workshop helped them to recognize what respect should look and feel like. The critical life skills introduced the links of our capacity to respect others to our respect of self. The girls became aware and were able to understand and grasp the tools necessary to engage others in healthier, more respectful relationships. Thank you Ms. Ashlei Brathwaite for your dedication to uplift our children and for being so generous with sharing your time to elevate the Free2Rise girls. We appreciate you!


November 16, 2014 - Unique Careers


The Honorable Sharon V. Burrell, Judge of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, presented a Life Skills Workshop for Free2Rise girls on November 16, 2014. Judge Burrell shared details about her judicial career, the requirements to get into Law School, and how a Law Degree can be used in various legal and non-litigator fields. Judge Burrell also addressed juvenile law, juvenile court jurisdictions and the juvenile court process, as well as different types of juvenile cases, and what happens in the legal process with assault. Each girl shared how she handles situations when confronted with aggression. The girls learned a lot about law careers and the legal impact that they would face for assault as well as their legal options if assaulted, stalked or harassed. They were told to look at the big picture prior to reacting and informed of options available to them. Overall, the girls left armed with knowledge and very important information about the law and careers in law. 



September 21, 2014 - Forgiveness


Free2Rise Girls had a fantastic Life Skills Workshop presented by Ms. Gail Bowles, entitled Forgiveness – Are you Looking Back? It was an eye-opener for the girls. Ms. Bowles explained the heaviness of carrying a grudge and being unforgiving, and how it can drag you down and prevent you from moving forward with a positive mind successfully. The girls were able to experience how light the burden became when they got rid of the heavy stones and became forgiving. The girls found the workshop to be "excellent", and learned that when they forgive they can move forward.





Free2Rise Educational Foundation brings in professionals to conduct Life Skills Workshops and provide tools for the girls to practice productive methods to navigate positive lives.



September 21, 2013 - Free2Rise Educational Foundation & I Am My Sister provided a phenomenal 4-part Life Skills Workshop & cultural experience for the foster girls associated with The Martin Pollak Project in Baltimore, Maryland. The workshops were presented by Soror Angela Jiggetts-Bazzi, Ms. Ashlei Brathwaite, Ms. Rena Boone and Ms. Ayanna Gregory.


Soror Angela Jiggetts-Bazzi presented Manners Matter and took the girls through the process of first shaking hands and introducing themselves. They identified what they recalled from the experience e.g. eye contact, hugs, smiles, and how it made them feel. The discussion of manners focused on what matters to them and Soror Angela took them through an exercise to identify old school versus new school manners. The end result was for the girls to identify what manners are timeless and to exercise them in daily life.


Ashlei Brathwaites presentation focused on Body Image. The girls were asked what they thought the phrase "Don't advertise what you are not selling" met to them. Ashlei discussed the journey from negative to positive and tied our actions & dress into how we feel about ourselves. If we don't love ourselves we cannot expect anyone else to love us. If we present a negative, unhealthy, body, mind, spirit, and image, we will receive unwanted response. The impression that is given is what is received. If you don't love yourself you cannot expect anyone else to love you. It was a very active discussion and an eye opener for the girls. They did not realize that what they were reflecting was exactly what they were receiving.


Rena Boone demonstrated how the girls could get some Peace of Mind. Her topic was Meditation: A Tool for Success in Life. The girls expressed the need to have personal me time, to overcome obstacles, to alleviate stress. Rena presented some of the benefits of adding meditation to our daily routine such as receiving the experience of inner peace, releasing stress, developing our full potential, improving relationships, enjoying greater happiness, developing self-confidence, and improving our health and well-being. She then took us through a group meditation experience which was awesome for the girls. They now have a method to go within to seek inner peace and experience all of the benefits of meditation.


Ayanna Gregory brought the cultural experience, which is one of our programs, through powerful spoken word stories and transformative song. She spoke and sang about the power of women. She spoke of Mother Earth and the feminine energy, our greatness, dismissing the negatives that people have taught us that we are, not "dumbing" down to fit in, taking control of the power that we are. Ayanna engaged us all in affirmations & song of UNITY, Now, and Star People.


Two words that came to mind from today's Life Skills Workshops for Foster Girls were "Awe Inspiring!"


October 19, 2013 - Ms. Erika Mercer-Epps, Event Planner and Youth Coach, brought her Life Skills Workshop entitled Keep It Simple Sweetie (K.I.S.S.) Success Strategies to foster girls associated with the Martin Pollak Project. She shared life experiences and discussed life’s lessons that the girls could reflect on and incorporate into their daily activities and relationships. She engaged the girls with a personal conversation approach, and took them through simple strategies to achieve personal success through self-reflection, setting goals, setting intentions, and recharging their spirit & minds.


Ms. Nicole Styles - Outreach and Education Manager for Metro TeenAIDS presented a Life Skills Workshop to the foster Girls at Martin Pollak in Baltimore called “Let’s Talk About Sex” which covered HIV/Aids and various STDs.  Ms. Styles was very up front about various sexual acts and the consequences of risky behavior. She described the facts and myths about HIV and Aids, and provided some eye opening information about a number of STDs and their effects.


These workshops were very interactive and provided a wealth of information that will allow the girls to make safe and healthy decisions about relationships and activities that they engage in moving forward.


December 21, 2013 - Free2Rise Ed Foundation wrapped up its 2013 Life Skills Workshops Program for Foster Girls at the Martin Pollak Center on December 21, 2013, with presenters Felicia Brown, La’Chaun Vire, and Pamela Williams. Felicia and La’Chaun presented a fantastic interactive workshop called “The 3Ss, Self-Awareness, Self-Esteem, and Self-Confidence, Building a Healthy You”.  The girls were taken through several self-esteem, awareness and confidence exercises. They also discussed how to communicate confidently through tone of voice, volume, words, body language, and on social media. The message to the girls was “"We Challenge You to Be the Best You"”. 


Pamela Williams, Make-Up Artist, focused on confidence building by demonstrating how to properly apply make-up and maintain a natural look for the teenage group. She discussed hygiene, cleansing the face and make-up brushes, and discarding old make-up. The make-up session focused on the belief that looking good reinforces ones confidence.


The girls felt good about themselves internally and externally. Their self-esteem was boosted, their self-confidence was apparent, and they knew that their self-worth was valuable. We did indeed challenge the girls to be the best that they could be inside and out. 


Thank You to all of our presenters. You have been phenomenal! You should all feel good that you have changed lives. Trust that your words and the time you took to help children who might have otherwise not received the guidance that you shared has been registered with God, and as such the power of the universe has recorded these seeds that you have sown. I trust that you will reap a multitude of blessings and goodwill. Thank you so much for helping Free2Rise with our mission of enriching the lives of young girls. May your lives be forever blessed!





July 19, 2013 - Ms. Erika Mercer-Epps, Event Planner and Youth Coach, conducted a Life Skills Workshop entitled "KISS" Keep It Simple Sweetie. She took the girls through simple strategies to achieve personal success as they transition into the next phase of their lives. Key areas highlighted that will make them personally successful were self-reflection, setting goals, vision, and recharging themselves. She connected with the middle school girls instantly, shared life experiences, and discussed lessons about relationships that will surely be with the girls for their lifetime.


July 23, 2013 - Ms. Mia Alexander-Davis, Concierge Entrepreneur and Media Personality,  conducted a workshop about images in advertising, print media, broadcast media, digital media, and social media (impact of what we post and our responses to email and text), through discussion and role playing. The information shared made the girls aware of the images and ideas presented to them, as well as those that they present to others. 


July 24, 2013 - Ms. Blake Crosby, Motivational Speaker and Poet, discussed a wide range of topics with the girls covering how to "put your best you forward", setting yourself up in a place where you can prosper, creating a daily ritual to care for  & love yourself, setting examples for others, life's choices, finding your purpose, good grades to get free money for education, decision making, opening doors for yourself, using social media as tools to advance yourself, health and eating healthy, global & domestic issues, relationships and, protection of heart and body,.


July 29, 2013 - Ms. JaNece Bradford, freelance makeup artist and Owner of JmB Artistry, conducted a Self-Esteem Life Skills workshop that took the girls through a few thought provoking exercises that helped them to formulate how they view their inner and outer selves now and how they would like to see themselves in the future. This workshop challenged the girls to go deep within to gain a better understanding of who they are now, and to think about the steps that they need to take to obtain the growth required to increase their self-esteem.


August 1, 2013 - Dr. Roselyn Acker-Black, Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health Expert Consultant, Speaker, and Advice Columnist, and Co-Owner of, presented a Self Esteem Life Skills Workshop called "Who Are You? Understanding Your Self-Esteem". Dr. Roz and the girls evaluated Self-Esteem, explored Self Concept and discussed the difference. The girls performed a "Who are you Activity" in which they described what makes them special, why they are unique, what they are great at, and why they are great at it. Dr. Roz & the girls examined 5 feelings that nurture self-esteem - A sense of security; a sense of self-hood; a sense of affiliation; a sense of mission; and a sense of competence. They also addressed common low self-esteem signs. They examined the question "Who Are You?". They were left with a quote by Harvey Fienstein "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." 


August 6, 2013 - Dr. Mamie Parker, Owner of Ma Parker and Associates, and Scientist, conducted a workshop discussing optional, “out of the box’ careers with the girls. Dr. Parker left some quotes and advice for the girls to carry with them through life:


  1. Ask yourself “What good have I done this day” – Ben Franklin.

  2. “Learn what you are & what motivates you.” “It is not what I believe it is what I do.” – Jackie Robinson

  3. She explained that Teamwork is working together, and to be respectful, and kind. “There is no ‘I’ in team "- Dr. Will Schultz." Team members don’t lie. They don’t lie to themselves about who they are & what they did, they don’t blame. They don’t withhold valuable information (withholding keeps the team from moving ahead)."

  4. Dr. Parker emphasized that criticizing, complaining, comparing, and competing is not teamwork. “Listening is important, repeat it and then speak it.” She said that “Silence is also important.”

  5. “Be careful about comparing yourself to others,” and “We must be careful of putting ourselves above someone or below someone”.

  6. “Be careful of Complaining because 85% of the people you complain to don’t care because they have their own issues. The other 15% don’t care & glad it is not them.”

  7. “Keep rowing even when you are tired keep rowing…keep moving, gently. Keep moving.” - Dr. Dire.

  8. “Forgiveness is important. Keep going & growing.”


August 8, 2013 - Dr. Roselyn V. Aker-Black, Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health Expert Consultant, Speaker, Advice Columnist, and Co-Owner of, conducted a 2nd workshop called “Confidence – What Defines You?” Dr. Roz asked the girls to define the one thing that they dislike about themselves, why they dislike it, and how they can change it. What they do well, why they do it well, and who taught them to do it. They discussed knowing their strengths and weaknesses; and how to apply their skills to any situation. They discussed the low, optimal, and over self-confidence. The girls performed an activity and learned how not to take things at face value and to listen to the messages that are being told in the media in the forms of entertainment. They also discussed how to increase self-confidence, self-beliefs, self-image, self-esteem, and self-talk Dr. Roz informed them that “Whatever messages you say to yourself matter the most!!!!” Dr. Roz ended the presentation with “What defines you”. She shared that “You are your own brand! Whoever you introduce to the world is what people know about you! Your character is how you will be defined while on this earth and how you will be remembered when you leave this earth. Think enough of yourself to give the world your best.” 


August 8, 2013 - Mr. Tony Drayton, Owner of Skyline Music Services, DJ and Voice-over Artist, conducted a workshop on ‘The History of Black Music” during the Culture & Community Segment of the Free2Rise Educational Foundation & I Am My Sister Summer Series. They discussed the roots of Black Music and he highlighted talented artists from the Jubilee Singers to present day artists & musicians. The girls read the lyrics of Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “Keep Your Head to the Sky”, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)” as they listened to the songs. They listened to various genres of Black Music such as Blues, ragtime, jazz, bebop, hip hop, rock &roll, doo wop, soul, R&B, rap, psychedelic rock, funk, disco, and early hip hop. The girls were thrilled because they were not aware of this history. The girls were provided with a list of Black Artists to research, recommended movies with great musical soundtracks, music artists, and a list of Black Inventors (within the list it was pointed out that Black men invented the guitar, and the arm for the recording player). The girls learned how to research artists by going to Wikipedia or You Tube, and demonstrated by researching a bio of Curtis Mayfield. The girls saw a live performance of the Supremes on a 1960s TV show on the internet. The workshop was wrapped up with the girls having their own live Supreme performance. The purpose of the workshop was to instill a positive sense of self by pointing out the accomplishments of our musical ancestors, as well as inventors, to analyze the positive messages in our music, to encourage research of Black History, and to make the girls aware of the power of words.


August 12, 2013 - Ms. Stephanie R. Allen, IT Infrastructure Project Manager for the Federal Government, presented a workshop entitled “Social Media Progress Report: What is your Score? The girls shared the types of media they used, and their opinion of various types of social media. They rated their level of responsibility (from 1-5 with 5 being responsible) when on social media sites. None of the girls claimed to be 100% responsible therefore this was an appropriate workshop to share much needed information. They went through several exercises of reviewing social media and their descriptions, discussing social media appeal, examining precautions to take when using social media, appropriate and inappropriate usage, and things to consider when using social media. Some of the precautions shared were: Once posted, never remove – remains on server; Colleges/University/Employers may view; May misrepresent who you are or blemish your character; May be viewed by those in the general public but also by predators; May embarrass your family and friends; Some Employers/Universities/Colleges may view social media sites to see how professionally you present yourself, or to learn about you as a job seeker or student. Provocative or inappropriate photos and content may cause employers or universities not to hire or accept you if your profile displays poor communications skills, or if you made a discriminatory comment related to race, gender or religion. It was a very informative discussion and critical information was shared. 


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