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Archive for March 2010

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as i sign off at TEDxTeen i feel a quiet state of pride.   


 i tried my first hand at blogging live!  

i was juggling big time to keep up with 3 sessions and 17 speakers. 

staying in a creative zone to write for four hours isn’t easy. but i was so energized by the speakers, the words just flowed.  so if you liked what you read, hit me up.   let me know what you thought of my first try…

spread the word to your crew about the blogs and look out for a TEDxTeen event near you.

Sejal Hathi is the CEO of a non profit Girls Helping Girls

her goal is similar to the mission of my work at Janisaw Company, to help inspire girls and young women.  

her organization helps girls and young women address global issues. programs include 1)The Transform-Your-World program which partners girls with a Peace Ambassador to mentor and train them to launch and sustain their own organization, business, or other social change project.  2) The Raise-It-Up! program is a micro lending initiative that empowers girls to raise funds to loan to women in developing countries. 3) The Fund-for-Respect is a specialized program that informs girls about the issue of sexual exploitation and provides them with the tools to developing a holistic education program for the daughters of sex trafficking and commercial sex victims.  4). The Empower-a-Girl program equips girls to communicate in teams with one another about issues affecting specifically girls and then to collaboratively organize social change projects challenging those issues.

Girls Helping Girls is a fantastic organization but what’s even more amazing is the fact that Sejal is only 18!  she didn’t allow her youth to stop her from standing up for change. 

let her be a role model for those who want to make a difference but feel like there’s not enough time, they don’t know enough, money is tight, or the endless excuses that come up.  she didn’t allow the challenge of age to stop her from doing something and neither should u. 

make a change!

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there’s an energy that’s buzzing about at TEDxTeen!   we’ve heard from youth that are doing amazing things around the world, including a young man Kimmie Weeks who fled for his life during the civil war in Liberia (where my family is from).   i’m most struck by the current speaker Jennifer Corriero co-founder and executive director of TakingITGlobal.  “i started life with a smile…” she shouts with passion.  

she then begs us to question if we’re still smiling. 

are the hopes we had as a child still an active part of our lives?

are our passions guiding us towards the futures we want to create?

her answer was to provide a platform for those people who want to keep their dreams alive


that’s what TakingITGlobal is all about…

last year i remember sitting outside enjoying the tribeca film festival. so moved by a documentary about a young girl and her struggles to make it as a hip hop artist.  “P-STAR rising” brought me to tears.  to see how strong and courageous this young girl was. fighting to make a name for herself.  

priscilla star diaz, comes from a poor community in harlem. she spent time in a foster home due to her mother struggling with drug addiction.  the documentary follows her journey to move in with her father and showcases her drive to succeed above her surroundings.

today P- STAR speaks for the first time at TEDxTeen about her struggles with literacy.     i had a chance to talk with her after her moving presentation.

P-STAR didn’t know how to read well and wouldn’t tell anyone.  she also didn’t think it would matter.   but one day she got an opportunity of a lifetime to audition for ‘the electric company’ show on PBS kids.  she got the part but then what? 

as an actress on the show she would have to read scripts.   it became clear that she couldn’t hide anymore.   P-STAR says this was the most challenging job because she didn’t want people to know, she tried to hide it because she was so ashamed.  she got over her fear and learned how read and is making it her passion to make others aware of the importance of literacy. 

“I’m a teacher now…this is the first time i’ve spoken about it to a group of teens and i want to do more ” she says.   P-STAR believes that talking to people like her will increase awareness about the importance of literacy.  as a hip hop artist, she also plans to encourage youth to focus on literacy in music. she’s been writing music for years and wants to promote “making music the way it used to be.”

once again, i’m moved by P-STAR and her dedication to make a difference…

to learn more about P-STAR and electric company check out:

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  • Comments Off on Hot Off The Press: IMPACT at TEDxTeen

 “we are the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today…” rings the chorus from the hip hop performance of IMPACT. They are a Harlem based dance and performance troupe that inspires audiences to use their talents to better our world.  Oscar nominated for best song  ‘Raise it Up’   (film August Rush).   

now that’s hip hop empowerment at its finest…

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