All Articles Tagged "giving back"
Inspired by a recent trip to India, designer Rachel Roy recently celebrated her 39th birthday with a mission of giving, instead of receiving gifts. Roy has partnered with the charity: water campaign to raise $20,000 to give 1,000 people clean water in India. “Water changes everything. Diseases from unsafe water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war,” explains Roy.
On What She Observed During Her Trip To India
This is my fourth year working with charity:water actually! I heard about them around the time of my 35th birthday and what I love most about charity:water is how simple they make the act of charitable giving. There are no rules or expectations, and you can donate as much as you feel comfortable giving.
During this time however, and through seeing how the dollars have been spent, I’m reminded just how essential clean water is in setting up a foundation for everything else in life. In a developing community, clean water is the most important commodity, and it’s such an easy gift for us to give.
On What We All Can Do To Give Back
I think it’s always best to start on a local level. You’ll know what needs attention and how to make the biggest change in your own community. A fantastic resource and a great place to start is Volunteers of America. It’s a nationwide database of all sorts of organizations that could use an extra pair of hands. It’s as simple as putting in your zip code to see what non-profits are active in your area.
Check out what else Rachel has to say on giving back as well as her goals for 2013 over on Essence.
Do you have time to volunteer?
It’s not often that you see someone, especially a celebrity, taking time to give back to a city they’re not even from. But then again, not every celebrity is a member of the legendary Roots crew.
Black Thought, emcee of The Roots and co-founder of GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF), joined forces with OkayPlayer and allhiphop.com to raise money for young ladies in Newark, New Jersey. On Saturday night, they held Power Forward, a fundraiser and concert, at Newark Museum. The event, which was attended by various policymakers, business owners and residents of Newark, was hosted by entertainment personality Amanda Seales and there were performances by Malene Younglao, Maya Azucena and Nneka Best. Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia (Thought’s hometown) and The Roots were also confirmed to attend.
Thought, whose real name is Tariq Trotter, explained his reasons for focusing his attention on New Jersey:
“I now live in Jersey, and I am relying local hip-hop artists, community members, leaders, and friends in New Jersey to come together and show that they care about what happens to our women and girls.”
He and fellow co-founder Janice Johnson Dias adopted Georgia King Village in Newark last year as a community of strategic priority and together, they’ve been working hard on educational resources and healthy living choices for the residents. The goal is that GCF will motivate the people of Newark to get fit, especially the children.
While keeping a relatively low profile, GCF is an organization that is geared to helping to preserve the well-being of disadvantaged neighborhoods. They purposely seek out community based organizations that serve women and girls because they believe those groups have “significant potential for creating sustainable change.” In short, women make the world go round!
It’s always good to see people working towards change and not looking to be photographed or necessarily talked about. These are exactly the things we need to talk about. Hopefully, we hear more about GCF and other organizations like it and maybe they will inspire residents of any city or town to do better.
I got my start through a mentor. I was studying journalism in college and when I took my first internship at a small community newspaper, I met my success mentor. Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams, the editor of The Voice, took me under her wing not only for the internship but throughout my career, hiring me after college to help develop her startup, a media company that included a newspaper, The New York Trend, and community TV show, Trend on TV. When I moved on, Dr. Williams was there. Today, she is still mentoring others.
“For almost 30 years I have provided an internship/mentoring program for aspiring journalists and communications students from colleges and universities throughout the New York tri-state area . I have offered these opportunities for deserving young people to provide them with immediate experience in the area of their choice and NOT requiring them to get coffee,” says Dr. Williams, CEO and Founder at TTW Associates Inc., in an interview. “I decided to be a mentor because I saw early on the benefits of my peers and the deficit I suffered by not having a mentor in my field. I saw that it provided many opportunities for networking and introductions to others in their chosen field.”
Dr. Williams has found her role as mentor continues over the years — even after those she’s mentored have earned their college degrees. “Mentoring is necessary because it provides a base for individuals to align themselves with,” she continues. “A mentor can provide that professional hug, word of encouragement and help them through,” she says. “I have watched young people rise in the journalism field. And hearing them tell me I gave them valuable training or I kept my word about the knowledge they would gain and that I provided…makes it will worthwhile.”
Veteran entertainment journalist Tonya Pendleton believes even if your mentee is still in grade school, having a mentoring relationship with her early on can help guide her through her career and her life. “I mentored because I don’t have kids and thought I could be helpful to someone who does and contribute to a child’s life. In fact, my mentee Natisha Romain contributed much more to mine. I absolutely recommend it formally or informally,” Pendleton, CEO of Amazon Ink, tells us. She helped through The Mentoring Partnership of New York.
Dr. Willise Riche discovered mentoring after she was approached by hospital staffers. The university students she worked with kept coming back. “Although I was mentoring, I really didn’t consider it officially until I realized that they were repeatedly returning for more advice and referring others,” Riche explains in an email.
Once she started mentoring, Riche realized how important a role she was playing in the lives of young people. “Having a mentor is necessary in any field. Mentorship is how trades have been passed down from the beginning of civilization. I think that mentorship is… a seamless merging of formal and traditional learning. One cannot learn experience from a book,” says Riche, who also produces a radio program targeted at women called “Maslow Woman.”
Some people are born with an optimistic attitude. Well, actually we all are; but some have learned the art of maintaining this happiness or optimism after departing the innocent stage of childhood. As growing women, many of us experience the same ups and downs of life. When it comes to the problems that many of us face, it’s pretty much the same script only a different cast. While some women’s problems are more severe than others, we all have our happiness tested. As failed relationships, disappointments, unachieved dreams, and a variety of other things creep into our lives, our happiness seems to creep out.
As cliché as it sounds, happiness is a state of mind. I’m sure when you’re feeling less than excited about circumstances in your life this is probably the last thing you want to hear. It’s almost worse than the generic consoling phrase, ‘it will get better.’
Still, we all know that eventually circumstances do get better, hearts are healed, and debt paid off; but it can become difficult to remain optimistic and exude happiness in the midst of these aggravating situations. While every day or every situation may not make you happy an overall happy existence is attainable, if you work at it.
So before you pour countless hours into unfulfilling jobs, subpar relationships, or other can-wait situations, try these 7 tips to find and maintain your happiness.
When most of us were seventeen, we were preoccupied with flirting with boys, going to our first little college parties and enjoying our first tastes of freedom. But that wasn’t the story for Yumnah Qadar.
While many of her peers were off enjoying the last bit of their teenaged years, Yumah was creating a business and a brand.
As a child Yumnah enjoyed painting but she hadn’t painted since her days as an elementary school student. It wasn’t until she was a junior in high school that her art teacher, Ms. Foster, motivated her to start painting again.
Impressed with her work, Ms. Foster encouraged Yumnah to create a portfolio and apply to the Pratt Institute’s design school. During this process Yumnah started looking for big and bold accessories. But she couldn’t find anything to match the vision in her head.
Inspired by nature and other famous painters, Yumnah began creating her own jewelry and eventually launched her own line, “Yumnah Najah.” That was just last year, when Yumnah was seventeen.
But “Yumnah Najah” is more than just a hobby for Yumnah. In addition to her coursework, Yumnah enrolled in jewelry making classes to ensure that she was using the best materials for her pieces.
Often times we hear about parents discouraging their children from pursuing creative occupations but Yumnah’s parents were nothing but supportive of her dream. As a business major, Yumnah’s parents were excited for her to apply what she was learning in school to a real life business.
“My dad worked as a carpenter his whole life but he’s always been passionate about entrepreneurship that would give back to community,” Yumah says.
Her father encouraged Yumah and her other six siblings to do something that would allow them to give back to their Harlem community.
It’s this community aspect of her business that has allowed her budding business to thrive. Yumnah has found some helpful resources within her own neighborhood.
“You don’t realize how many people, who are so close to you, have so many talents. A lot of the older women in my neighborhood and a lot of my dad’s friends who were accountants helped me. When you’re young, people are very supportive.”
Through the help of mentors, supportive parents and her own initiative “Yumnah Najah” has enjoyed significant success to be such a young brand.
Aside from this major nod, “Yumnah Najah” will be featured in several boutiques this upcoming holiday season.
Yumnah’s success hasn’t come from mere luck. This young woman is out here hustling. Not only does she paint everything by hand, herself, she’s steady on the grind attempting to bring more exposure and awareness to her wearable art.
“We all deserve success. You really have to believe that and not let anybody let you think otherwise. That’s a crazy thought to think that you’re not worthy of success. It’s a matter of pushing yourself forward to actually get there.”
Now that she’s achieved this level of success, Yumnah is attempting to teach other young adults to pursue careers in entrepreneurship. She volunteers with an Urban Roots program that seeks to foster inner city students’ desires for entrepreneurship.
“Growing up in Harlem is such a unique experience. There’s this really deep cultural side. Then you have the violence and the lack of proper education. It’s been a major driving force in my desire to have my own business and hopefully employ other people.”
With a strong belief in her own abilities and a willingness to help her community we expect nothing but great things from this young entrepreneur. We look forward to seeing what Yumnah will be able to create and who she’ll be able to inspire in her future endeavors.
You can check out Yumnah’s collection below and on her website at YumnahNajah.com.
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Life is for living, not just existing. As our days are filled with various, mundane obligations, it’s easy to forget to enjoy life. As crazy as it seems many of us don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to laugh as much as we should and partake in the simple things we enjoy doing; but when it’s all said and done, do you want to have gone through life coasting along fulfilling all major obligations, but forgetting to simply breathe and enjoy life?
From our jobs, that give us a headache at the mere thought of them, to our less than meaningful relationships, some of us have allowed mediocrity to be the overall theme of our lives. Sure you may have to take a pay cut to do what you really want; but at least you will be happier and more fulfilled. And so what if your relationships are filled with a variety of associates; but when it comes to healthy relationships, quantity always takes precedence over quality.
As you reflect over how you want to live your life, consider these things daily to ensure that you are living and not just existing. After all, none of us were put on earth simply to take up space.