( ENSPIRE Community ) G.I.R.L.S Can Youth Enrichment Summit Emplores Positive Imaging For Our Youth
Photo Credit: Tavia Mapp -Deterville
The 2nd Annual G.I.R.L.S Can Youth Enrichment Summit took place this past weekend. Created by Entertainment & Lifestyle publicist Jovana J. Gilkes, hosted her youth initiative event for G.I.R.L.S Can, Incorporated impacting 60 girls from the Bronx and Brooklyn community. Gilkes partnered with The Brooklyn Green School and sponsored by Jacqueline Gathers franchise owner of Pillar to Post, created a day of empowering and inspiring at-risk girls ages 11-17 to be Graceful, Independent, Respectful, Loving and Successful (G.I.R.L.S) leaders. This was done through panel discussions, workshops, topics Knowing Myself: Knowing My Worth, It Takes a Village: The Importance of Role Models, Shades of Beauty: Body & Imaging and Vision Board Building: How Do I See Myself, focusing on the thoughts we keep becoming our reality. They were also able to see themselves in featured #GirlPreneurs 11-year-old Nevaeh Flower, founder of Nolana Gardens and 7-year-old Parker M. James CEO of Parker Schools You, Inc.
Girls gathered to hear words of affirmation and tools needed to carry forth to be true to themselves from panelists Ambrosia Johnson founder of Ivy Hill Prep, Autumn Myers founder of Queens Sessions, Chanel Adams founder of The Slim Heart Campaign, Dina Brown founder of Women Empower NYC, mental health advocate D’Shonda Brown, Frances L. Mosely founder of Girls Embracing Manifestation, Shakema Cyrus founder of The Gem Experience and Totality of a Woman founder Stephanie Carnegie.
G.I.R.L.S Can Inc is a vision I came up with 3 years ago but wasn’t sure the direction I wanted to take it. I just knew it was time to change the narrative with our young girls, that it is ok for them to be different, that’s what makes them unique, to show them the importance of speaking positivity over their lives at any age and being leaders in spite of what society tells them they need to be. As a mother of two daughters the images that are being forced on them in this generation is not what I want them to think is all they can be, they can be more than objects. What I had to look up to when I was growing up is very different from now; they can be CEO’s, Entrepreneurs, Doctors, Lawyers whatever they set their mind to.” -Jovana Gilkes
Positive imaging is slowing making its way back after years of the media saturating it with promiscuity and violence from music and reality television with those who our children look up to forgetting that whether or not they want the responsibility of role model they are still seen as one and if you have the platform why not use to promote change.
G.I.R.L.S Can offers educational services and programming for girls in the Brooklyn community, Jovana who was once an at-risk girls reflects on how having role models played a major role in her getting on the right path, “I could have easily gone the wrong way had it not for those who took the time to show me my potential and provide the nurturing that I was not getting at home, it is something that somehow has gotten lost with this generation, it is my hope that I impact them enough from sharing my experiences that will be able to see they too can rise above adversities.”
Aside from the yearly youth enrichment summit, there is ‘A Conversation with My Big Sister’ which is a more intimate event that allows for a more personal conversation on socioeconomic topics that happens monthly. “I just want to do the work and be the type of influence for our young girls that I needed at their age, if I can impact 1,5 or 10 then I have done my part!”
You can follow G.I.R.L.S Can, Inc @girlscaninc to stay updated for events & news. The 2nd Annual G.I.R.L.S Can Youth Enrichment Summit was Powered by; Arizona Drinks, Brooklyn Nets (Spencer Dinwidde), Curlanistas, Curlee Girlee, Miss Jessie’s, RAEL, Shining Star Kids Salon, Simon & Schuster, and Stop & Shop.