It Takes a Village: On Supporting Non-Profits that Support Our Black Girls

b y Nancy Laws Non-profit organizations are what I like to call projects of passion, as they sometimes start with almost nothing, wi...

by Nancy Laws

Non-profit organizations are what I like to call projects of passion, as they sometimes start with almost nothing, with the goal of affecting change within their communities. There are many non-profit and community-based organizations out there, so it can challenging to find one whose mission you feel connected to. As a mom to three extraordinary brown girls, it is important that I support organizations that help build, encourage, and empower young black girls within our communities.

These organizations are important because they facilitate confidence, which is essential in any young woman’s life as it relates to their education, creativity, aspirations, social awareness, and self-esteem. Women are bombarded with messages from the media everyday, the focus of which is on their physical appearance and desirability. With our daughter’s so focused on the way they look—and society’s definition of beauty being solely on the physical (and not accepting of black beauty)—the power and importance of the mind gets lost. However, organizations like Her Mind Rocks and At The Well promote self-assuredness through education and empowerment, something that we need to zero in on more in our communities. And although there are many non-profits doing this necessary work, very few have a platform that propels their message across large audiences.

We must support these organizations, so they can continue to have a positive impact on our communities and beyond. And most importantly, so they can continue to inspire and empower our girls.

Black Girls Rock 

Many are familiar with the annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK! event that premieres on BET, which highlights “the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers.” But many are unaware that Black Girls Rock, Inc. is an incredible organization whose aim is to broaden the dialogue around how women of color are portrayed in the media—something more of us need to do! They have multiple youth enrichment programs focusing on mentorship, the arts, and community service. Through these programs, they help to build self-confidence and self-reliance in young women of color.

Mission Statement

Since 2006, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons, and helping them to empower themselves. Since 2006, we have enjoyed the opportunity to enrich the lives of girls aged 12 to 17 years old through mentorship, arts education, cultural exploration and public service. At BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, young women are offered access to enrichment programs and opportunities that place special emphasis on personal development through the arts and cooperative learning.

At The Well Conferences

I recently had a lovely conversation with At the Well’s founder, Jacqueline Glass, and her passion had me so excited, that I look forward to volunteering for this amazing conference this year.

Glass believes helping to boost confidence in young girls creates a domino effect, that in turn empowers girls to take on an active role in their classrooms, among their peers, and in their communities. Many brilliant students tend to take a back seat in the classroom because they lack confidence in their abilities.

The At The Well Leadership Academy teaches them to overcome the fears that limit them in order to access the confidence they need to create an impact that will reverberate through their communities and the world.

Mission Statement

At the Well Conferences, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 2009 to promote the emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual health and well-being of women. Christian perspective under girds the foundation of the conference and its speakers with the ultimate goal of trans formative behavior leading to better lifestyle choices.

At the Well Leadership Academy seeks to empower young women locally to become effective leaders globally. By promoting excellence in education, young talent will transform their communities. We encourage girls to live beyond their limitations, achieve beyond their dreams, and impact communities beyond their reach.

Black Girls Code

We love organizations that empower women in math, technology, and the sciences. Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant is helping to prepare young black women to be the next generation of coders by introducing them to programming and technology.

Kimberly is a great example of noticing a problem and making difference by creating a solution. While she pursuing her studies in electrical engineering, Kimberly noticed that few of her classmates looked like her, so she decided to take the initiative to introduce young black girls and women to the world of coding and computer programming. By doing so, she is empowering girls to explore and enter into the STEM fields, which are still incredibly dominated by men.

Mission Statement

Black Girls CODE is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and do so much more. By reaching out to the community through workshops and after school programs, Black Girls CODE introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails. Black Girls CODE has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow. By promoting classes and programs, we hope to grow the number of women of color working in technology and give underprivileged girls a chance to become the masters of their technological worlds.

Her Mind Rocks

Her Mind Rocks is a newer non-profit and my own passion project. The goal of our organization is to inspire young black women to create their own definition of what it means for them to be black women.

Her Mind Rocks offers after-school clubs and programs that allows participants to share, discuss, learn, and utilize the power of their community. As transparency is a priority within the organization, all community activities are posted on the website.

Mission Statement

Her Mind Rocks partners with schools in order to reach young black women within our communities. As non-profit mentoring and empowerment organization, Her Mind Rocks was established to empower young black women to create their own definition of what it means to be Young, Black, and Female.

The organization reaches out to girls where they spend most of their time and their minds are shaped—within the schools. Through enrichment programs, we want to reach and speak to our young girls about the issues that affect them most, in order to encourage confidence, aspirations, and for them to have a voice in their own communities, families, and personal lives.

These organizations are only as strong as the communities who support them. Like most non-profits, they can never have a too many volunteers. If you have a gift or talent that you think these amazing organizations could use, feel free to visit their websites to discover how you can contribute to their missions.

Photo: BET / Black Girls Rock

Nancy Laws is a writer, blogger, and guest contributor to For Harriet. 

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