We are wishing you the happiest of holidays with friends and family! Continue reading
All this month we have been discussing healthy body image for our girls. This Saturday, November 14 we are hosting our Second Saturday event: “Too Tall, Too Skinny, Too…”. We will have guest speakers sharing their own journeys towards self-acceptance, self-love, and an overall healthy body image! Come listen to the owner of 360 Mind Body Soul Fitness studio, Ashanti Johnson! Continue reading
Join us on September 17, 2015 as we honor our awardees and support Polished Pebbles at the Together She Will Shine Reception! Continue reading
#WhatSheNeeds continues with our first topic…Parental Support! For all of our interviewees, parents have been incredible supports during the college experience. But sometimes, things got a little sticky. Parents always wants what is best for their children, but sometimes this causes tension for college students. As summer is quickly passing, all you parents are getting ready to send your daughters off to college–some for the first time! We want you to know how to best support your daughters in their academic career! Here is some advice from our lovely college women… Continue reading
Crenshaw and Kelly Fair agree on multiple points. Like Crenshaw, Fair believes more research, media, and communities need to focus on young, African-American women. From sex trafficking to school discipline, our girls are in danger in their very communities. As local community leaders, you are able to make changes, to be a voice for this invisible fight! We want to empower you to stand up for your community, for your young, black girls. For all of those who already have, thank you for your courage, for all of those who have yet to do so, thank you for reading our message. Continue reading
I’m motivated to continue my work in mentoring, because I’m a successful byproduct of strong Chicago-based youth mentoring and job readiness initiatives. So, I know personally that mentoring works, which is why am excited every time a new company jumps on board to providing career-related mentoring to our girls. Join me and the Trust on May 12th to commit to making our region better. Continue reading
My column, Stomping the Yard, on jetmag.com aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives. We show you how to get it done, from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. This week’s column helps all incoming freshmen by giving them a reality check on what to expect when moving on campus … CLICK HERE TO READ IT!
Please share with any new college students in your network!
By Tamara Meyerhoff, Polished Pebbles Intern
My mentoring responsibilities aren’t limited just to working with the school age -girls and female college students in Polished Pebbles. I also find a tremendous about of satisfaction mentoring college/graduate interns as well. I’m proud to share this blog post that was written by one of our summer interns Tamara Meyerhoff. Tamara is a senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She is majoring in Social Work with a concentration in Family Studies. This summer she attended the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture in Hyde Park. Through her classes she was able to experience the culture of Chicago, from the South Side to the North Side. Tamara also completed two part-time internships–one with me at Polished Pebbles, and the other with United African Organization.
As national news continually reports the alarming increase in gun violence in Chicago, I’d like to share with you this infographic from Tavis Smiley Reports on PBS. The school to prison pipeline is the education and juvenile justice system working in tandem to incarcerate mostly lower class minorities. According to the article, schools will unfairly target minority students to be criminally charged for minor acts. As the graphic shows, in 2013, 70% of in-school arrests were of black or Latino youth. Even more shocking, black and Latino students are 3.5 times for likely to be suspended than white students.
The author believes that this harsh reality affects the self-perception of black youth. By constantly being surrounded by a negative stereotype, they start to believe they are nothing more than that stereotype—violent, aggressive, hot-tempered, and criminal. Polished Pebbles is one organization working to fight against the cycle of the school to prison pipeline. It does this in a subtle way. The Polished Pebbles curriculum changes the way African-American girls perceive themselves as young black women. One high school student reported, “Before Polished Pebbles, I had a horrible attitude. Now, I learned that I have to control my attitude because those same people can help me with my future”. Listen to Polished Pebbles success Pertesha share her story through the foster care system. Furthermore, these girls have dreams of becoming doctors, dentists, and even accountants.
These girls have grown because they were surrounded by role models who told them they are capable and deserving individuals. As the article has shown, this is where the school system has been failing black youth. It is here that organizations, communities, and individuals can begin to break the school to prison pipeline.
Share with us in the comments below what can you do in your community to help one youth from entering the school to prison pipeline?
Tamara Meyerhoff, Polished Pebbles Intern
For the last four years, with Polished Pebbles, I have been empowering girls throughout Chicagoland to find their voices by equipping them with effective communications skills, providing access to proper mentors, and exposure to powerful life experiences. It has been an awesome experience to reach over 500 girls with the assistance of numerous organizations, businesses, and hundreds of volunteers and supporters. But, perhaps what’s been most amazing for me is the opportunity I’ve had to grow right along with the girls, personally and professionally. I often share with the girls that a big of part of my drive in starting Polished Pebbles lies in the truth that I too was a shy girl, and it took me until I got to college to really unleash my leadership abilities, and build my confidence.
I had a personal mentor of mine who always impressed upon me that “we’re always teaching, and we’re always learning.” I’ve had lots of growing pains building Polished Pebbles, and finding my voice in this new venture has been a journey. But, I’ve come to realize now that we’ve learned a lot in creating Polished Pebbles and growing it from a single site group mentoring program with less than 20 mentors and only 2 girls at our first monthly meeting, to a program that has served 500 girls through 15 program sites serving University of Chicago Charter Schools, Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Housing Authority. I feel impelled and that it’s my responsibility to our communities to share some of what we’ve grown through during this Polished Pebbles experience; this will include strategies that we’ve learned, and knowledge gained from staff, volunteers, partners, and of course our girls.
Every Thursday, you can expect a weekly update to this blog, “Kelly Fair The Mentor” including:
- Encouragement and support in realizing the role each of us can play in impacting our youth
- Tips and strategies on strengthening mentoring efforts in your communities
- Insight from our rock-star staff, volunteers, and families, and of course our girls!
As I continue to grow and develop along with Polished Pebbles, I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
A couple of weeks ago at our Polished Pebbles’ Open House for interested mentors and volunteers, over 50 women made the commitment to challenge themselves to declare at least one thing that they have to offer the Polished Pebbles girls, community, and organization. They participated in a 7-day social media challenge were they included things like:
Quite often far too many of us feel ill equipped to tackle the issues in our community, but the reality is that we have everything that we need for healing and empowerment! So, join us and declare at least one thing today that you have to offer the Polished Pebbles community, or the girls or youth in your community! Is it your commitment, positive attitude, marketing skills, fundraising skills? What do you have to offer? Please let us know below in the comments section.
If you’re interested in volunteering or mentoring with Polished Pebbles in Chicago, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next mentor/volunteer orientation will be September 28th from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. at the Chicago Urban League (4510 S. Michigan Avenue) or visit the Polished Pebbles page for more information http://www.polishedpebbles.com.