Leadership – South Miami Charms

By Lee Stephens

Each session of South Miami Charms classes will be followed by a Graduation Tea.

Leadership — South Miami Charms, a leadership program for girls that aims to empower girls by developing self-esteem, leadership ability and providing mentorship, will begin in September 2010 in the South Miami area. The new project is part of Pumps, Pearls, and Portfolios (PP&P) – Welfare to Work, Inc., a grassroots organization that has been providing direct services to low-income women and girls for the past 29 years.

Leadership — South Miami Charmswill consist of classes and workshops in selfempowerment and leadership, prevention and awareness, daily life and employability skills. The project will provide girls with opportunities to grow spiritually, as well as teach them to work with community service and advocacy groups.

“We intend to provide varied training classes with collaborative efforts from the community,” stated Sharon Kendrick- Johnson, founder and CEO of PP&P.

PP&P works with clients in the penal system, community colleges, jails, homeless assistance centers, substance abuse and mental health centers, domestic violence shelters, churches and community centers. Participants are trained in life skills to promote a strong work ethic, act as mentors in the community and live safely in their neighborhoods. Low-income women and girls will develop skills that allow them to remain in the workforce and not return to the welfare system.

PP&P strives to assist youth who have been victims and are potential victims of date rape, domestic violence and substance abuse or who have witnessed domestic violence at home. The organization focuses on reducing the harmful impact of such violence and ending the cycle, as well as curtailing the harmful effects of substance abuse which may lead to risky behaviors.

“A supportive environment, caring facilitators, and a flexible schedule will prove crucial to engage those with a complex history of victimization, fear and distrust of others,” said Kendrick-Johnson.

By taking a role in community activities and organizations that foster healthy development, girls are more likely to form connections with positive social peers and adult role models, such as neighbors, police, clergy and other community leaders who can give moral guidance and emotional support. Speakers from around Miami- Dade County will be invited to address relevant topics for the girls. Each session of classes will be followed by a Graduation Tea.

“These initiatives will encourage communities to plan, develop, implement and sustain a coordinated system of prevention, intervention, treatment and followthrough services for girls in the community,” said Kendrick-Johnson.

Leadership — South Miami Charms classes will be held quarterly, twice monthly on Saturdays, as well as Wednesdays during the summer, at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, located at 6316 SW 59th Place in South Miami, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Parents are asked to call 305-661-2052 to have their girls become a part of Leadership – South Miami Charms

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