There is a great deal of talk about the struggles of young black men. President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative was a much-needed boost to the morale of young black men, but what about our girls? This article by Afiya J. Watkins talks about an outstanding program in Philadelphia by a woman who is pushing to help young black women command the respect that they deserve. Read more:
by Afiya J. Watkins
Philadelphia is widely known as the “City of Brotherly Love”, but for many residents in the tough, blue-collar town it can seem like anything but. Like many large, urban cities, Philadelphia has its share of socio-economic problems including poverty, crime, and lack of education. These issues disproportionately plague residents in the minority communities, and nowhere is it felt as strongly as with the city’s youth, who are seeing schools and recreation centers closing at alarming rates.
Instead of lamenting the problems or waiting for city government, or someone else to solve them, one woman is determined to give back. Connie Grier is a tireless public servant with over two decades of experience in education and consulting. A native Philadelphian, who grew up in one of the city’s most notorious housing projects; she knows firsthand the pitfalls that await those without a good education and positive role models.
Growing up, Connie’s parents stressed education and although her father dropped out of school early to support his family during the Great Depression, he always encouraged her to transcend her circumstances by studying hard and striving for excellence. Because of their love and guidance, she went on to gain admission into two of the top magnet schools in the city of Philadelphia; eventually earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration.
Connie is the consummate educator, but she is also life-long learner, currently embarking on a Doctoral candidacy. As an educational consultant and entrepreneur, she is passing down the lessons of achievement that were instilled in her as a child to her twin, teenaged sons, who are both reaching heights academically, recently earning a trip to study abroad. She knows the opportunities afforded her sons, are terribly lacking in the lives of most children who come from areas like the one she once grew up in, and she’s on a mission to change that.
As an extension of her organization, The RESPECT Alliance, Ms. Grier is hosting
Girls’ Empowerment B.O.O.T. (Boosting Our Own Talents) Camp, a week’s long program where camp-goers will be inundated with messages such as, “We ARE who we BELIEVE we are” and “Give all barriers to success the B.O.O.T!, while exploring twelve core tenants:
Health and Wellness Social Graces
Cultural Exposure Social Media Safety
Service Learning Academic Excellence
Self-worth /Self respect Conflict Resolution
Financial Literacy Peer Pressure
Purposeful Living Supporting our Sisters
Successful participants will be invited to become a part of a year round mentoring program for young ladies, which will include the above along with cultural excursions and various other supports which will begin in August.
Girls’ Empowerment B.O.O.T. (Boosting Our Own Talents) Camp
August 25-29th, 2014
Registration opens June 1st 2014
Location: McVeigh Recreation Center
4th and Ontario Streets
For more information about Girls’ Empowerment B.O.O.T. Camp or to find out how you can support the efforts of The RESPECT Alliance, please contact Connie Grier at:
The RESPECT Alliance: Collaborating for Educational Success
Promoting and Building Respectful Engagement between Families and Schools