In the ‘Day in the Life’ series, we’ll showcase the work of our current fellows, their projects, and how they are fighting poverty. This post features Ashley Bell, who is serving as the Partnership Liaison at the Mentoring Partnership Resource Center in collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region.
On Wednesday May 3rd, 2017, Philly Fellow Ashley Bell moderated a discussion with Mischa Toland, Founder and CEO of Greatness now on Empowering the Voice and Presence of Young Black Girls & Women.
The morning of the discussion African American women and girls gathered at Seer Interactive in Northern Liberties to hear from Ms. Toland and have their questions answered about how to effectively impact the lives of mentors and mentees.
Under the direction and leadership of Philly Fellow Ashley Bell, over 64 stakeholders were in attendance for the professional development dialogue. Those in the room came from a diverse occupation background, those being: CEO’s and Executive Directors of mentoring programs and organizations, Social Workers, Therapists, Higher Education Professionals, Program staff and most important young black women themselves.
The Mentoring Partnership Resource Center (MPRC) is dedicated to improving the work, effectiveness and synergy of mentoring organizations across the region since it was was created in 2015 as an affiliate of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and is supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA.
“Mentoring saved my life, mentoring is life changing. Having someone who believes in you for no other reason than they just believe in you is a gift,” Mischa Toland, founder and CEO of Greatness Now and Girls as CEOs, said.
Thoughts from the Creator, Ashley Bell:
In my project description I am to engineer 3 events that will support MPRC’s mission and add value to network providers. Once I realized that meant I had sole creative direction I knew I wanted tackle a problem I noticed not only throughout my work at MPRC but in my daily life. And that was the absence of resources and dialogues regarding young Black girls and women such as Empowering the Voice and Presence of Young Black Girls & Women.
I wanted to create a space where our voices and presence would be acknowledge, heard, and our input taken seriously. As someone once told me ‘if I’m in the room then I’m at the table and if I’m at the table you’re either going to call on me or I’ll call on myself.’ I’m sure I misquoted that. The point is that there needs to be spaces where black women and girls can come and have their voices not just heard but taken into account when decisions are being made. Especially when those decisions are about us.
And if no one is willing to foster those spaces and dialogues then we as Black women need to do it ourselves.
As a Black woman, this is something that is very near to my heart. I was and still am overwhelmed with emotion when I think about the reception of my event and the many lives that were touched; especially of the young black women in the room whom were high schoolers. I hope being in a space that was solely about us encourages them keep seeking out those kinds of places that encourages their voice and Presence, their Black Excellence and their BlackGirlMagic.
Empowering The Voice and Presence of Young Black Girls and Women was just the beginning. I am extremely excited for what’s to come.