Regina King (L) and Tracee Ellis Ross speak onstage at BET’s Black Girls Rock 2012 at Paradise Theater on October 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for BET)
Yasmine Arrington, a sophomore at Elon University, began ScholarCHIPS when she was just fifteen years old. As she began the process of researching and applying to colleges, she realized there was a lack of financial and intellectual resources for children of incarcerated parents. Arrington could relate because her father had been incarcerated when she was younger, and she’s been raised mainly by her grandmother.
ScholarCHIPS is based in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area and it provides support for students throughout their college application process. Each June, the organization awards scholarships to students and this year, it was able to give out $11,000 in financial aid.
We asked Yasmine how she felt about being honored as a M.A.D. Girl to which she responded, “It was just awesome the way it happened.”
“I’ve just been through so much creating this thing,” she said. “And I’m still not done.”
Learn more about ScholarCHIPS at www.scholarchipsfund.com.
At a cookout the summer after their freshman year in college, Alize Beal and Tiffany Bender suddenly heard gunshots and saw people running. Later, on the evening news, they learned that 14 people had been shot – 7 of them killed – from the random act of violence.
“Up until then we had been so desensitized … but that night was like a massacre,” Bender told theGrio. “We wanted to try and figure out what we could do.”
They co-founded Y.U.N.G. Harlem, which stands for “Youth Under New Guidance.” The organization offers children and young adults in the New York neighborhood with extra-curricular activities, mentoring and academic support.
Beal, a graduate from Howard University, and Bender, a graduate from Sycracuse University, were raised in Harlem and they knew how much their community needed an opportunity like this. Between galas, fundraisers, college visit tours, and other events, the two have a lot on their hands, so they were more than excited when they found out about the award.
“We could not stop screaming for the first ten minutes,” Bender laughed.
Beal, who attended the event last year, remembers wistfully thinking how great it would be to named a M.A.D. Girl one day.
“When we got the nomination, it just confirmed to me the positive thing of speaking affirmation,” she said.
She also added their biggest accomplishment is “seeing that our work isn’t going in vain from the youth standpoint.”
“It doesn’t matter how many awards we win, but the fact that we can touch someone, that means more than anything.”
Learn more about Y.U.N.G. Harlem at www.thenewyh.org
At only 11-years-old, Glennita Williams already had a philanthropic heart. When her friend’s father was deployed to Iraq, he requested to be sent Hostess Twinkiess, a snack that he craved but couldn’t find abroad. Williams realized he wasn’t the only soldier who craved something sweet from home, and she worked with her class to form “Operation Twinkie.” In just 10 days, the group had collected and shipped over 1000 Twinkies to Iraq.
She continued helping soldiers and veterans in small ways, but in 2009, Williams decided to found America’s Guardian Angels. The foundation supports deployed soldiers with care packages filled with healthy snacks, books, care items, and of course, Twinkies.
Williams, now 15, has involved her entire community in the project. Businesses, churches and schools have all donated and helped the project grow in size. To date, thousands of servicemen and women, along with veterans, have received Guardian Angel care packages.
“Our safety and freedom has a valuable price that our troops and their family are paying,” Williams said. “For this reason, America’s Guardian Angels is determined to remember their courage and sacrifice.”
Williams has been honored with many awards for her work, including being named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers for 2011 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
But she never loses sight of to whom the true honor belongs. “There is no doubt that American servicemen and women are really … our true heroes.”
To learn more about America’s Guardian Angels, visit www.americasguardianangels.org
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The 2012 Black Girls Rock! awards, held on October 13, was a successful event, attended by the who’s who of black Hollywood. But among high-profile A-listers like Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington and Alicia Keys were young women who are stars in their own right.
BGR awarded four women the M.A.D. Girls award, an honor given to girls making a difference in their communities. They were chosen by public vote out of ten finalists and then attended the event, where they received their awards from celebrities who also know what it means to give back.
Black Girls Rock! was founded by DJ Beverly Bond in 2006, with the mission of empowering and mentoring young women of color. Since then, the organization has partnered with BET to host a yearly awards show honoring women with the same mission.
The 3rd annual awards show will air this Sunday, November 4 on BET at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Click through the slideshow above to learn more about the young women who were honored with the M.A.D. Girls award this year.
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