Posts tagged "Dream big"

Love Yourself IRL x Shelby Bentil

Scroll, double tap, scroll. Repeat. This describes our daily habit as we operate without even thinking while subconsciously comparing ourselves to glimpses + fake images of both friends and strangers. With social media acting as the number one addiction, learning to love yourself in real life can seem almost like an impossible task. Young + thriving author Shelby Bentil shares an impactful story of a teen girl struggling to discover herself + dreams in her first book, Diminished Dreams. Get to know how Shelby was inspired to create this story and how it represents numerous girls learning to love themselves while going after their dreams!

Your new book Diminished Dreams is a fiction story that shares the journey of a teen girl + her struggles after she finds out about her pregnancy. What inspired the story line of your book?

My inspiration behind Diminished Dreams is actually pretty complicated. I created the story at the age of 16 and at that time my focus was making the character this deranged teenager who became fed up with everyone hurting her and turning their back on her. This was actually an issue I was dealing with at the time. During my teenage years I experienced so much hurt that I channeled all of it into the character Castel. Now over the years, as I developed emotionally, mentally and spiritually, Castel’s story evolved and I used the character to express only that small part of me. If you notice in the book, Castel is constantly trying to be the positive one and give people chances regardless of how they betray her. In the first draft this was not the case. Castel was actually out to destroy everyone.

How important is it for young females to be proactive when it comes to attacking their goals rather than simply reacting from what their environment gives them? 

For me being proactive and focusing on your goals should always be number one on your to do list. Now don’t get me wrong I know it can become very difficult to not react to what happens in your environment, I myself had to learn the hard way. It took me years to realize I couldn’t fight the world and I am still working on what to give my energy to. What I’ve learned is the more I focus on who I see myself becoming the more I tune out the negativity in my environment.

Getting a grip of who you are as a girl is tough due to a collage of media, school, life’s pressure, & the list goes on. How did you relate to the main character in your book when it came to understanding true self-love?

Castel is me. Well part of me. As I became a woman and learned self-love I transformed her story to reflect that. This is why in the book she grows the way she does. She goes from this girl who is so wrapped up in pleasing others and living how she is told to putting more focus on doing what is best for her and cutting the strings of control.

As a girl do you feel like it’s pressure in high school + college  to conform to be accepted in different areas of your life? For example do you believe you have to be a completely different person with your boyfriend than you are with your parents or friends?

Oh, absolutely there is pressure to conform if you want to be “accepted.” Ironically, as I got older I found myself conforming in different ways than when I was a teenager or a child. For example when I was a child and a teen my main struggle with conformity was the pressure to be “tough.” Growing up in an urban environment, if you were not tough or getting into fights then you were an easy target for bullying. This resulted in me actually turning into a bully and being a very angry and mean child just to have a voice among my peers. As a young adult the levels of conformity transformed into what I looked like, who I dated, what I believed and more. It wasn’t until about several years ago that I really started to embrace me just the way I am. This started with my big chop. Cutting my hair during the “long hair don’t care” movement was a very significant moment for me because I was finally breaking away from labels and other people’s opinions.

(Beautiful comparison photo of legendary author + poet Maya Angelou to young + thriving author Shelby Bentil)

What’s one way girls can block out the noise of distractions early on and embrace their insecurities instead of trying to bury them?

As a young girl what I found most helpful to avoid distractions was getting lost in a hobby connected to my passion, which was writing. Going back to one of the previous questions, your reactions to your environment can really make you or brake you, so for me taking out a pen and my journal to write down what would have gotten me in trouble, allowed me to express myself, move on from an issue and keep pushing forward to my goals. Girls need to find outlets that are not friends, boyfriends or social media but hobbies that will help them discover their seed of greatness. From baking to sports, anything positive and productive will help them keep their head afloat. In terms of insecurities, I understand that is a lot more difficult to deal with because it has to deal with loving yourself. Self-love is easier said than done especially with this wave of social media that pretty much every female you look at appear to be exactly the same. What I believe is most helpful is to always keep positive sayings around to read and tell yourself something positive everyday. When we speak to ourselves positively we feel and live a positive life.

How does writing allow you to go deeper into yourself and grow as a person?

Writing allows me to awaken my creativity. When I write there are no boundaries, no rules. I can create a whole world based on my thoughts and events in my own life. The more I think, the deeper I dig into myself and it amazes me the where my mind wonders off to when I glide my pen on paper. Writing opens this door to an unknown place that only I have access to and from there I begin to challenge what I know and who I am until I reach the next door to the next unknown place, which will lead me to another path of understanding.

Check out more of Shelby here!

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Meet The Evoluer House!

What comes to life with a mixture of  BOLD, POWERFUL + simply UNSTOPPABLE teen girls? The Evoluer House! This innovative and  dynamic nonprofit organization, delivers empowerment programs that help girls to envision a future devoid of disadvantages and filled with possibilities. Reaching  girls of color in Philadelphia ages 13 to 18, The Evoluer House  curriculums are designed to promote emotional, mental, and social well-being. It equips girls with the tools they need to become college-bound and career-ready.

Founder and Executive Director of The Evoluer House, Cheryl Ann Waldington, has been on a mission to advance all of girl kind! As a former national fashion and beauty journalist, she is an influential global change agent and leading consultant in the field of personal growth. Cheryl is an accomplished writer, television personality and sought-after motivational speaker, who has reached millions of people with her advice and perspective through media outlets as Vogue, Elle, Self, Life & Style, Lucky, C-Span and Glo.com. Her passions unfold in inspiring  youth and making a positive and lasting imprint on their lives!

Let’s get to know Cheryl Waldington + The Evolouer House a little better…

Evoluer House empowers young African American girls in the Philadelphia area through different curriculum and professional development, what made you launch this powerful organization?

I founded The Evoluer House 12 years ago because I believe every girl deserves the best opportunity to achieve her dreams, regardless of what zip code she is born in; and I was also aware that girls of color experience a unique set of social and emotional challenges and barriers to success in the U.S.. So I decided to take action to address those challenges and expand opportunities for marginalized girls for color. Our mission is to equip the most underserved and hardest-to-reach girls in Philadelphia with essential tools to become college-bound and career-ready, thus breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty. Our organization has served over 1,200 teen girls of color, and I am very proud that 100% of Evoluer House graduates finish high school on time and go on to attend a four-year college or other forms of post-secondary education. Many of them have earned advance degrees.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, what type of programs and events does Evoluer House host?

The Evoluer House offers two 8-week programs (the Youth Workforce Development and Evoluer Personal Development Programs), that encourage girls to think bigger, dream higher and be the best that they can be—women of character who are motivated to lead both personally and professionally.

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

My parents and brother are my inspiration. They instilled in me the belief that I don’t have to be like everybody else—to be myself—which has served as my foundation. This helped launch my career in fashion as a journalist and image consultant and instilled in me values that charted my life and defined success for me. They also underscored my responsibility to help others along the way and never let me forget that God is the rock upon which I stand.

If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

You can indeed be whatever you want to be. Tune out anyone who tells you otherwise. Sing your own song in your own key and groove to your own beat. Dream big and learn to live life FEARLESSLY.

Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’s one trait you have learned from working with your girls?

I am thrilled to see girls throughout the country speaking up for their rights and taking an active role in making a difference in their community and beyond. They also understand the importance of empowering each other; and they’re inspired to change the world in big and small ways.

We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you and your organization?

Girls deserve a world where they can be proud and unapologetic with the right to express her culture however she defines it, without judgment. To hear our graduates describe how Evoluer House helped them find the confidence to achieve their goals, this is what we know for sure: “An empowered girl will stay healthy. Save money. Build a business. Empower her community. Lift her country. Change the world.”

Fun Faves!
Holding “court” with my girls.
Weight lifting

Fave Food?
Anything healthy

Artist? Song?
Right now I’m loving: Andra Day: “I Rise Up” and Kelly Price: “It’s My Time.”

Find out more about The Evoluer House here:
The Evoluer House
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Weekend Flow!

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Have a beautiful weekend, lovelies!

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Get Your Mind Right!

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Relationships, Latest | by — December 16, 2013

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You know how they say life and death are in the power of the tongue? Meaning the things that you say can largely affect the outcome of a situation. That’s a true statement, but I am inclined to believe that it doesn’t go far enough. Failure and success are determined largely by our thoughts. The words don’t even have to make it out of our mouths.

People who tell themselves negative things will often get negative results. It’s hard enough to overcome the negative thoughts and actions of others, so having to overcome negativity in your own mind can make a difficult obstacle seem insurmountable. There’s no need to put that extra pressure on yourself.TV

We all come from different situations. Some of us may have better support systems than others, but we all have the capacity to create success no matter how many people we have cheering us on. Cheerleaders are great, but it’s the players who win the game. In your life you’re the one who decides whether you’re a winner or loser. That’s something you make up in your own mind, so you’d better get your mind right.

Wining about how hard it is, procrastinating, selling yourself short, internalizing the negativity of others– ain’t nobody got time for that! If you want to accomplish something, just make your mind up and do it. It’s that simple. So, if you’re struggling with something, something that you really want to do and know that you can do, stop it. Stop struggling. Stop complaining. Stop procrastinating. Stop sabotaging your success. Take a minute to get your mind right. Then just go handle your business.

-Tiffany Vicks

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