Posts tagged "non profit"


Making a fashion statement in today’s  age is more than rockin’ the latest trends! Verneda Adele White combined her style for powerful social change. She’s the Founder and Creative Director of HUMAN INTONATION, the premium, charity-driven apparel brand dedicated to raising awareness while donating 20% of each sale to pertinent social & human rights issues. Following her family’s personal experience with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the loss of her closest cousin and best friend to AIDS, Verneda began designing men and women’s graphic tees, tank tops, and dresses made from her own original patterns, using organic materials, to draw attention to re-building efforts in the Gulf Coast.

Her national platform of using fashion for social change, related community events, and speaking engagements has since extended to education for children in Darfur, rebuilding Haiti, and the brand’s primary focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment. Verneda has received support from the likes of Usher Raymond, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Wyclef Jean, and Hydeia Broadbent, in addition to lifestyle mogul B. Smith who wore her own Human Intonation tee during a cooking segment on The Wendy Williams Show. Human Intonation has been covered by VH1, the Black AIDS Institute, NV Magazine, Black Enterprise, AOL, and Uptown Magazine


Let’s get to know Verneda Adele White of HUMAN INTONATION a little better!

HUMAN INTONATION is an awesome charity driven apparel brand, please share with our audience what inspired this concept.

My greatest inspiration is the opportunity to impact the lives of others through fashion. As a premium, charity-driven apparel brand, HUMAN INTONATION® (H.I.) is dedicated to using fashion as a platform to raise awareness and funding for a number of social and human rights issues. Originally inspired by my family’s personal experience with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I started Human Intonation as a creative space to raise funds for recovery efforts in New Orleans. During my first volunteer trip to rebuild New Orleans, I had the opportunity to meet and was inspired to pursue my vision by one of music’s true artists, Usher, who not only continues to give back, but has been a supporter of Human Intonation since our inception. In the same year following Katrina, I lost my closest cousin to AIDS when he and I were both just starting out in life after college. These were two back to back life experiences that greatly shaped my entrepreneurial spirit, and continue to inspire me to use Human Intonation to champion causes that impact us globally.

Today, Human Intonation is an international platform with related events, partnerships, and speaking engagements, along with working with Non-profit organizations to develop compelling apparel that meets their branding and fundraising needs. While our primary focus is HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment, our brand is accessible, not only in giving voice to social and human rights issues that affect all of us, but in being the most wearable, soft, organic, and uniquely cut conscious t-shirts and tank tops you will find.

How has fashion and style shaped and impacted your lifestyle?

I have always loved all things fashion, from producing fashion shows to developing my own original t-shirts for our H.I. Collection, but my journey with fashion and how it impacts my lifestyle is constantly evolving. As a personal lifestyle, I feel I am often more in tuned with the rhythm of the business of fashion than with any one particular style of the moment. Sometimes I’m on trend and sometimes I walk to the beat of my own drum. I want to be comfortable and stand out all at once, and when I really want to rock something special I call my stylist @MsDaniDK. What fashion gives me is pure adrenaline, motivation, creativity, and belief that anything is possible. I seem to have super human strength during Fashion Week (New York and London) while attending, getting my hands into production, and reviewing as many shows as possible. As a brand, I am constantly looking at fashion, but our silhouettes and designs are inspired by our customers and followers. One of my biggest lessons in business has been to understand that the end product is not always going to be what I would wear. It’s truly about what our customers want.

What message do you hope people will receive and act on by purchasing HUMAN INTONATION designs?

For us, the power in Human Intonation is that we are able to inspire people to start the conversation about social and human rights issues in a way that can change perceptions, change choices, change lives. With the designs and messages in our collections, we often include a call to action to empower individuals to have a positive impact on their own lives or the lives of others. When it comes to HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment, it is my hope through Human Intonation that even one family may have a different experience than my own. It is important for all to understand that HIV is 100% preventable, and it starts with each person taking the action of getting tested and knowing your status. Currently, I am excited to be featured in the “Bare It All” Ad campaign ( from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to raise awareness for sexual health, and encourage all, including LGBTQ New Yorkers, to talk openly and honestly with their doctor about their sex lives and drug use in order to receive the treatment and services one may need.

What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to girls who wanted to pursue their dreams but are too nervous to start?

First and foremost, bringing any idea, business, or creative dream to life is not easy, no matter your age, background or level of education. With that being said:
Girls who set out to make their dreams a reality should know you are already ahead of the game just by making a beginning. I am constantly reminding myself there are so many who dream but never attempt to try. Start by writing your dreams down or making a vision board to make it concrete. Believe in your vision. To be successful you must first believe in yourself.

Learn to forgive yourself. Be fearless and unafraid of making mistakes because mistakes and setbacks will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them. Do your best to learn the lesson, and keep pressing forward. In my experience, everything happens for a reason.

To jumpstart your dreams, put yourself in the best position possible by planning how you will take care of yourself. If you are making the leap from a steady paycheck to “do what you love, the money will follow,” put your savings together before you leap. Following your dreams always costs more than you think it will. Fortunately, it’s worth every penny.

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

At the moment, I am completely inspired and draw my energy from all the #BlackGirlMagic in the world. Parts of my character, from my determination to my unbridled ambition, comes from the #BlackGirlMagic in my life whether drawing from other women entrepreneurs, the imagination sparked by a Beyoncé or Serena Williams, or the very special #BlackGirlMagic that my mom has created in her lifetime. My mom, better known as Dr. Darlene Riggins White, was not only the first African-American woman to be accepted and graduate from the University of Buffalo’s School of Dentistry, she went on to become the first African-American woman to own her own dental practice in the western half of New York State. I am proud I have my mom’s entrepreneurial spirit! I had an opportunity to write about my love for all things #BlackGirlMagic earlier this year in my Huffington Post blog:

We are all about empowerment, What does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?

For me, the ultimate form of empowerment is the being comfortable in one’s own skin. That’s what I strive to give to myself and others each day. Being comfortable in one’s own skin lends to being confident, to know that you can do it, you can survive even the most challenging situations, and be stronger for it on the other side. Don’t be discouraged by the naysayers. Naysayers come in many different forms, but each of us has everything we need inside to make a difference in our lives and to have a positive impact on the lives of others. When I made the decision to start HUMAN INTONATION by developing t-shirts from my own original patterns, to source my own fabric and build my own supply chain it was because I knew I could do it, but more importantly I wanted our t-shirts, tanks, and dresses to be able to empower others down to the very core of our brand. Education is also key, and in business it is critical to be both book and street savvy. Hone your craft and never stop learning. You never know when you will be able to take what you’ve learned and empower someone else.

 Time for the Faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?

I love this question!
Celeb crushes: Kofi Siriboe, I mean how can anyone not… but I can’t front like I haven’t fallen head over heels for Sterling K. Brown. Idris is still in the game because he will simply never go out of style.
Artist: Kanye, Solange and Kendrick Lamar (current), Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder (classic)
Food: I am a total foodie which means I am always up for trying just about anything from around the world. If I have to choose, I would say my palate stays close to home with fried catfish, collard greens, homemade baked mac n cheese, or a pot of gumbo.
Movie: Again a tough one (of all time) … Coming to America

Check out more of  HUMAN INTONATION here:

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Huffington Post



Meet I Am Gracious!

Planting the seeds of confidence + courage into the budding beauty of girls is the key into sparking the next generation!  The mission of  I Am Gracious  is to link together young girls throughout the Southwest Louisiana area to encourage, empower and motivate them on their journey to womanhood. This powerful non-profit  founded by Trista Ledet Ames encourages young girls between the ages of 12-18 years old from diverse backgrounds, regardless of size, shape, race or color; all while promoting self-esteem and self-confidence and empowering young girls in making responsible choices.
I Am Gracious builds up self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as teaching girls about the importance of participating in a positive way in their family, schooling, and community. Another way is by teaching them how to conduct themselves as positive role models to others by being a light in their own lives as well as reflecting that light into the lives of their peers, so that they may in turn be positive as well.
Let’s get to know I Am Gracious a little better…

Princess Ball which allowed each young girl to come in & feel like royalty while dressing in fancy gowns & meeting The first black Mrs. Louisiana, Mrs. Nomica Guillory.

I Am Gracious is a powerful organization that encourages, empowers and motivates young women, what made you want to create a platform to allow young people to shine?

I would see so many young girls who seemed so focused on getting attention based on the way that they looked and seeking to get that validation from young men or just about anywhere they thought feasible. I wanted to share with them the validation that I had received from my parents and as well as teach them that validation comes from within oneself. We live in a society where the media implants a false image of who and what a young woman should resemble, so I vowed to take a stand to teach the contrary and impart knowledge and wisdom in the young females lives.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, how do you teach teen ladies to be a positive role model?

We do this by teaching them about the importance of participating in a positive way in their family, schooling, and community. Another way is by teaching them to speak positively. It may sound simple, but even we as adults have a hard time doing this. How many times in your life has someone ever said to you, “You’ll never lose weight.” & you took that and literally and didn’t lose the weight? There’s a scripture that says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”….If I speak negatively, I’ve killed a dream before it has been able to take root. So, I teach the girls to take the negatives and turn them into positives. This means to speak positively about the situations that you are handed in your life, no matter what they may be.

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

I have to say that one person who inspires me is Tamron Hall. She is beautiful & well poised, down to earth and doesn’t allow her image to be defined. But I’d be remised if I didn’t say that the assignment of I Am Gracious wasn’t inspired by God. I would wake up out of a dead sleep and write down visions of things that I was given. Being the person that I am, (very shy and always a background person) I would think, “Why would God give me something like this to do?”, but I had to learn to that it’s not my will, but His.

Founder of I Am Gracious, Trista Ledet

Founder of I Am Gracious, Trista Ledet Ames

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?

My advice to teen girls struggling with being comfortable in their own skin is to really take a look at yourself & know that you are a beautiful, unique creation made from God Himself. EVERYTHING that God has made is perfect in His own image. Speak these positive things to yourself daily until you begin to believe it!

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

I think that I’ve learned the “Hear us out” trait lol! Why couldn’t someone figure that out when I was a teen? Lol Seriously though, they’ve taught me that they really just want to be heard. Their ideas, dreams and hopes, their side of the story, etc. If we would take a moment to pause and just listen, we would find that each girl is on a journey to find themselves and they may need you to be their “compass”, but in order for you to be that to them, you must listen to them so that you can help guide them on the right path.

The day of their completion ceremony from The W.A.I.T.S Plan - A 12 week abstinence awareness program

The day of their completion ceremony from The W.A.I.T.S Plan – A 12 week abstinence awareness program

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

Empowerment means to uplift any and every individual that you may come in contact with. We never know who may need encouragement, motivation or even a smile to make it through the day!

Fun Faves! Song? Food? Artist? Celeb Crush?

Fun faves about me: I love to mud ride on 4 wheelers (It’s a country thing!), Travel and spend time with my family…We are a big bunch, so it is always a fun time. Favorite song- I love so many different songs that it would be very hard to choose just one. Favorite food – My goodness, I just love food, but I’d have to say my dad’s Jambalaya. My favorite artist – again there are so many, but I’d have to say (Male) my baby brother Joshua Ledet with his soulful sound and crazy range& (Female) Toni Braxton with her deep tone. Now, I don’t really have a celebrity crush, because my husband is one wonderful man that no one compares to him in my book (it’s ok to smile Kevin) 🙂 but if I have I just have to list one, it would probably have to be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Only because he seems like a genuine, and caring person by the way he shows such care when speaking about his mother and his life & of course I think he’s a pretty good actor in these roles that seem to show his compassionate side for people/children like The Game Plan, Walking Tall & Gridiron Gang.


Find out more here!

I Am Gracious



Meet True Belles!

Inspiration is contagious, right? Of course it is and True Belles is sprinkling it everywhere! As a community based organization, True Belles has a mission to recondition the minds of young girls teaching them to be individuals of tact, class and integrity through learning to love, respect and accept themselves! This empowering organization seeks to be productive in their lives so that they in turn become productive within their own lives and the lives of others.

True Belles is a community based youth development program that serve young girls 7-14 years of age. Their sole purpose is to enhance lives by providing the proper tools that will produce life long success. True Belles was formed under the the proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ They understand that children are faced with many negative influences and experiences and for that reason alone it takes more than a mom and (or) dad to teach a child the ways of life.

Let’s get to know True Belles a little better…


True Belles reconditions the minds of young girls teaching them to be individuals of tact, class and integrity through learning to love, respect and accept themselves. What made you launch this empowering organization?
The inspiration behind the True Belles Mentoring Program is none other than my Belle herself, Miss Tiana Reed, who noticed a very disturbing preview of an upcoming reality show that depicted black females as being less than ladylike. Understanding that television is of a great influence to young girls such as herself, she decided that together we should provide an alternative to the negativity by coming up with something positive.
Your organization offers a  variety of programs for  girls – Discover, Lead, Serve.  How does each program shape the success for girls?
 Though each individual segment serves its own purpose, only together will it truly shape success. When girls are taught how to tap in and discover all the great qualities that are innate, they become strong, confident and bold which sets them up for to become leaders that will at some point serve their communities.
If you had to give one piece of advice to girls  who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be? 
My advice to  girls who struggle being comfortable in their own skin is this: Puzzles come with many defining pieces. In order to see the full beauty of the puzzle, each piece has its own part to play and is equally important so understand that just like that puzzle piece, you have your own shape, size and color and no matter how different you may seem to others, you have an important place in this beautiful puzzle that we call our world; embrace your position. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?
 I am inspired by so many great individuals however, my current inspiration comes from our Fist Lady, Michelle Obama!! Mrs. Obama is everything that a Belle is known for. She is beautiful, smart, innovative and classy but yet an all around, down to earth, fun girl.
Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’s one trait you have learned from working with girls?
 Working with today’s young girls I have learned to be resilient. Young girls have it hard and they go through so much but they somehow manage to shake it off and bounce back time and time again.
We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you + your organization?
What empowerment means to myself and my organization is simple, it is nothing more than unadulterated awareness. They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear so when you open your mind to accept all of life’s great lesson you allow those new and powerful awarenesses to be untainted.
Fun Faves! Song? Food? Artist? Celeb Crush?
Favorite song: Pieces of me by Ledisi
     Favorite Food: All things Mexican
     Favorite Artist: India Arie
     Celeb Crush: The Game
Check out more here…

Meet Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc.

Every girl should live bold, love strong and laugh loud! Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. is a nonprofit organization focusing on 6-13 year old girls living with limited resources in the inner city of Newark, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Their vision is to empower girls by building positive self-esteem, proper etiquette, self respect, and health/fitness. They aim to make a difference by removing obstacles that stand in their way, so that they can become respectable, successful, productive, and happy young ladies. This influential organization offers a variety of programs  that focuses on many pressing issues that are relevant in today’s society.

Let’s get to know Girls; Live.Love.Laugh, Inc. a little better…

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Girls; Live. Love. Laugh, Inc. empowers girls by building positive self-esteem, proper etiquette, self-respect, and health/fitness! What made you launch this empowering organization?

I didn’t launch this empowering organization, God had this vision and is just using me to do his work. I was the chosen one. I now know that every test, every trail and tribulation that I have been through he was preparing me for this assignment. When God blesses you with a gift or a calling, it is up to us to answer him and use our gifts. Girls; Live. Love. Laugh. Inc. in here because of Him.

How does Girls; Live. Love.Laugh, Inc. encourages positive family influence in young ladies lives?

Family is extremely important to the very foundation of Girls; Live. Love. Laugh, Inc. Losing our parents at an young age, all of my sibling and I had was each other. I do not know what would have become of us if my parents did not instill the value of family before their passing. We teach our girls that in our organization we are family. We may not always agree or get along, but as with blood relatives, we work through it together. We also encourage open communication between mentors and the parents. It’s about building a support system that let’s our girls know that they are not alone and there are people who they can turn too no matter what. At GLLLs, there is nothing more important than family, but God.

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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?

God made no mistakes when he made you. You are beautiful just the way you are. Your uniqueness separates you from everyone else in the world; embrace it, love it and own it. There will never be another You; so live life impressing yourself, and being the best you can possible be. YOU ROCK!

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

My mom is my greatest inspiration. Growing up in the projects with 7 siblings I never knew that we were what society deemed as “poor”. My mom worked and went to school. She was not just a provider for her children, but all the children in the neighborhood. Although it wasn’t much, she shared everything she had with everyone. She raised her children on the scripture Mark 12:31 “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. I inherited my spirit of community giving and loving from my mom.

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

One of the most transforming things I have learned from our girls is to DREAM BIG and FEAR NOTHING! Every year we ask the girls to fill-out profile cards where they are allowed to share anything, specifically, their dreams and goals. Over the years I’ve noticed that some of the girl’s dreams were the same dreams I had at their age. Unlike our girls, I was fearful and lacked the self-esteem to pursue my dreams. Because of their fearless spirit I was inspired to pursue my college degree and start my own business. I am now entering my final semester at Essex County College, where I will be receiving my degree in Social Work. I am also the proud owner of The Youthpreneur, LLC. a dedicated to providing events and entertainment specific to youth. As they set out to make me proud, I want to make them as equally proud.

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

To me, Empowerment means finding your own voice, and then helping others to find theirs. Empowerment also means investing in your community by giving back through volunteer work and community service. Girls;Live, Love, Laugh Inc. believe that Empowerment is helping your sisters; wanting for them, the same things you would want for yourself. We have an obligation to one another as sisters, and that is to pull up the next sister by providing them with the tools and resources that were afforded to us.

Fun Faves! Song? Food? Artist? Celeb Crush?

Eating Pizza, Traveling, Singing and Reading are my fun faves. My favorite song is Fantasia’s “Sometimes you have to lose to win again”. My favorite artist includes Fantasia and Pastor Shirley Caesar. My favorite celebrity crush I would have to say my husband Andre. He’s my celebrity and I have the biggest crush on him.

Check out more here…

Girls;Live,Love,Laugh Inc.