Successful Helpful Empowerment: How SHE is making a difference

By SHANNON CHRISTIAN

When she first transferred to Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., Ashley Johnson said she didn’t feel there was a sense of community. Today she is president of Successful Helpful Empowerment, an active volunteer organization on her campus.

SHE became an active volunteer organization on the campus of KSU in the spring of 2013. Johnson said that volunteering is both a hobby and something she finds relief in doing.

“It was hard for me to find female friends who had the same hobbies or mindset that I had when I arrived at KSU,” she said. “I felt that if I designed a student organization of my own, maybe I could reach out to those students that I wasn’t seeing on campus.”

Johnson said that woman empowerment and youth development are part of the organization’s platform. Dreamgirls is currently the organization’s female youth mentoring program. The program is held biweekly on Fridays at East Cobb Middle School from 4:15-6 p.m.

“The goal is to provide the students with life skills they would not receive in everyday curriculum,” Johnson said. “Various lessons are covered in the teaching plan such as bullying, healthy eating and self esteem.”

The program is free for the students at East Cobb Middle School to attend and members of SHE provide all snacks and materials for the girls.

Kameron Buckner serves as the volunteer coordinator for SHE and reaches out to various organizations on and off campus that are looking for college students to help them fulfill their volunteer needs.

“When Ashley and I came up with the idea for the Dreamgirls program, we immediately started working on a teaching plan,” Buckner said. “Once the plan was created, we took it to East Cobb Middle School to discuss it with the principal and she loved the idea.”

The principal notified Johnson and Buckner that fall 2013 would be their trial run semester for the program. SHE set up a booth at the middle school’s open house in order to promote the program in advance to parents and students that may be interested.

“We started with 21 girls and we ended up graduating 11 girls before the fall semester ended,” Buckner said. “The drop in the amount of girls had a lot to do with the fact that the girls interested in Dreamgirls were also involved in other groups at the school.”

Buckner said that she enjoys giving knowledge to the middle school students regarding future careers because as a college student she feels she is knocking on the door to her career path.

The Dreamgirls program is currently in its second semester, with plans to graduate the second group of girls at the end of May. SHE invites members of the organization to volunteer and help with the program.

“We want to help college students bond through volunteer work. You find out a lot about yourself and about other people when you’re volunteering,” Johnson said. “As an organization we plan on making an impact in the community, one school at a time.”

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