We believe that we will be influential in reversing the statistics that apply to our young minority girls, one life at a time. We are "Cultivating our girls for greatness" with bimonthly meetings that focus on self esteem, health and wellness, higher education, and etiquette with a foundation of service to our immediate community and those abroad.
We teach proactive measures such as emotional management instead of fighting, how to look at circumstances in a different way, or loving one’ self instead of promiscuity. Our mentors are passionate and committed to changing our world. We, as mentors and leaders in our own community, provide guidance to our young girls, ensuring they understand that they must too, become leaders and role models in their community and give back through service.
Cultured Pearls Empowerment Group for Girls will expand in the coming years to be a physical community center that will be open for after school mentoring, learning, workshops and seminars, professional/career guidance, community resources, life coaching, health and wellness, financial independence and culture awareness. Cultured Pearls Empowerment Group for Girls will be a staple in the community, a place where young girls and women will be able be empowered with words and deed, and be influential in changing each other’s lives and their immediate community.
Since its inception in Fall 2011, Cultured Pearls Empowerment Group for Girls has provided several services for young girls ages 10-17 in the Chicago-land area. Our participants are paired with professional business women who serve as mentors and advocates; have participated in character building series and workshops and gave back to their community through community service which has included volunteering at shelters, reading to children at the library and quilt-making for expectant teen mothers.
We believe in creating a strong presence in our immediate community first, therefore, we have partnered with our local library and schools in order to be of service whenever possible. This has provided the young girls with the opportunity to have pride in their community by helping others. The girls of Cultured Pearls regularly volunteer at the local park districts annual Holiday Toy Drive and assist in coat drives with the local park district.
We, the staff of Cultured Pearls Empowerment Group for Girls know that what we are currently doing is affecting great change in the lives of these young girls personally, that will forever impact their future. We are also aware of the change that we are seeing within ourselves, for we also believe that in order to grow as individuals, we must learn from one another. We, the staff and mentors, are learning more about ourselves, by working alongside our youth.
We also know that we want to impact not only our present community, but expand to be of service to numerous communities across the globe. The young girls of our organization represent a small sample of the majority and our vision is to be of service for the complete majority in every city.
Cultured Pearls was created by Marlena Little after seeking various organizations to volunteer with and finding none that encompassed uplifting the entire individual. Growing up on the “worst” side of Chicago and
subsequently graduating from one of the top high schools in the city, Marlena Little, has devoted her time to the youth since college. Ms. Little, who is a former tutor, volunteer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Chicago and a certified teacher, identified
the common denominator of her success to her support system, her mother, who always believed in her and more importantly, verbally expressed her belief in her. The staff and mentors of Cultured Pearls Empowerment Group for Girls all share the same belief system.
· We believe that empowerment originates from education.
· We are grounded in love and free from judgment, with the understanding that everyone has the ability to teach.We are committed to our community; our immediate community and beyond. We are committed to helping others. We are committed to renewing the spirit of our own. We use the media and the world around us as teachable moments in order to show our youth that the world that they wish to live in already exists, but is yet to be seen because it takes action and work. Every person on the staff (including mentors) of Cultured Pearls Empowerment Group for Girls has a story that needs to be told. We identify with our participants because we have lived through various circumstances and situations, we have all “beat the odds” in some kind of way and we all understand that we are where we are in life in order to help others.
Separately, each member of the staff of Cultured Pearls Empowerment Group for Girls has been a servant for the youth, currently, as well as in the past. Collectively, we have brought our talents together in order to be a collection of resources for our community.