Debra Nelson wants to see young young girls of color flourish. She's raising two daughters in Oakland, and wants them to have opportunities to shine. "I'm grateful for having parents who modeled faith, dedication to education, strong work ethics and 'giving back' to the community. I want to pass those lessons on to the next generation" says Debra. That's why she started a new non-profit organization called Butterfly Queens Youth Leadership Academy with a mission to:
"empower girls of color to spread their wings, find their voices and develop into Butterfly Queens who, destined for greatness, will contribute to the positive changes within our communities and beyond."
The program features an online and face-to-face learning model where "Budding Butterflies" receive mentorship, public speaking skills development, interpersonal relationship enhancement, and leadership opportunities through community service.
Debra is launching this non-profit on top of a busy career in the public sector, so figuring out how to put up a website to reach girls and community supporters was a little more than she felt she could handle without help. So Debra called Hack the Hood and was paired up with Jose, a 17 year-old graduate of Hack the Hood's boot camp. Jose and Debra worked together to get the organization's website ready for Butterfly Queen's launch on April 11. The site is vibrant and colorful, matching Debra's outgoing personality, but it also showcases the skills Jose's been learning over the past 8 months through Hack the Hood. Of her experience Debra writes, "Jose has been a Godsend, with his insightful ideas, commitment to professionalism and easy-to-work-with personality."
If you'd like to learn more about Butterfly Queens check out their new website butterflyqueens.com or stop by their Inaugural Launch this Saturday, 11am-1:30pm at the 81st Avenue Library. Jose will be there with his little sister, who will be the programs first Latina "Butterfly Queen!" Virtuous circles abound at Hack the Hood.
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