Today we’d like to introduce you to Jasmine Adams.
Jasmine, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a twenty-four-year-old educator born and raised on Chicago’s Southside. I have spent the last five years of my life working with children ages six to twenty-two. My life was changed when I worked closely with a young girl named Briana, who was an eight-year-old from Oberlin, Ohio. In conversations with the young girl, I realized all of the trauma that Briana had experienced at a young age. From hearing stories of the difficult life she had lived as a young child, to the ways that she referred to herself and her future. I began to realize that I had to do something to make space for Black girls like Briana to feel loved, valued and affirmed.
After graduating from Oberlin College with a degree in Sociology, I came back home to work as a fourth-grade teacher in the neighborhood that she grew up which allows her the time and space to affect the lives of Black girls on a daily basis. However, after working from 8pm-3pm, Monday through Friday, I realized that I wanted to dedicate my life to the work that I had done with Black Girls. Therefore, I founded the organization Black Girl BeYOUtiful. I created Black Girl BeYOUtiful to be a space where young Black girls can be unapologetically them. As a Black woman who experienced trauma throughout my life, I understand the necessity of breaking the cycle of trauma that many Black girls experience in order to help them develop into healthy, whole, BeYOUtiful adults.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The vision and dream of my organization was something that came naturally due to my experiences and the experiences I noticed being an educator. However, being ready to found and run a non-profit organization while being a full-time educator has been a tough road for me. I have had to learn time management skills, how to hire a team and how to ensure that I am sticking to deadlines for my organization while having to do those same things for my job as a teacher. For women just starting the journey, I would tell them that it is okay to be messed up. In learning how to be your own boss, the road will be bumpy. But if you are someone like me who prayed for an opportunity to make a change in some way then you cannot be mad at God giving you the desires of your heart. You just have to stay focused and get the job done!
Alright – so let’s talk work. Tell us about Black Girl BeYOUtiful – what should we know?
Black Girl BeYOUtiful is a Chicago based organization started in 2017. It aims to teach young girls ages 6-21 about self-love and the beauty they possess inside. Through weekly workshops, service learning projects, and a mentorship program, Black Girl BeYOUtiful strives to set the world on fire with authentic, individual black girlhood. Black Girl BeYOUtiful is a space for black girls to be themselves, share their life experiences and build bonds with girls who share similar experiences as them. While also helping Black girls develop into agents for social change in their own communities. In a world where beauty is bought and sold, it is critical for Black girls to know that the real beauty lies within.
We are known for the work we do in the community with young girls as well as the events that we host which seek to create an intergenerational dialogue about what it means to be a woman and of color. As a brand, I am most proud of our launch event that occurred in February of this year. it was stressful planning the event but I was able to “pamper” 50-60 Black women and girls and show them that they really matter to this world. The feedback was so humbling and beautiful that it took away from the fact that I was exhausted from planning everything! What sets Black Girl BeYOUtiful apart from other organizations is that there are no qualifications for you to be apart of the organization. Oftentimes, I feel like there are so many stipulations that hinder people from being involved with non-profits. With us, it’s just come as you for the most part.
Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a mentor requires you to get out of your comfort zone and really become knowledgable on people who have been doing the work that you have been doing for years. It also requires humbleness. Oftentimes, I think that people are so eager to prove that they are better than someone else that they fail to realize that you are only as good as those around you who support you and lift you up. It’s the same thing for networking except for my main piece of advice for that is BE YOURSELF. As someone who naturally is colorful and energetic and friendly I used to be so afraid to walk into a room of people I did not know and interact with them but I have realized that SO many people are looking for folks being their authentic selves. Networking reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” When you get ready to network, it is best to authentically market your organization or product, etc. because that is what people are going to remember. If you and your light don’t align with what you’re doing, people will not buy into it. It will not last.
- Black Girl BeYOUtiful School Workshop $500
- Black Girl BeYOUtiful “She” T Shirt $30
- Black Girl BeYOUtiful Logo T Shirt $30
- Black Girl BeYOUtfiul Button 2/$5 1/$3
- Black Girl BeYOUtiful Journal $15
- Website: blackgirlbeyoutiful.com
- Phone: 7734403953
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackgirlbeyoutiful/?hl=en
Photographs by Ashton Stanford, Instagram @_ashtonty