BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The girls who walk through the doors of the local ShePower Leadership Academy often go in with little sense of direction or self-confidence and often do not have opportunities to develop business and leadership skills.
But that is what the academy is for, and now some of those lessons learned are being applied as two girls have put together the academy’s first-ever Valentine’s Day fundraiser.
12-year-old Miniyah Diaz Clark, who makes the pretzels along with 9-year-old Olivea Sky McIntyre, who makes the cakes, said they wanted to go on a trip and figured they would use their business ideas to fundraise for it.
“Our first trip will probably be to Washington DC to go see the White House because we have been very excited to go see it,” said Olivea, ShePower Leader.
For Olivea, not only is she confident enough to sell her ideas now, but the leadership program has helped her deal with bullies at school.
“When I started, I really didn’t want to talk, I really didn't have many friends, but now a year has gone by, and I have gotten really brave and love talking to other girls.”
Miniyah Diaz Clark has also taken what she’s learned into her daily life. “Talk in front of a crowd and do things you never thought you would do, like start a business or anything.”
Now both of those goals, that not long ago seemed impossible, have a checkmark next to 12-year-old Miniyah’s list of accomplishments.
For the mentors at the academy, they know many of these girls have not been exposed to financial skills, which is why they have such a big focus on business.
“You are being able to be taught by a leadership academy and then in return that child can go back and share it with their parents or their family and that closes that gap,” said Ora Frink, Executive Director of ShePower Leadership Academy.
It is making that change in these two girls.
“Once you have a mentor by you and coaching you through everything is good,” said Miniyah, ShePower Leader.
Finally, heavyweight champ Jack Johnson made history, becoming the first African American man to hold a world heavyweight champion boxing title in 1908; he held onto the belt until 1915.
As we continue to highlight African Americans’ contributions here locally and nationally, we looked up a few facts on famous individuals in the Black community who were the first to be recognized in their careers for certain accomplishments.
First, the first Black self-made millionaire was born back in 1867; Madam C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and went on to invent a line of African American hair care products.
Next, the first Black billionaire comes well before Oprah Winfrey. Robert Johnson amassed a fortune after selling the cable station he founded, Black Entertainment Television, or BET, in 2001.
When it comes to athletics, the first Black professional baseball player in the MLB was Jackie Robinson. Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and led the league in stolen bases during the 1947 season; he was also named rookie of the year.