After producing a rewarding diversity leadership residency at Virginia Commonwealth University in Fall 2013, I’m thrilled to return next week (February 3-7, 2014) to expand the work that we started - training students to be culturally and socially competent leaders in our global community. Learn more about my mission to empower and connect communities around the world. One world is possible. Join us! www.globalinstituteforchange.com
CHANGE AT RICHMOND. Just wrapped another amazing residency at Virginia Commonwealth University! So grateful to the students, faculty and staff for giving me an opportunity to expand the diversity and leadership work that I love. It’s more than a job….it’s my mission! #SOLDIERS4CHANGE #WENEEDLOVE #BEINGTHEBESTYOUTHATYOUCANBE
Yewande with Gheeza’s family who prepared a feast in her honor for bringing clothes and school supplies to the family and village. All of the children gathered around to watch the “mazunga” (foreigner) eat on the red clay soil in the water village.
Yewande holding a newborn baby in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, rape and abuse are commonplace in some of these impoverished communities where women are not allowed to use contraception. This baby was the 5th child for a woman who dwelled in a shack in La Loma.
Today was a day that I know Dr. King would’ve been proud of! Pics of me and my babies after performing excerpts of my social justice musical “Amazing Grace” at the MLK Dream Showcase in Harrisburg, PA. These kids right here? They got all of my heart. Period
I LOVE WHAT I DO! In a society that grooms us to believe that acquisition of wealth equates success, I’m so BLESSED to have a career path that allows me to empower students and professionals to be their BEST (hey, that rhymes)! Anyhow…I’m on the next stop of the “Change Rocks” Tour in Harrisburg, PA for a two week youth empowerment residency with BARAK, Inc. and the Harrisburg School District with these amazing students. There’s nothing more life affirming than for young people to say they “want to be like you when they grow up”. But when I hear their inspiring stories, all I can think is how I want to be more like THEM!
Yewande is excited to announce the launch of her “Change Rocks” College Tour! It’s been nearly 10 years since she started lecturing and performing at colleges across America and she is AMPED about taking DIVERSITY, LEADERSHIP and SOCIAL ACTIVISM to another level! She has worked so hard to get back to my purpose and now she gets to share that journey with thousands of young change agents across the country. She is kicking off the tour at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and will continue with dates in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, Indiana, Georgia, the Bahamas, Nigeria and MORE! Come check her out in a city near you….you might just catch a fever for the flavor of CHANGE!
BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE! I’m honored to share that I was recently nominated as a 2013 CNN Hero for my foundation’s (www.changerocksfoundation.com) work using music and arts education to empower vulnerable youth with critical life skills across Africa. While I’m blessed to do the work I’ve been called to do since 2006, it often feels like my efforts are never enough. I receive messages from youth that have participated in our programs weekly and sometimes daily. These courageous soldiers, many of whom have been orphaned, abused and forgotten by society ask for absolutely NOTHING but to express their gratitude for the lessons they learned in our programs and share their amazing progress in the midst of adversity that would break most of us in America. Their only wish is to further their dreams through greater opportunities with my foundation. But it’s not that easy. Sadly I’m reminded DAILY that doing good things in the world is often the most difficult. It’s a real struggle, but I refuse to let that get in my way!
While I’ve funded most of these projects out of my own pockets and small grants have helped to offset some costs, poor health and a struggling economy have slowed our progress significantly, but winning a CNN Hero award would give me the chance to continue my life’s mission - to give every child a chance to be the leader they were born to be. So as I remain laser focused on my master plan to expand the work I started in 8 countries with over 10,000 youth, student leaders and advocates, I thank the angel that thought my work was worthy of such an esteemed nomination. The real fight has just begun and I promise to leave no soldier behind.
Yewande with children who just finished cooking dinner in this outdoor kitchen. This is unfortunately a very common sight to see children who run the households after their parents have died, very often from AIDS or other treatable illnesses. To ensure their survival and that of their siblings, orphans sometimes relinquish an education to run the house, farm or even sell their innocence.