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Tiffany Brown mentoring and motivating young girls in Atlanta

Tiffany Brown

“Today’s young women are incredible human beings who serve an extraordinary purpose on this Earth,” says Tiffany Brown. A native of Mount Vernon, New York, young, successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, mentor and motivational speaker, Brown is the founder of The Young Belle Project Inc., whose mission is to “Build an Extraordinary, Liberated, and Luminous Essence in Young Woman,” in Atlanta through the principles of leadership, academic excellence, optimism and sisterhood. “Empower U” is the central program of the Young Belle Project, which focuses on liberating the negative perceptions young girls have about themselves and building confident young women by enhancing their interest in fashion and design through creative projects and active engagement opportunities with professionals in the field.

On Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, in Atlanta, the Young Belle Project is hosting the Be-You Brunch: Re-Creating a Better You for a Better Future. Organizers aim to expose high-school girls to the struggles and achievements of young successful women.

Here, Tiffany Brown offers insight on TYBP, its partnerships and principles of leadership.

How did you come up with the name Young Belle?
While crafting the name, there were some key elements in consideration. I wanted it to be a [feminine] acronym, and a word that was significant, independent of the acronym. I searched and finally came across BELLE — ladies who are innovative and progressive. They represent a new movement of thinkers and doers. With that said, I established the mission of “Building an Extraordinary, Liberated & Luminous Essence in Young Women” for The Young Belle Project, Inc.

Why is this program important?
In my view, the world depends on strong women to raise strong children. To achieve that, women must develop confidence in one’s self, one’s abilities and compassion for others, and a drive to achieve one’s desired dreams.

Unfortunately, many young women do not get the opportunity to develop these characteristics because of life-stressors. They are short-changed within their communities and sometimes can only see as far as the corners in front of them. With organizations such as The Young Belle Project, Inc. we work within these communities, we understand the hardships and the disadvantages because we too have experienced it in our own lives. We are made up of a collation of young women who desire to inspire other young women. This program is important because it provides a focus for hope and making dreams a reality. We do not sell these dreams; we construct them. We take young women give them the essentials and tools they need to plan out successful lives for themselves. We then ensure they are centered and surrounded by other individuals who support and contribute to their future reality. We are important because they are important. Our future is our Youth, and programs similar to The Young Belle Project, Inc. are ensuring succession within these futures.

What are some of the principles of leadership that are important to this group of young ladies?
Within our organization, we strive to uphold, teach, train, and educate our four key principles. We encourage the young ladies of The Young Belle Project, Inc. to take these principles and implement them into their everyday lives

– Leadership: To build character and foster phenomenal leaders for the community.
– Academic Excellence: To motivate and aide in the commitment for outstanding academic achievement and continued education.
– Optimism: To expand the perspectives of young girls, to give them hope and awareness of life’s possibilities and opportunities.
– Sisterhood: To frame young girls in a devoted, enthusiastic, and structured environment, where they can find positive guidance and professional support.

If there was one thing you hope these young ladies get from this experience, what is it?
Within the Fashion and Design program, the young ladies are learning how to construct their own ready-to-wear pieces. The purpose of this program is to educate the ladies on differences, while encouraging them to uplift their own unique qualities and abilities with confidence. I want them to understand that everyone is special, embarks on different journeys at different times and along different paths. I want them to take away from this program that they each have a purpose in life, and no matter what they may encounter daily or in the future, they have to strive to stay focused on the plan they set out in front of themselves.

Who inspired you growing up?
Growing up, my mother inspired me. At the age of one, I lost my father to a heart attack. I grew up watching my mother make all the sacrifices in the world to ensure me and my brother were provided for. We never went without and when she didn’t have, she found. I grew watching a woman with extreme faith; she never stopped believing in herself and always strived to make a difference in the lives of others. She knew what she wanted and obtained it, she established her own family day care and has been in business ever since I was five-years-old. My mother has been a wonderful role model, not only to me, but to the community where I was raised. She has been honored with distinguished awards and recognized as a true partner in community development. She always made sure I understood the importance of hard work and following my dreams. Even today, I still don’t understand how she managed to do it all, but she did. These events in my life have instilled a desire to want to make a difference, encourage change, and implant hope in people.

How are the young ladies recruited for the program?
The Young Belle Project, Inc.’s central program “Empower University” is housed at The John Hope Community Center located on Larkin Street near Castleberry Hill Apartments. Our young ladies are frequent visitors of the center, which offers other programs. We also receive referrals from other community programs and agencies who feel they have young ladies who can benefit from Empower “U”. We are currently building relationships with Atlanta Public School and Department of Juvenile Justice to receive referrals.

A Clark Atlanta University alumna, Tiffany Brown earned her bachelor’s in psychology and is currently pursuing her master’s in social work.

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