The teen, now 16, volunteered to join the Ludacris Foundation, JC Penney, and John Casablancas to host the 1st Annual #ME event to instill that sense of self-empowerment, self-discovery, and self-love to about 60 young girls within the metro Atlanta region.
Hosted at The Gathering Spot on March 25, the event helped school-age girls construct a higher sense of being through four main portals: Branding One’s Self, Creating Your Own Personal Style and Discovering the You Inside of You and a Fashion Show.
“It’s about women empowerment,” Karma Bridges said. “It’s about inclusion, it’s about love and loving being a woman and loving the things we can do. It’s about developing the best part of ourselves so that we can go into the world and show the best part of ourselves. It’s a really good experience, it’s fun and it’s all about love and sisterhood.”
JC Penney partnered with the Ludacris Foundation as the retail sponsor that gifted clothes for each of the girls so that they can rock the runway with their own personal styles.
After an opening motivational speech from Rhavynn Drummer, the casting director for Tyler Perry Studios, the girls were then broken into four rotating groups that would enhance their metamorphosis from adolescents into powerful young women, said Ludacris Foundation president Roberta Shields.
1. Elevator speeches: Shields said each girl was assigned to come up with the five most important values and present that in a timed speech. The exercise helped the girls develop a clearer sense of what they value most and want in life.
2. Walk with confidence with the assistance of a catwalk coach. “They are learning who they are what they stand for and what their core values are. And then they are going to go and empower themselves,” said project manager Hannah Cassimer.
3. Vision board: Shields conveyed how the girls developed their vision boards so that they can leave the facility knowing what their brands to be. “We want them to understand what their brand is, how you control your brand and control the narrative of your brand,” she said. “And that you don’t go in that direction if that’s not who you are. In this workshop, they are wowing me.”
4. Glam and makeup shots: The women had their make up done by volunteer makeup specialists and then received glamor shots by professional photographers.
At the end of the rotating sessions, as the parents returned to pick up their daughters, the parents witnessed each girl participate in a dynamic fashion show and walk the runway in the clothes provided by JC Penney.
The goal of the afternoon event was to alter the girls’ personal paradigms to enhance their confidence to go out and create a powerful reality for themselves and others as they enter adulthood.
“What we’re really learning to do is, the underlying message, is attitude enhancement,” Shields said. “How you own your own style, how you own your own body weight, and that no matter what shape you are, you can rock a runway, and you need to take that (mentality) with you no matter what room you walk into.”
And this is how you help to create empowered young girls who go on to become world changers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and dignitaries, Ludacris said.
“We want to highlight the importance of leadership, education, self-discovery, and self-love,” the rapper-actor said. “It is so important that we all, especially young ladies, dare to dream and manifest those dreams in ways that move our families, communities, society and the world forward.”
The Ludacris Foundation was officially established in December 2001 to sustain Ludacris’ commitment to making a difference in the lives of youth and families. The organization was created to help young people achieve their dreams through the encouragement of ‘Principles of Leadership and Success’.
“At The Ludacris Foundation, our mission is to help youth. We aim to show young people that they are the builders of their future,” Shields said.