Expo offered empowerment for teenage ‘divas’


Project Diva held its Teen Females of Color Empowerment Expo 2011 at UROC in Minneapolis 

On Saturday, February 5, Project Diva, Inc. produced the “Teen Females of Color Empowerment Expo 2011.” The expo took place at the Urban Research, Outreach and Engagement Center (UROC), located in North Minneapolis.

Project Diva, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded by Neda Kellogg in 2008. Project Diva’s focus is to deliver positive life changes for young ladies 13 to 18 years old by building self-esteem, encouraging positive peer interactions and giving back through community involvement.

The purpose of the expo was to enhance the lives of teenage girls by presenting them with positive role models willing to share their personal and professional experiences. The event featured live entertainment, games and a variety of guest speakers, which included Tracey Williams-Dillard, publisher/CEO of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) and founder of the Sister Spokesman monthly events. Close to 150 people attended the expo.

After the welcome and introduction from Neda Kellogg, the expo began with an energy boost from gospel recording artist Jovonta Patton and Deliverance For Youth (DFY), who opened with a song entitled “Greatness” from their new CD (see Entertainment page 5 for more information on the group and the CD).

Williams-Dillard followed with speaking to the young ”divas” about women of color in the media, the history of the Black press in general and the history of MSR in particular. Williams-Dillard encouraged them to read, understand and support the Black Press. Williams also highlighted the important role that the Black Press and other publications that serve communities of color play in our society.

Tanya Fitzgerald from the University of Minnesota talked about careers in public health. Cindy Nelson-Kaigama offered tips on health awareness inside and out. Tallaya Byers, with help from a volunteer, gave the Project Diva members makeup and makeover advice and demonstrations. With the exception of one short break, that three-hour nonstop program seemed to keep those in attendance captivated, educated, entertained and motivated.

Project Diva, Inc. has a full schedule of workshops, educational training and events for their members for the remainder of 2011. Traditionally, the word “diva” refers to a celebrated female singer in the world of opera. However, if you ask any of the Project Diva members what the Diva stands for, they will proudly tell you: Dignity, Integrity, Virtue and Availability.

If you are interested in learning more about Project Diva or want to become a volunteer/mentor, contact Neda Kellogg at 763-280-DIVA or www.projectdivas.com.

James L. Stroud, Jr. welcomes reader responses to jlstroud@spokesman-recorder.com.

About James L. Stroud Jr

James L. Stroud Jr. is a contributing writer and photographer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

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