Women Wise Conference aims to empower young V.I. women
Published: October 7, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Teenage girls and young women throughout the territory will be the focus of an upcoming conference aimed at helping them live more positive and productive lives.
In the hope of providing young women in the territory with positive role models and outlets to share their concerns, the Caribbean Education Initiative will present the second annual Women Wise Conference this week.
CEI is a nonprofit organization funded by NBA star Tim Duncan created to improve education opportunities for people in the Virgin Islands, and it has a long-term goal of impacting the entire Caribbean.
Nicole Hutchins, CEI president, said the organization will host the interdisciplinary forum, during which young women of the community will be educated on various topics ranging from health and wellness to career development.
The event will take place 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Charlotte Amalie High School Auditorium and at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Educational Complex High School Auditorium.
A panel of energetic and empowering speakers are expected to engage the young women in discussions encompassing topics of life skills, conflict resolution, positive body image, partner choices and career preparation.
This year, the panelists are Juliette Jeffers, Toiya "Rudy" Isaac and Dyma Williams.
Jeffers, of New York, is a notable actress and playwright, who describes herself as a Caribbean-American person who lives to heal herself and others by shining her light and using every creative bone in her body.
She will perform her critically acclaimed solo show, "Batman and Robin in the Boogie Down." She has appeared on "Grey's Anatomy," "ER" and "Without a Trace" and has worked with well-known actors, including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Zoe Saldana and Martin Lawrence.
Rudy, of St. Thomas, has been labeled the V.I. Soca Queen and has performed on "Girl Power" and "Caribana" and has worked with the King of Soca, Machel Montano. Her versatile ability of interweaving soca, R&B and reggae music is one of a kind and can be heard throughout the Eastern United States, the Caribbean and Canada.
She is the voice behind last carnival's "Carnival Calling," and also was the USVI's 2010 Party Monarch. She has performed throughout the Caribbean, in the United States and in Canada.
Williams is a registered nurse, business owner, a mother and cancer survivor. She is currently the principal of Risk Management and Corporate Compliance at Luis Hospital. She is self-motivated and focuses on embracing all things positive and believes that there is nothing that she can not accomplish when she sets her mind to it.
The conference is specifically geared toward young women in junior high and high school, but it also could be beneficial to college-age women, Hutchins said.
Rashidi Clenance, vice president of CEI, said he was motivated almost two years ago to organize the event for young women in the territory after his involvement in the "Man Up Conference" hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands for junior high and high school boys.
He said he realized then that the community must make a very conscious effort to tailor events and activities to deter at-risk young men from getting involved in negative activity and realized that some of that energy also needs to go toward motivating young women.
He said issues that young women in the territory face today are different from what they faced 10 years ago, and the community needs to better prepare young women to deal with those issues. Young women today are faced with many of the same issues young men face, including drugs, gangs and bullying, Clenance said.
The panelists of the Women Wise Conference will share personal stories and deliver messages of empowerment that can be used as road-maps to success, according to the organizers.
Each session is expected to last 90 minutes to two hours, and both sessions are free to anyone who wants to attend.
For more information, visit CEI-USVI.org or send an email to Info@CEI-USVI.org
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.