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Fly Girl Network seeks to empower young African-Americans

Stacy M. Brown | 10/21/2016, 6 a.m.
Tiffany Ginyard is adamant that a strong sense of perceived self-efficacy is an important and contributing factor to both the ...
Fly Girl Network founder Tiffany Ginyard (sitting left) with Fly Girls Network volunteer Danielle S. Lee (sitting middle), assistant principal, KASA Middle/High School, and fly girls celebrate at the organizations annual Family & Friends Cookout. Journalist and former public school teacher, Ginyard has dedicated her life's work to being a resource, a coach and a big sister to any young woman who crosses her path at the Fly Girl Network. Courtesy Photo

— Tiffany Ginyard is adamant that a strong sense of perceived self-efficacy is an important and contributing factor to both the prevention of diminished self-concept and self-sufficiency in young adulthood.

And, when the former teacher who now works for the Baltimore Times started the nonprofit, The Fly Girl Network in 2010, she did so with a mission to create opportunities for development and enterprise for young women by providing the resources that would position them for promising futures.

The organization offers mentorship to local women, particularly African-Americans to fill any gaps left by broken homes, foster care or in those who might encounter other disadvantages.

Ginyard says the Fly Girl Network represents a valuable resource for any young woman who might be trying to cope with adolescence.

The nonprofit serves young women by hosting and sponsoring social, academic and cultural events and activities designed to strengthen adolescent and young adult females, helping them to make positive and productive decisions that could help lead to a bright future.

“I’ve realized by my upbringing how important it is to have access to support services, and how important it is to help push our young women forward,” said Ginyard, whose organization will host 30 young women at its inaugural Fly & Fearless Empowerment Conference at Stratford University from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, 2016.

Ginyard, a Baltimore City College graduate says the purpose of the event is to inspire young women to fall in love with themselves and to live fearlessly in pursuit of their wildest dreams. The event’s theme is “First Love You,” and its goal is to encourage participants to engage in candid conversations about being a female.

Workshops will be held on topics that reflect the core values of The Fly Girl Network including: self-awareness, integrity, courage, enterprise, spirit, poise, service and sisterhood, according to Ginyard.

“Our goal is to make this event free for all young ladies living in underserved communities and low-income families interested in attending,” she said. “I’ve expanded the age from 13 to 17 to 14 to 24 because we realized that we can’t stop when a girl graduates high school. Life is now real for them because they’re on their own and they have to find their resources and some of them have children.”

Among the programs and services, the nonprofit offers are the BMF Media Institute, which Ginyard says is an

enriched experience in media production, social development, and service learning. Through that service, young women learn concepts in several disciplines including media literacy, journalism, podcasting, photography, videography, and creative writing. Participants also publish their own works using video, audio, and the Internet.

Ginyard noted that it is for African-American girls to be themselves in a culture that discourages individuality. So, as part of the organization’s mission to encourage young black women to cultivate their own concept of beauty that embraces their own skin and enhances the beauty within, The Fly Girl Network offers a program called The Butterfly Profiles Project, where participants express their personal statements of beauty through videography and photography.

“I don’t profess to know it all but we’re raised to compete as black women with the media images and we’re raised to keep a certain façade up,” Ginyard said. “On the inside, however, there are insecurities that needs to be cleaned up.”

To further her effort to inspire a coalition of healthy, purpose-driven and confident young women, Ginyard insists that those who work with her Fly Girl Network are prepared to offer more than just mentoring and coaching services.

“Transportation is needed. I’m a strong believer in a grassroots approach because I’ve been doing this work for 15 years and I know that transportation is a really big thing and if people can’t get around, if it’s not convenient, they won’t do it and these girls need transportation and we must have mentors and coaches who are willing to provide that transportation,” Ginyard said.

For more information about the Fly Girl Network, or to sign up or to become a volunteer, and details about its upcoming conference, visit: www.theflygirlnetwork.org.