Saving Our Daughters creates the tools to get teen girls discussing key issues and fired up to take the power away from bullying, (cyber, gossip, face-to-face,…), date abuse, hate crimes, school violence, violence against women, and other esteem slayers.
Our Vision / Approach:
Saving Our Daughters is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose philosophy is to build a movement that begins with experiential literacy and effortlessly flows into recurring civil actions (words and actions).
Saving Our Daughters (SOD) initiatives focus on reaching thousands of teen girls and youth across the country with our celebrity, corporate, and community partners making it possible to spark positive activism. Our words and actions model empowers teens to forward the mission as well as further ignite their inner purpose individually or by leading a group at their home, school, or community.
SOD carries out its mission with four powerful new programs and initiatives:
As the Saving Our Daughters’ organization has launched its first patent trademark musical & film program, called Saving Our Cinderella’s, which was based last November in collaboration with the Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, in New York, which starred, Keke Palmer; the organization is enlisting many of the talented actresses in network television.
“Many of the club kids do not get to experience all that New York City has to offer, and Broadway is one of those luxuries. The opportunity to see a Cinderella that looked like them was not lost on the girls. In the days after the show, I saw them walk a little taller, smile more and reflect on the time they got to meet Keke Palmer, a girl like them. Thanks again to Saving Our Daughters!”—Danielle D. Shaw Director of Leadership Development-Madison Square Boys & Girls Club
Our objective is to offer the arts in the forms of music, drama and film to 60 selected young girls (per each designated city) who have interest in the performance arts from Title 1 schools. Title 1 schools have a population of students in which the majority of students are eligible for either reduced-fee lunch or free lunch based on socioeconomic status of the household income. In addition to helping build self-esteem, the goal of Saving Our Cinderellas on Broadway will help to break the cycle of bullying, a problem that 85 percent of girls face in school.
This project will include the participation of 60 girls ages 9 through 16 from music and drama programs in seven cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas and New York City. In partnership with corresponding Boys & Girls Clubs, Covenant House and selected elementary and middle schools in each city, we will select girls from each city.
The selections will be conducted by the music and drama departments heads and program directors of the schools and clubs, which will be done based on specific criteria listed under the curriculum section.
In addition to helping build self-esteem, the goal of Saving Our Cinderellas on Broadway will help to break the cycle of bullying, a problem that 85 percent of girls face in school.
If you like your school to participate please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bringing It to the Table, will be a unique new table discussion and mentoring component surrounding great prepared dishes, to help address the myriad of issues girls/young women (ages 17 to 20) are presently confronting: absentee parents, and homelessness residing at the Covenant House.
Bringing It to the Table will also provide a problem-solving and teaching work ethics in a restaurant, such as how to prepare selected cooking dishes with top women chefs; dress for success; and basic operations of a restaurant to offer creative strategies and advice.
- A kickoff roundtable discussion will include 5-10 girls to discuss issues such as peer pressure, education, self-esteem and body image, which will jump-start the basis of future discussions.
- Selected chefs with a life coach, will formulate a nurturing village environment focusing on girls to resolve their issues with practical advice and additional support services. Also a selected celebrity from Saving Our Daughters’ and chef will create a mouth-watering meal and continue the conversation.
- Celebrity guests will feature women who can speak in a “girl talk session” and discuss issues that they personally experienced, that lower self-esteem.
Bringing It to the Table…
The Mission of Bringing it to the Table.. is to have candid conversations surrounding cooking great dishes with young women on life’s issues that often set them back. The cooking sessions will allow the young girls to discuss their pitfalls in an open forum setting, while giving real solutions from the mentors.
It is our goal to foster closer relationships with women and their daughters and/or the younger girls that they are mentoring to ‘help give a voice to young girls’. This initiative will help promote communication skills, life coaching and community service. (note vision boards, etiquette training, life coach skills, financial, etc).
Mothers and/or mentors will sign up through the SOD website. They will register and take the pledge to participate in SOD campaigns and local community events pertaining to relative issues and topics. Participants will take the pledge to agree with our mission and values.
Each mother/woman mentor and daughter/mentee will receive SOD apparel each year. Participants will receive periodic communication (newsletter/email) from SOD regarding campaigns, community events and goals. Participants will be invited to SOD events to volunteer in their community.
Power of Words & ActionsTM Initiative adds more impact to the inspiring message of the book clubs. The largest endeavor under the Power of Words & Actions is the Oath Project (nationally led by singer/actress Keke Palmer), the driving platform to sustain a massive community of well-informed and responsive youth and adults equipped to make the bullying epidemic an issue of the past. The Oath with its 8 action steps are taken online by any individual, family, or youth group by visiting facebook.com/SavingOurDaughters or SavingOurDaughters.org.
Many of the POWERFUL women with this initiative involves young women such as Grammy Award Singer, Kelly Rowland, R&B TV ONE Diva, Keke Wyatt, R&B singer K-Michelle, Hip-Hop Moguls Trina and Charli Baltimore, just to name a few.
We value integrity, inner purpose, service, experiential learning, professionalism, and empowerment.
Saving Our Daughters, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, drives a celebrity-inspired book series and empowered community activism.
Since 1998, Saving Our Daughters’ themes have drawn from life issues and topics illuminated by popular films. The organization and book series originated from screen actors emerging out of their film roles and into open personal perspectives of the subjects prevalent with youth, especially teen girls.
Under the original name, It’s Cool to Be Smart, the organization was a solid mentoring and scholarship program based in Atlanta with affiliates in L.A., New York, Chicago, and Cleveland.
In late 2008, the founder, Curtis J. Benjamin (Curt B.) prepared to reorganize and extend the organizational mission based on overwhelming response from teen girls, their mentors, and celebrity advocates. Shortly after undertaking the new vision, Curtis and Debbie Benjamin’s youngest daughter, Iliss (photo featured above) was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor at the age of 10. The newly selected organization name, Saving Our Daughters, took on an even deeper meaning. His daughter supported and often encouraged him to continue his work even during the hardest of times with the disease. His sweet daughter lost her battle in 2011 just days after the volume, “Who Will Save the Little Girl?” was published. In Iliss’ honor, we strive to save all daughters from the issues and tragedies preventable through awareness and powerful community bonds.
Saving Our Daughters’ initiatives are one of the few to connect seamlessly the entertainment industry (popular talent from film, television, music, sports…) with a community-based forum to speak out and take action on issues relevant to teens. Our active nucleus of over 100 celebrity allies continues to grow in size and dedication almost daily.
We invite you to help us multiply the message that strength, awareness, esteem, and right action prevent bullying and abuse tragedies in our communities.
Saving Our Daughters’ Leadership Team:
Curtis J. Benjamin, Curt B., is a highly praised author and social entrepreneur. As the founder and chief executive officer of Saving Our Daughters, he is responsible for the overall direction of the organization, including growth and sustainability.
Curt B. relies on decades of experience directly advising and bridging celebrity talent with more traditionally established community organizations. He has cultivated long-term ties in Atlanta, New York, and L.A. that serve as driving forces of Saving Our Daughters’ initiatives and outreach. His keen sense of entertainment industry, combined with attentiveness to community accountability, allow him to inspire the organization’s mission with a wide degree of creative latitude.
As chief operating officer, Tavia Pauling is responsible for the strategic and operational structure of the organization, campaigns, collaborations, and programs. She designs the initiatives, including the Oath Project©, to achieve Saving Our Daughters’ strategic plan (also crafted by her). Along with the CEO, Pauling sets the overall priorities and direction of the organization.
Pauling has over 17 years not for profit executive experience working with individuals, companies, and organizations to establish and put an authentic social mission into action. In addition to providing tactical direction on Saving Our Daughters’ leadership team, she helps collaborative allies devise their own community impact and social purpose.
Jeff Griffin, owner of Build a Bigger Buzz, makes search engine and online media magic as
Saving Our Daughters’ vice president of internet marketing. A consummate professional, Griffin makes organization’s online marketing efforts align with mission focused initiatives and content. Griffin designed and executed the Saving Our Daughters’ social networking and newsletter platforms and guides the digital solutions for all of its internet properties.
Griffin’s more than 17 years as a marketing and financial executive allow him to keep the organization abreast in the ever changing world of search engine optimization. His capacity for digitally translating strategic priorities as well as coaching the leadership team toward thriving online growth is almost uncanny.
Sheena Wilder, CEO and Founder of PR Primas Public Relations Firm, is the creative and business mind behind the company’s events and accomplishments and serves as Saving Our Daughters’ charity PR arm. Born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. Sheena has never lacked the ability to successfully communicate with others. Her stellar communication and extreme professionalism has constantly made her the favorite for client needs.
Her positive attitude toward clients and ambitions for success, have continuously placed PR Primas in positions to meet and develop new relationships with individuals from all aspects of life. She was recently named one of Atlanta’s Leading Entrepreneurs in the 2014 15th Edition of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta. CEO Sheena Wilder’s expectations for PR Primas are to be more than just a dream, but a full scale perfected way of life.
Favorite Quote: I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou
Jannet Edison Southerland
With a keen eye for detail, coupled with an elegant touch and a true passion for her craft, Jannet Edison Southerland has quickly become Atlanta’s hottest event planning solution and serves as Saving Our Daughters’ event planner for Fund-Raisers. Jannet Edison Southerland is the President/CEO of JanPlans, a full scale, boutique, event planning agency. An event composed and orchestrated by Jannet is truly an unforgettable experience.! ! Hailing from Detroit, Michigan Jannet realized early that hard work and determination were the recipe for a successful business. Educated in Michigan, Jannet is a registered nurse by trade, receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Wayne State University. After many years working as an emergency room nurse and holding several key positions, Jannet received her Masters Degree in Administration from Central Michigan University. In 1989 she joined an illustrious sisterhood and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.! !
Planning events became natural for Jannet. She was always planning social events and creating nursing education curriculums. After a short time, planning events was no longer a hobby but an avenue to entrepreneurship. After relocating to Atlanta, Ga Jannet ofﬁcially launched her business, JanPlans, with an upscale red carpet event at the Bill Lowe Gallery.!!
In 2013, Jannet created the concept Detroit In Your City (DIYC). She created the concept out of a deep love for the city she was born and raised in; creating a positive eye for the city through entertainment and philanthropy. Community involvement and awareness is key for Jannet. Jannet’s goal for DIYC is to be an integral part of the revitalization of Detroit. To compliment the city and to continue to shine the spotlight, opening the gateway to a better and more vibrant existence.!!
Planning events is Jannet’s true love. Her clients marvel at the presentation, display and overall seemingly effortless organization of their event. She creates an atmosphere that their guests will be sure to boast about for some time to come.! ! Whether your vision is calling for 5 star elegance and class or a deep groove of urban, trendy, chic sophistication, Jannet Edison Southerland and JanPlans, are your absolute source for your event planning solutions!!