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 inspiring programs and campaigns for girls from multicultural backgrounds.
Programs and campaigns below:
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, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Irvin Texas. 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
In January of 2014, the Saving Our Daughters organization had the opportunity to collaborate with the talented & powerful mom & wife, Ms. La La Anthony on introducing her new first book, The Love Playbook. Lala’s commitment included inviting young ladies from the Covenant House Georgia and New York City, to be a vital part of her opening book signings at Barnes and Nobles. That experience a year ago still weighs large with the Covenant House Georgia; and in 2015, has created a powerful dialogue, to start a new innovative reading program. This unique storytelling series is called, To Save Our Daughters/Covenant House Georgia, Celebrity Reading Circle and will be starting in late September early October, on selected Thursdays’, once a month at the Covenant House.
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication known to humankind. It engages the imagination, stimulates listening skills, and establishes an emotional connection between the storyteller/reader and listener.
The Reading Circle program will be designed to provide an opportunity for young girls to participate in an activity that many of them have never experienced: having an adult read to them. Many of us remember as children having our parents or loved ones read a beloved story.
Research shows that this simple activity enhances literacy and language skills and above all else, who doesn’t enjoy hearing a good story?
Selected celebrity women philanthropist will read to the young ladies of the Covenant House from their favorite works of fiction, non-fiction, or works that they have written, while interjecting feeling, expression, and emotion into their presentations
The lasting impact on the young ladies who participate in the Reading Circle will be heightened self-awareness, increased self- confidence, and improved communication.
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).
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.
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 curriculum. 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!!
Los Angeles native, Gwendolyn Priestley, started her foray with the entertainment industry at the top. On a brief visit to Los Angeles, Gwen met Public Relations guru, Bob Gibson. Gibson, the president and CEO of the Group, one of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious PR and marketing companies, decided that Gwendolyn would be his new protégé’. Within a year, Gwen left her position as Public Affairs Director at WNOL-TV in New Orleans and became a publicist at the Group.
While at the Group, she worked with top-notch artists including, Bette Midler, Melissa Etheridge, Gloria Estefan, Mark Walberg, New Kids on The Block, Tupac Shakur, Carol King, Vanessa Williams, Natalie Cole and MC Hammer as well as the Regal Theatre of Chicago, and NBA stars, James Edwards and AC Green of the Los Angeles Lakers. Her duties included writing and generating press releases to all national media outlets, tour press, and booking for broadcast media. Other duties included strategic marketing functions, finding sponsorship opportunities, product placement and endorsements.
After several years at the Group, Gibson encouraged Gwen to take the plunge and try her hand in corporate America. Motown Records recruited Gwen, where she was named National Director of Public Relations and Artist Development. While at Motown, Gwen supervised the PR department, public relations budgets, and co-created PR campaigns for label artists Queen Latifah, Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Temptations to name a few. Additionally, she was responsible for hiring outside PR companies and booking artists for all major media outlets. “When you work with artists like Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross that’s as good as it gets,” said Priestley of her tenure at Motown.
Soon after Motown, No Limit Records’, Master P hired Gwen. While at No Limit, she was responsible for PR and marketing strategies for rap artists Master P, Silkk the Shocker, Romeo and Mystikal. In addition to the music projects at No Limit, Gwen also worked on the film, I’m Bout It, which was Master P’s first film endeavor.
Eager to return to her agency roots Gwen decided to go back to her home at the Group. Soon after her return, Bob Gibson, her mentor, decided to retire passing the company on to Gwen and Patti Mitsui, another seasoned publicist at the Group. The partners changed and so did the name. The Group became PRP and they started producing as well as continuing in PR. With the change came new clients including Carol King, Ralph Tresvant, Angie Stone, Smokie Robinson, Mo Nique, Jamie Foxx’s Laffapalooza, Oscar nominated producers, Suzanne dePasse and Stuart Benjamin (Ray), AFTRA, The NAACP Image Awards, The Essence Awards, and the Entertainment Industry
Foundation. “My duties at PRP changed and were more of a challenge as a partner [for the last five years],” she shares. Not only has she been responsible for creating and implementing both PR campaigns and marketing strategies. She was also responsible for generating clients, hiring and facilitating the training of staff and every aspect of running a PR office.
Additionally, Gwen has produced several events within the entertainment industry, including the Urban Network Conference in Palm Springs as well as the annual event in Memphis. In addition, she produced the 50th Anniversary celebration of Motown Records, A Tribute to Berry Gordy. On the Philanthropic side, she produced the annual fundraiser for the Childshare Foundation, raising over a hundred thousand dollars on the silent auction alone. Additionally, she works with the Grammy in the Schools program placing entertainers with various community outreach programs. As well as produced a major fund raiser for UNCF in Washington DC during inaugural week.
Other projects include, producing Summer Soul Jam, annual music and community event held in Compton. Summer Soul Jam has performances from A list artists and politicians as part of the program. Additionally, Gwen co produces Los Angeles premiere urban event, A Taste of Soul. This event brings over 375,000 people to Crenshaw Blvd. The Taste of Soul is the largest event of its kind in the US.TOS is a community based event that is heavily partner with the elected officials in the state of California, from the Mayor’s office to the Attorney General of California. Gwen is also on the board of the Urban Born Foundation, Waste Not Want Not Foundation and Advisory Board of the California Women’s Conference.
Gwen has been working with multi-platinum entertainer Percy Miller once again. But this time she has taken on the role as producer, executive VP of his media company. With P she has been able to really show her talents and relationships. Gwen has help to create reality TV shows for the company as well as overseeing the day to day operations of the philanthropic efforts of the company. Presently, Gwen is helping to rebuild schools in New Orleans as well as co-producing the Urban Born National School Tour. Currently, she has taken on the role as manager for Romeo Miller, guiding his career into its next stage of stardom. She has also just completed her first book, Ladies First. A book on modern day etiquette for todays woman.
Joining her dear friend and colleague, Ginger Campbell, Gwen has taken on the role of generating and implementing new business with Snap productions. At Snap Gwen and Ginger tackle some of the biggest and most successful events held in the country to date. Just recently she worked the BET EXPERIENCE for AEG.
Because philanthropy is such a part of Gwen’s life she has just completed coordinating the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Revlon Run Walk for Women in Los Angeles and
New York City. The RRW is in its twentieth year and has raised over 70 million dollars for breast cancer awareness. The event was hosted by Emma Stone, Cristina Applegate, Bruce Willis and Halley Berry. In keeping with her philanthropic passion, this summer she also coordinated the international telethon, Stand Up To Cancer. This year’s Stand Up raised over 109 million dollars for cancer research. The show was hosted and Executive Produced by Gwynneth Pathrow. Gwen will return this year taking on the same responsibilities.
Gwen is alumni of Southern University in Baton Rouge and is also a former Miss Bayou Classic. She created the Clothe the Survivors campaign with some of her colleagues for the Santa Monica Red Cross as a response to Hurricane Katrina. Gwen is an active member of the Agape International Spiritual Center; she lives in Marina del Rey, California where she enjoys yoga, hiking and spending time with her close family and friends.