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 three powerful initiatives.
The foundational book clubs entitled —
“Who Will Save the Little Girl?” stem from a series of six book volumes on issues relevant to the teen girl population.
The momentous second initiative —
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.
The most enduring initiative —
YELL Confidence (Youth Empowered Learning & Leadership) includes a re-energized set of outreach programs that have been part of SOD’s work in some fashion since its inception. It hones community engagement, public awareness, and the dedication to give power to teens.
We know that inter-generational power sharing is an essential tool in all solutions for the challenges our world faces. YELL Confidence supports Saving Our Daughters’ mission by bridging us old folks with focused groups of youth/young adults to engage them in creative learning and leadership experiences. YELL Confidence groups are then charged with using the powerful messages they’ve learned and sharing their unique experiences to help millions of peers take power away from esteem slayers, grow a vigorous sense of self worth, and lead fiercely confident lives.
Currently, there are three action programs under YELL Confidence— Lunch & Learn, Catalysts, and I AM HERE Allies. Each targets specific age groups with methods that ignite youth engagement in our organization and in their own communities.
YELL Lunch & Learn — Sponsored by TGI FRIDAYS, Jackmont Hospilitality in Atlanta Georgia-SOD teams seasoned professionals with teens to explore education, career, and advocacy options that reveal to youth their own talents to be honored and celebrated.
YELL Catalysts — SOD works with focused groups of teens via interactive knowledge sessions to develop their distinctive community message that they are empowered as buddies and catalysts to share with preteens and younger children.
YELL I AM HERE Allies — SOD equips teens and young adults with tools and very eager adult allies to help heighten awareness of social issues and create positive impact. In a world where pop culture images and phenomena are prevalent, SOD believes it is essential to help youth navigate the entertainment and reality realms and exercise accountability in their own lives and globally.
Together, these initiatives are designed to mobilize teen and adult activists pledging to be informed and take right action to give power to their own lives and their communities.
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.
A Beautiful poem presented in Iliss’s Memory from her mom Debbie in Volume 7
Losing My Child
I take each day one at a time, Praying to God for strength of losing my child. I miss her smiles, hugs and laughs, Just to hold her once more in my arms would be such a blast. She fought through the grip of cancer pains, Believing in love, hope and a healing change. She loved creating art with beautiful colors, Giving and sharing, all the time, with others. Appreciating God’s beauty all around us, Hoping to get well enough, just to be on her school bus. I think of her when I see the color pink, And other items she loved, like the bling. Pushing through as I think of how brave she was, Refusing to give up “just because”. My mind tries to understand this hurt at different moments, Realizing it doesn’t matter. Faith provides peace, among the tears and pity party chatter. The great news is that the hurt and pain can subside, When running God’s race to get to His prize. I will continue to encourage others, to push forward through what makes them sad. Letting all know that the refining process will not always last. As I wait to see Iliss Marie again, My God already told us how to win
Saving Our Daughters offers books, scholarships, and action plans for schools, faith groups, community organizations, and coalitions to apply turnkey initiatives.
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.
Social Media Coordinator & Event Coordinator
Brittany Barry was born and raised in Wichita Kansas. She dropped out of High School in her Junior Year where she then became a member of The Urban League to finish her education in 2004. She Then moved to Atlanta Georgia where she discovered Entertainment, and Fashion. Then became a Student at The Art Institute of Atlanta where she received her Associates in Production Audio/Video Engineering. Brittany Joined Saving Our Daughters in 2012, and has taken over our Social Media pages by storm. She has created and maintained relevant social media accounts. Develop Innovative and creative media content across social media platforms. Our social media is continuing to grow and reach out to our youth and young women worldwide. Brittany has worked with several different entertainment companies and other non-profit organizations in Atlanta. In addition to coordinating social media, she has also taken the roll as Saving Our Daughters Special Event Coordinator. She is responsible for setting up fundraising events with our partners, creating new programs and projects, as well as coordinating our 1st Annual Yell Confidence Awards.