Change Fellow Diaries: Meet Bianca
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that inserts integrity vision against the play-it-safer’s, the creatures of the common place, and the slaves of the ordinary.”
My name is Bianca Dawkins and I am 22 years old. I am a Youthprise Change Fellow. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I find time to take walks and self care. I come from a background of domestic abuse in my family, being raped in high school, living in a shelter, getting guns pulled to my face and much more. I was blessed to overcome these obstacles by seeking mentors and programming that lead me to keep me inspired. I am also blessed with a mother who has stood strong to give her family everything she could.
The challenges that occurred in my life are all things that help me appreciate life. I have learned to take these experiences and develop my leadership practice, in hopes to lead young people down the right path.
Our youth in the community needs leaders who will not be afraid to take on challenges that our youth cannot face alone. I want to lead our youth into promising futures, so that they can have hope again about the values in life. I want to create more unique pathways that will allow our youth to gain skills in the real world and also help them understand more about their diverse communities!
The Change Fellows was launched in 2013 and represents Youthprise’s deep investment in young people and their commitment to finding and investing in initiatives that accelerate learning beyond the classroom. Change Fellows are young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who are stirring up currents of change in their communities in Minnesota. In partnership with Studio/E, the Fellows receive professional development, community building, and the potential seed funding to implement their big ideas.
I will take my story and build a strong platform where our youth can feel safe from the heartache and pain that they deal with everyday. I will be their leader and fight for and with them leading as an example. Growing up it was very challenging to find someone who would support me consistently. People were afraid of commitment and also afraid that they were not going to be able to help me. I struggled in silence for a long time, not knowing how to express my hurt in an effective way.
I plan to make effective change in the community through Project H.O.P.E. This project will empower, inspire, directing youth towards changing their mindsets and using their strengths to produce success through own measures. This project will also bring youth from varieties of different backgrounds, which will teach them how to work better together and grow off each other’s strengths.
We can break the cycle of youth having the mindset of thinking they cannot excel, or they are not good enough. Youth want to build effective relationships and have some clear direction of their purpose in life! And this will all happen through a FASHION SHOW! Why I choose fashion? In my personal experiences it was the best form of expression I have! It is my identity! Now it’s up to you to either be a spectator or the one who will contribute to the change!
Project H.O.P.E. is having a fundraiser on Thursday, May 15th at the Walker Art Center. You can register here.