Black HERstory Reading Challenge

One of the nice things about Instagram is that you can follow people who share cool resources.  I am a resource junkie!  But I’m no hoarder – I do share.  I’ve been following a few posts on Instagram focused on #blackhistorymonth and one that stood out was a post by @hereweeread.  She shares a variety of picture books for kids, many featuring black characters, and promotes a range of authors.  In the Celebrate Sisters mentoring meetings, we always check-in with the girls on what they have been reading.  They don’t all like to read, but our goal is to help encourage reading – which sometimes means finding new ways to make it fun or finding out the types of topics they find interesting!

Last February (2018) we featured Marley Dias and #1000blackgirlbooks, and we want to continue in the spirit of promoting books featuring black characters.  This February, we are putting a spin on this and promoting #blackbooks through the #BlackHERstoryReadingChallenge.  Yes, you read it correctly.  We want to encourage reading about BLACK WOMEN who would have totally gotten the #GirlBoss tag in their day!

We will be using Black History Bingo as a guide to this challenge to our girls (and anyone who wants to join) to READ about the black women in history.   The Bingo card says “Picturebook Bingo” since it was created for younger readers.  We are modifying the challenge for all ages!  Young readers are encouraged to read black picture books, while others should read at their level!

To sweeten the deal and make the challenge more fun, we have a special prize!  One of the goals of Celebrate Sisters is to show girls positive role models by featuring girls and women who are business owners, and leaders in their fields and the community.  The winner of the #BlackHERstoryReadingChallenge will receive a collection of bracelets designed by Rockin’ Rootz Designs.  These are handcrafted unisex bracelets designed to inspire and enrich our communities through embracing our culture!  Follow them on IG @rockinrootzdesigns and see more of their collection. A few samples are pictured below!

Are you ready to join this challenge?  Here we go!  READY. SET. READ!

Follow these instructions  to be enter the drawing for the Rockin’ Rootz Gift Set!

  1.  Follow @celebratesisters on Instagram
  2.  Tag your friends to join the challenge.  We encourage doing this WITH your daughter/niece/mentee.
  3. Download Black History Bingo here.
  4. Post your Bingo Results with titles of the books and authors (so others can get book ideas for their reading list!) and don’t forget to TAG @celebratesisters
  5. You will be entered to win!

LET’S HAVE FUN!  Tag us even if you don’t get “BINGO” to show your participation and join the #GirlBoss community!

With joy and gratitude,


IMG_4873Dr. Ja’Wanda and Ms. Bianca supporting Rockin’ Rootz Designs at Unity Fest 2018 in Gulfport, MS.


A few pieces from the Rockin’ Rootz Designs custom collection


  1. Here Wee Read | Black History Picturebook Bingo |
  2. Marley Diaz | #1000blackgirlbooks |
  3. Rockin’ Rootz Designs |



September 2018

By Dr. Ja’Larna

Respect is something we all desire and want. Sometimes we expect it and sometimes we demand it. We introduced this topic at our September meeting with our mentees.  Our definition of respect is the act showing kindness and considering others. We had the girls discuss how they should be respectful to others. Also, they had a lot to say about how disrespect looks and situations in which they have felt disrespected.

Our mission is for the girls and others to know that respect not only comes by what you say, but also by your actions. Respecting others regardless of race, gender, disabilities, or social status is a must.  Essentially, it is a reflection of your character. Although you may be respectful, it does not guarantee that others will respect you in return. However, don’t let that deter you from doing what you know is best. Michelle Obama said it best; “When they go low, we go high.”

“Show respect even to people who dont’ deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” -Dave Willis


Dining with Lady Jo

We are excited to host our first dining etiquette  brunch next Saturday.  Our facilitator will be Lady Josephine Jackson of Gulfport, MS.  Celebrate Sisters Mentoring Program is for young ladies ages 10-21, but this event is open to all interested in a little Saturday etiquette class!

This is a free a event, but seating is limited! Please see the flyer for RSVP details.

We are also looking for sponsors for future events.  Are you interested in supporting a program giving young girls positive role models, leadership development, and college scholarships? If so, contact us at or call 845-238-1360.


How To S.L.A.Y.

On Saturday, September 2, Ms. Curzetta Austin will lead the girls in a session on self-esteem and motivation.  The topic of discussion will be, ‘How to S.L.A.Y.’ (flyer below).

The term “SLAY” is used when you have done something that your peers deem amazing or awesome.  SLAY often refers to when you are well put together (outfit, make-up, accessories, shoes) or when you rock a performance.  During this session, Ms. Austin will use S.L.A.Y.  to layout a few tips on how to maintain solid self-esteem and motivation to succeed!

Self-esteem is one of the biggest challenges we face as women, and it starts at a young age.  Our goal in hosting these mentoring sessions is to expose girls to various strategies for success and connect them with WONDERWOMEN who will share their experiences.

You’ll see we used the image of MOANA for this flyer.  If you haven’t seen the movie, it is AWESOME!  Moana is a young girl who struggles with following the path her family wants versus her “inner calling” and passion.  She ends ups pursuing a path that leaves her questioning who she was, and if she made the right choice.  She had to face some major fears but eventually finds her way!  MOANA definitely learned how to “SLAY”, and it took a lot of courage.  We hope that girls who connect with this program will not only discover and embrace their passions and purpose, but that they do it BOLDLY and with COURAGE!

Until then,


090217_Meeting Flyer_A


Summer Reading Challenge

As we continue to build the foundation of our mentoring program, we will continue to stress the importance of education.  Education is not defined by degrees attained, but by the knowledge attained – which is strengthened through READING!

In the summer, it is easy for kids to get very relaxed because they don’t have homework to keep them busy.  Our mother did not let us get lazy in the summer – instead, she bought us summer workbooks for reading and math.   Yes, the same way we had to complete homework before playing with toys or going outside with friends, we had to do our summer reading and workbooks!

What are some of the benefits of summer reading?

  • It helps children retain the material  learned during the school year
  • It helps ignite creative thinking and imagination which will support problem-solving
  • It helps keep children out of trouble!

To encourage young girls to read this summer, we are proud to announce our Celebrate Sisters Summer Reading Challenge!

There are two reading categories for this competition: 5th – 8th grade and 9th-12th grade.  Since we are based on the MS Coast,  this competition is limited to girls in this region at this time.  The challenge will begin on July 5 and end on August 5 and prizes will be given to the winner of each category.  Entries must be received by 11:59pm on August 5!

Here are the rules for the Celebrate Sisters Summer Reading Challenge:

  • Select books in your reading level and make sure to get parents/guardian approval for content. *For book suggestions, visit your nearest public library.
  • Keep a log of the books read and include the Book Title, Author(s), and Number of Pages.
  • Try to include at least one book that pushes reading skills to the next level.
  • Write a 1 page essay answer the following questions
    • Which book did you enjoy the most and why?
    • What have you learned from doing this reading challenge?
  • Share the summer reading book log so we can highlight how many books you have read during this challenge!
  • Email essays and book lists to and include “SUMMER READING CHALLENGE” in the subject line.
  • OR Mail to 3623 Reeves Lane, Ocean Springs, MS 39564
  • HAVE FUN!!!