Mainstreet Daily News, Taryn Ashby and Seth Johnson
December 29, 2022
With 2022 winding down, the Mainstreet Daily News staff selected what we consider the top feature stories of the year.
There are an abundance of interesting events and people that bring life to the community and can easily be overlooked by the daily news cycle. Plus, our audience is growing. So whether you are re-reading these stories or reading them for the first time, we think they are worth your time here at the end of the year.
Mainstreet Daily News
August 18, 2022
Mainstreet Daily News, Seth Johnson
February 6, 2022
Shareen Baptiste has a vision that extends throughout Gainesville and across state lines: She wants to see junior high and high school girls dream beyond the four walls of their classroom or bedroom.
Through Dream on Purpose, Baptiste and others are assisting high schoolers in Gainesville find confidence to dream.
The nonprofit started after a conversation between Baptiste and a mentor in Orlando spotlighted the problem—kids without hope in the future.
“I’m oriented around solving problems, so immediately I was just like ‘Well, that’s a problem. Let’s do something about it,’” Baptiste said in a phone interview.
January 11, 2022
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – The Florida College Access Network is launching its initiative for students at an Alachua County high school.
Eastside High School students making plans for their next step in education can attend the Cash for College event.
FCAN and partners want graduating students to take advantage of the free application for federal student aid.
All you have to do is attend the event with your parent or legal guardian, bring the required information and complete the application.
All students who attend and complete their FAFSA application get a free gift card.
The event goes from 6 to 8 p.m. at Eastside High School.
The Gainesville Sun, Guest columnist Teneeshia Marshall
October 19, 2021
In the powerful words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” In the end, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. will not be synonymous with silence.
Instead, these 125,000-plus college-educated, dynamic, community-service driven, diverse and professional women are using their powerful voices to cause a cacophonous sound against domestic violence that reverberates across generations and throughout time.
“Under ordinary circumstances, domestic violence is more prevalent among Black women than White, Latina or Asian women, according to statistics from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Four in 10 Black women experience physical abuse and … are more likely to endure psychological abuse, such as humiliation, bullying, name-calling, coercion and control,” according to Essence, America’s largest minority-focused magazine.
The Gainesville Sun, Danielle Ivanov
June 30, 2021
Free sessions for one-on-one help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA, begin for Alachua County on Thursday, thanks to the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce’s Alachua County Education Compact.
Through the Cash for College initiative, current or prospective students and their families can learn about the financial benefits of completing FAFSA, get counseling and computer access to fill out the form itself and receive a $25 gift card for completing an application at one of the six sessions, according to Ian Fletcher, the chamber’s chief operating officer.
“A lot of kids feel like, ‘I can’t go to college because I don’t have the money to pay for it,'” Fletcher said. “The financial aid form can be a daunting task when you sit down and look at it … We want to educate them that there’s an option.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
With a focus on empowering today’s youth, Dream on Purpose knew that we needed to answer the call. The Greater Gainesville Chamber’s Alachua County Education Compact (ACEC) galvanized the Greater Gainesville community to counteract the negative impact of COVID-19 on college enrollment by addressing the decrease in completed FAFSAs among 2020 and 2021 high school graduates.
Today, the Greater Gainesville Chamber’s ACEC, in collaboration with Dream on Purpose, Alachua County Public Schools, The Education Foundation of Alachua County, Santa Fe College, University of Florida, and LYFEhouse, will launch Cash for College, a campaign that offers resources designed to make the federal form more accessible and guide students and their families through the necessary steps to complete the FAFSA.
Cash for College is hosted by the Florida College Access Network (FCAN), which leads the collaborative movement that ensures every Floridian achieves an education beyond high school and a rewarding career – and its partners throughout the state. ACEC is the designated local college access network for the Greater Gainesville region.
The local Cash for College campaign consists of six sessions, where students and their parent(s)/legal guardian(s) will receive guided instructions and one-on-one assistance from financial aid professionals. The help sessions are as follows:
- July 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom
- July 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Buchholz High School, 5510 NW 27th Ave.
- July 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Gainesville High School, 1900 NW 13th St.
- July 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Alachua eSchool, 2802 NE 8th Ave.
- July 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83rd St.
- July 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Zoom
These events are free, open to the public, and intentionally designed to accommodate various challenges that families may face, i.e., work schedule conflicts and lack of access to technology or transportation.
“Access to and the attainment of higher education plays a major role in our youth feeling empowered to actualize their dreams, which is why Dream on Purpose is appreciative for its seat at the table,” says President and Cofounder Shareen Baptiste. “We will always welcome the opportunity to be a part of the solution. Serving as part of the committee to help locally launch Cash for College means more students and their families will have access to the financial means needed in order to pursue higher education, which will ultimately result in a stronger workforce for tomorrow. We want our youth to know that they can be anything they want to be and there will always be a community standing behind them and cheering them on.”
To register for one of the help sessions, learn more about the campaign, or access free FAFSA resources, visit https://acedcompact.com/. Families who attend one of the help sessions and complete the FAFSA will be eligible to receive a gift card.
About Dream on Purpose:
Dream on Purpose is a local 501(c)3 nonprofit, dedicated to empowering youth, with a specific focus on girls between the ages of 11-18, to actualize their dreams by connecting them with local resources through interactive workshops and promoting positive socialization through structured forums. Through our signature program, Cupcakes and Conversations, Dream on Purpose gives young girls a structured voice, a collective forum for positive dialogue and an opportunity to engage in a multi-tiered system of resources – just for them. For more information on Dream on Purpose, visit dreamonpurpose.org.
The Gainesville Sun, Larry Savage
August 19, 2020
While it has been a tough year with the COVID-19 virus dominating everyone’s life, organizations looking to help people are seeing increased demand for services as traditional funding sources dry up.
Fundraising events beyond March were canceled, and for many nonprofits survival became extremely difficult. The Community Foundation of North Central Florida is offering some hope — over the next 24 hours.
The Community Foundation’s big event, The Amazing Give, originally scheduled for April, is back four months later and has its big kickoff at 6 p.m. today, Wednesday.
For the next 24 hours, there will be online giving for 112 nonprofit organizations, uniting them in a call for action to raise critical funds needed to continue so their service to others continues.
“We are very excited about the Amazing Give,” said Shareen Baptiste, who along with Joanne Karagnara, Patrice Fletcher and La’Kendra Garrison run Dream on Purpose, an empowerment movement for girls 11-18. “When COVID first hit, the amount of funds we were receiving and events we planned were canceled. We were worried about the future, considering our financial situation.”
The Community Foundation stepped in.
WUFT News, Mia Marks
April 22, 2020
It is hard for Dream On Purpose to host its quarterly Cupcakes and Conversations event without cupcakes and, well, conversation, said Shareen Baptiste, the organization’s co-founder and president.
Baptiste is just one of many non-profit leaders who are having to quickly adapt to keep helping those who need them now more than ever.
Cupcakes and Conversations usually draws 30 to 50 girls seeking empowerment and support. The event will now be held virtually in May, with counselors available to discuss the stresses of COVID-19. Baptiste expects more girls to tune in than usually attend the event because of the added emotional and mental pandemic pressures.
The Community Foundation of North Central Florida, which works to help keep non-profit organizations financially afloat, has repurposed its annual Amazing Give donation drive, originally scheduled for April 22 and April 23.
“In light of the pandemic, we decided to change because the past four- or five-years, Amazing Give has been a community celebration with pop-up events,” said Barzella Papa, the Community Foundation’s CEO and president. “But we decided it wasn’t an appropriate time to celebrate.”
The Amazing Give Emergency Relief, using an online donation system, began March 19 and will continue until the end of this pandemic. It has so far raised $115,000, according to Papa.
“The word of the week is pivot,” she said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2019
Upcoming career exploration program for middle and high school students
5th Annual Career Discoveries Day, Saturday 9am-noon at Buchholz High School
Dream on Purpose, a local nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls between the ages of 11-18, will present and table at Career Discoveries Day.
The Greater Gainesville Chamber’s Alachua County Education Compact and its partners Santa Fe College and the Alachua County Public Schools invite all middle and high school students and their parents/guardians to attend the 5th Annual Career Discoveries Day, sponsored by UF Online, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) and Campus USA Credit Union. This career showcase and exhibition is taking place this Saturday, November 16th, from 9 am to noon at Buchholz High School, located at 5510 NW 27th Ave.
Career Discoveries Day offers students and their parents a sneak peek into local, emerging career opportunities in distribution and trade, business support services, agriculture science & technology, human life sciences, and digital technology. Attendees will engage with exhibitors, as they share their selected career pathway and existing opportunities in their industries. Maxwell L. Minch, a partner at GrayRobinson’s Law Firm, is the featured keynote speaker. He will share his story of how he rose to success by creating his own pathway, shaped by a career technical education and his experiences serving in the U.S. Navy.
Additional speakers include Karen Oakey with Fracture, who will speak on talent management; Kristin Schreiner with Junior Achievement, who will present JA MyWay Career Pathway; and Tia Brock with The Education Foundation of Alachua County and Shareen Baptiste with Dream on Purpose, who will co-present on college finances. Seniors and their parents will also receive assistance in completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
All graduating seniors present will be eligible to win one of two $1,000 scholarships. Additional prize giveaways, which include a FREE laptop, are open to all students. Registration is still open and those interested in attending can register at http://bit.ly/careerdiscoveriesday.
The Gainesville Sun, Voleer Thomas, Special to the Guardian
October 30, 2019
A non-profit organization showed middle and high school students that the college process can be a treat.
Desserts, college survival kits, coupons and prizes were available at Dream on Purpose’s 2nd annual college readiness workshop billed as “Cupcakes and Conversations: College Discoveries.” It was held Saturday at the Greater Gainesville Chamber located at 300 E. University Ave.
“We believe a topic such as college is an important topic to talk about,” said Shareen Baptiste, president and co-founder of Dream on Purpose.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2019
Nonprofits partner to host second annual college readiness workshop for middle and high school students
Cupcakes & Conversations: College Discoveries, Saturday at 2pm
WHAT: More than 130 middle and high school students and their parents/guardians registered to attend Cupcakes & Conversations: College Discoveries, where they will engage with a panel of college students as they share their campus experience, answer questions and provide advice on the best ways to prepare for life after grade school. Our panel is mostly comprised of alumni from The Education Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program.
Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with local college resources and hear from experts:
LaVerne Handfield, Florida College Access Network (FCAN) on college readiness
Tia Brock, The Education Foundation on scholarships and financial aid
The University of Florida Police Department on campus safety
There will be raffles, prizes, and refreshments, including cupcakes – all at no charge.
WHEN: Oct. 26th 2-5pm
WHERE: The Greater Gainesville Chamber, 300 E. University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601
WHO: This event is open to all middle and high school students and is brought to you by Dream on Purpose, the Greater Gainesville Chamber, the Chamber’s Alachua County Education Compact, the Education Foundation of Alachua County and Alachua County Public Schools. More information about each partnering agency is provided below.
This two-part Discoveries Series, comprised of College Discoveries and Career Discoveries, were each organized to share information with students and their parents/legal guardians about educational and career pathways. This year’s fifth annual Career Discoveries, hosted by the Greater Gainesville Chamber’s Alachua County Education Compact, is taking place on Nov. 16th from 9am to noon at Buchholz High School, 5510 NW 27th Ave., Gainesville, FL. For questions about Career Discoveries, email email@example.com. For questions about College Discoveries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ocala-News, Staff Report
August 23, 2019
Unity Tabernacle Church of God in Christ (7901 NW 40th Ter.) will host Cupcakes & Conversations on Saturday, August 31 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. There will be food, fun, fellowship, and cupcakes.
This Cupcakes & Conversations: To Know Me is to Love Me is dedicated to teaching girls between the ages of 11-18 how to love themselves. Attendees will hear from Yvette Carter, GRU’s Community and Government Relations Officer, interact with table discussion leaders and participate in activities that build their self-esteem.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2018
Over 115 middle and high school students register to learn about the college experience from Take Stock in Children alumni at Cupcakes & Conversations: College Discoveries, a sequel to Career Discoveries, takes place tomorrow at 2pm at GTEC
WHAT: Middle and high school students and their parents/guardians are invited to attend Cupcakes & Conversations: College Discoveries. As a sequel to Career Discoveries, College Discoveries provides attendees the opportunity to listen to and engage with a panel of college students as they share their campus experience, answer questions and provide advice on the best ways to prepare for life after grade school. Our panel is comprised of alumni of The Education Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program.
The workshop also features a presentation on college admissions. There will be refreshments, interactive conversations, raffles and prizes, and cupcakes – all at no charge.
WHEN: Saturday, October 27th from 2-4pm
WHERE: Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC), located at 2153 SE Hawthorne Rd.
WHO: This event is open to all middle and high school students and is brought to you by Dream on Purpose, the Education Foundation of Alachua County, Alachua County Education Compact, the Gainesville Area Chamber, Santa Fe College, and Alachua County Public Schools.
Dream on Purpose is a local 501(c)3 nonprofit, dedicated to empowering every young girl to actualize their dreams by connecting them with local resources through interactive workshops and promoting positive socialization through structured forums. Hosted once a quarter, Cupcakes and Conversations gives young girls a structured voice, a collective forum for positive dialogue and an opportunity to engage in a multi-tiered system of resources. For more information on Dream on Purpose, visit dreamonpurpose.org.
Investing in the future of Alachua County’s students is the primary mission of The Education Foundation of Alachua County, a not-for-profit philanthropic organization comprised of community leaders in partnership with our local school system since 1986. For more information, visit edfoundationac.org.
The Alachua County Education Compact is mobilizing the community around education to better prepare students for higher education and sustainable careers. For more information, visit acedcompact.com. Through leadership and collaboration, the Gainesville Area Chamber facilitates economic opportunity, business success and community progress. For more information, visit gainesvillechamber.com.
Santa Fe College was established by the state government in 1965 to offer wide access to quality higher education. Since then, the college has established programs and services that fulfill its mission of educational opportunity, responsiveness to the community, economic development and innovation in the public interest. For more information, visit sfcollege.edu.
Alachua County Public Schools is a public school district serving Alachua County in North Central Florida. It serves approximately 27,000 students in 41 schools and centers. For more information, visit sbac.edu.
June 21, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOCAL NON-PROFIT HOSTS FINANCIAL LITERACY WORKSHOP ON SATURDAY FOR GIRLS, 11-18
WHAT: Girls, between the ages of 11-18, are invited to attend Cupcakes & Conversations: My Money, My Future to learn of financially sound, money management best practices. There will be guest speakers, interactive discussions, engaging activities, refreshments, and opportunities to earn prizes. Registration is open and available at http://candcjun2018.eventbrite.com.
WHEN: Saturday, June 23, 2018 from 10am to 2:30pm
WHERE: Alachua County Public Library – Tower Rd. Branch, 3020 SW 75th St., Gainesville, FL 32608
WHO: Cupcakes & Conversations: My Money, My Future is strategically designed for girls between the ages of 11-18. This workshop features guest speakers Lara Waters with First Federal Bank and Tom Perseo with Primerica.
WHY: Nearly 35 percent of the population in Gainesville, Florida live below the poverty line. This statistic is higher than the national average of 14 percent. To positively impact these poverty rates, Dream on Purpose is teaming with community partners to impart knowledge and wisdom regarding money management unto the up and coming generation, paving the way for a better future for all. Cupcakes & Conversations: My Money, My Future will teach girls how money work and how best to make it work for them. The lessons that will be imparted onto the girls on Saturday will position them for financial success throughout their college years and beyond.
Cupcakes and Conversations is hosted quarterly and gives girls a structured voice, a collective forum for positive dialogue and an opportunity to engage in a multi-tiered system of resources – just for them. Cupcakes & Conversations is brought to you by Dream on Purpose, a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls. For more information about Dream on Purpose, visit www.dreamonpurpose.org.
June 16, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INTERVIEW: BEHIND OUR YOGA INSTRUCTOR ZEN VIBE YOGA’S LAUREN WILSMAN
Gainesville, Fla. (written by Brianna Duncan-Dieujuste) – Dream On Purpose (DOP) empowers young girls in the Gainesville community through open and safe conversations.
Hi. My name is Brianna Duncan-Dieujuste, a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Florida. I maintain the DOP Blog. Here, I hope to further the conversations brought forth by girls involved with Dream On Purpose.
This Saturday (June 17), we will celebrate our six month anniversary of Flower Empower Yoga! It’s sure to be a great day full of relaxing yoga and relieving stress in a productive way. Our once-a-month class is taught by Lauren Wilsman. She’s practiced yoga for over 15 years and make’s the experience welcoming to everybody.
I recently sat down with her to talk about the importance of yoga for young girls and being a total #GIRLBOSS! Read more…
Dream On Purpose: What ignited your spark to start Zen Vibe Yoga?
Lauren Wilsman: “Zen Vibe Yoga was started by me to help to fill a niche in the yoga industry that I felt had a void in it and that is making people feel comfortable doing yoga who have no idea what they’re doing, who have never done yoga before. I did that by making my business mobile and going to people into their homes rather than creating a group yoga studio space, which is a traditional route that a lot of yoga instructors take.”
DOP: How did you initially get involved with Dream on Purpose?
LW: “I met Shareen [Baptiste] through AdWerks. My experience was positive and the very least got connected with her. I was looking for opportunities to work specifically with young girls of the Gainesville community; then, I heard of Dream on Purpose, which has the perfect target market, in regards to age and everything. It was just a perfect match.”
DOP: What motivates you personally?
LW: “At this point in my life, I’m motivated by my family. Always having that long-term goal to keep my eyes on the prize and I think that’s important for everyone. It’s good to have short term goals, but ultimately what are those short term goals going to lead up to…that’s what always keep me motivated.”
DOP: Why do you think it’s important for young girls to role models like you making a difference in the local community?
LW: “Well sometimes the role models that we’re born into whether that be mom, dad, family or even schoolmates, don’t suffice being a positive role model unfortunately. With the girls we work with through Dream on Purpose and yoga, we have a role model outside of that realm. It is important to have someone like myself educated in yoga. It makes it a perfect match for a young person who wants to learn more about yoga. Having a role model who’s already experienced and fully immersed in an interest where someone wants to learn more about is really awesome.”
DOP: What has been the most satisfying moment in your business thus far?
LW: “I think the most satisfying moment for me is when people who have tried yoga in the past who are about to give on it and for me to be able to change their perspective of it by doing yoga with them. That is pretty rewarding by being able to hand over that tool to them through yoga to help them improve their overall life.”
DOP: When things don’t go as planned how do you respond to those situations?
LW: “The key word is respond. All of us have moments where we react, including myself. It is really about responding and not overreacting. For me, I always like to do the 5 year test in my mind, if something doesn’t go as plan. I ask myself; is this truly going to matter 5 years from now and usually the answer is ‘no’. That really scales the impact and the magnitude of the issue in that present moment. I’m a big believer in the universe knows more than we do and life flows at the pace the universe wants for us has positive things for everyone.”
DOP: What women in your life or in the media do you look at for inspiration?
LW: “I’m not big into media. For me, I’m really motivated by my circle of friends. A lot of my girlfriends are a little bit older and to see what they’re achieving, a lot of them are nurses saving people’s lives literally and always challenging themselves and growing themselves and not being afraid to be independent. I’m definitely inspired by them.”
DOP: If you could travel back and have 15 minutes with your former self before you started your business, what kind of lessons would you communicate?
LW: “When I was in college, I never thought that I would be running my own business so I think I would have told myself: You’re not going to know all the answers, but they will come with time and as long as I’m taking steps forward in in the right direction it doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you keep on moving.”
For more stories or interviews, visit bloggingwithdop.wordpress.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2017
DREAM ON PURPOSE AND ZEN VIBE YOGA CELEBRATES SIX MONTHS OF OFFERING FREE YOGA TO GIRLS IN GREATER GAINESVILLE
Flower Empower Yoga class will take place on June 17 from 11 to noon at the downtown Alachua County Library.
Gainesville, Fla. – Dream on Purpose celebrates its six-month anniversary yoga event with Zen Vibe Yoga. Lauren Wilsman, owner of Zen Vibe Yoga, and Dream on Purpose have partnered to bring young girls monthly, free-of-charge yoga classes, Flower Empower Yoga. The class will take place Saturday from 11 to noon at the Alachua County Public Library (Headquarters), 401 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601.
Girls between the ages of 11 and 18 from Gainesville and surrounding communities are encouraged to attend. The class focuses on improving girls’ physical health and well-being, strengthening their mental health and providing stress relief, while encouraging them to make new friends.
Lauren Wilsman serves as the instructor for each class and Dream on Purpose (DOP) as the event host. Dream on Purpose is an empowerment movement specifically designed for young girls. For more information about Zen Vibe Yoga, visit www.zenvibeyoga.com and visit www.dreamonpurpose.org for more information about Dream on Purpose.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2017
FREE event to empower young girls to end bullying, prevent suicide attempts and improve mental health
Quarterly Cupcakes & Conversations: “Living My Life Like It’s Golden” will take place on June 10 from 2 to 4 PM at Cone Park Library
GAINESVILLE, FL, June 5, 2017 – One in five girls is statistically destined to have a mental illness. As a result, suicide has become the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. Dream on Purpose sets out to change this course of history for young girls within the Greater Gainesville community on June 10.
Dream on Purpose is hosting its next installment of Cupcakes & Conversations, an open forum for girls ages 11-18, at the Cone Park Library (2801 E. University Ave.) 2 – 4 p.m. “Living My Life Like It’s Golden,” the mantra for this quarter’s workshop, encourages girls to learn more on ways to handle issues related to mental health and the importance of self-love. This event will feature a series of distinguished community speakers who will discuss the importance of ending the stigma on mental illnesses.
The keynote speaker for Cupcakes & Conversations: Living My Life Like It’s Golden is Laurel Nesbit. Nesbit is currently the Outreach Coordinator at the Alachua County Crisis Center. In this role, she works with volunteers, clients, and community organizations to foster understanding and connection, providing training in crisis and suicide intervention.
Nesbit received her Master of Education and Educational Specialist degrees in Counselor Education from the University of Florida, is a certified instructor of Youth Mental Health First Aid, and is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with the state of Florida.
“Life is difficult and complex at times. Growing up in this digital age with increased accessibility and coping with the pressures associated with school, home and social life can be overwhelming at times; however, Dream on Purpose is here to remind our young girls that they are not alone and there are resources located within their own backyard – just for THEM,” says President and Cofounder Shareen Baptiste. “That is why we do what we do here at Dream on Purpose. We are hoping that Cupcakes & Conversations: Living Life Like It’s Golden will remind our girls that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. We’ve invited local experts and community resources to show them how to do just that – take care and love their selves.”
Additional community resources include Tatila Brock, Princella Thorpe and Acacia Douglas from The Education Foundation of Alachua County – Take Stock in Children, who will serve as table discussion leaders. Representatives from Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. was also attend.
Dream on Purpose, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young girls to actualize her dreams. For more information, visit www.dreamonpurpose.org.
All girls between the ages of 11 and 18 are encouraged to attend Cupcakes & Conversations on June 10. There will be fun activities, prizes and giveaways. There is no cost to attend. To register, visit www.candclivinglife.eventbrite.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2017
Dream On Purpose Launches First Cupcakes & Conversations of 2017 in Ocala, Fla.
The girl empowerment movement is highlighting etiquette and fashion with lady leaders Alicia McCord and Dr. Anntwanique Edwards
Ocala, Fla. – On Saturday, Feb. 18, Dream on Purpose, the Gainesville-based empowerment movement specifically designed for girls aged 11-18, is hosting its next installment of Cupcakes & Conversations. Cupcakes & Conversations is a free forum bringing lady leaders and young girls together to collaborate on female themes of the generation. Deemed Classy vs. Sassy, this Cupcakes & Conversations will focus on lady etiquette, dressing for success and powerful personal branding tactics.
Kicking off at 11 a.m., Cupcakes & Conversations: Classy vs. Sassy will feature Alicia McCord, who will present on a variety of topics relating to female branding. Conversations will touch on building an appropriate personal brand using elements from proper etiquette, personal hygiene and modest fashion to a respectable online presence and tools for professional success. This guided discussion will give young girls the opportunity to engage in positive dialogue as well as a multi-tiered system of resources to create a thriving personal brand.
Following the main Classy vs. Sassy chat, Dream on Purpose will entertain a mini fashion show. Moderated by Dr. Anntwanique Edwards, renowned local philanthropist and education specialist, the runway will feature modest, yet trendy, fashion finds for young girls seeking success in life.
To participate in Cupcakes & Conversations: Classy vs. Sassy, please register at Eventbrite.
Cupcakes & Conversations: Classy vs. Sassy will be located at Unity Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, 7901 NW 40th Terrace, Ocala, Fla. 34482. This event is sponsored by Trinity Assembly Dream Center Church of God in Christ.
ABOUT DREAM ON PURPOSE:
Dream On Purpose, Inc. is an empowerment movement specifically designed for young girls aged 11-18. Headquartered in Gainesville, Florida, Dream on Purpose connects young girls with local resources through interactive workshops and promotes positive socialization through structured forums. The movement strives to strengthen female empowerment and familial relationships by fostering mentorship relationships, incorporating discussions about safe and healthy choices, and serving as a conduit for higher education and scholarship opportunities.
The Alligator, Katie Schmidt
January 22, 2017
A semicircle of young girls formed around Lauren MacKay on Saturday, intently following the yoga instructor’s every move as best they could.
The girls stretched out their limbs, closed their eyes and learned basic techniques in an effort by MacKay, the 27-year-old owner of Zen Vibe Yoga, to teach them how to deal with daily stressors through yoga. She taught the inaugural Flower Empower Yoga class, held at the Headquarters branch of the Alachua County Library District, as a way to teach young girls about empowerment and coping.
“Raise your hand if you’re nervous,” MacKay said at the beginning of class. “Now raise your hand if you’re excited.”
For most girls, it was their first yoga class.
Flower Empower Yoga is a monthly, free-of-charge class offered to girls 11 to 18 years old. The class will be held on the third Saturday of each month at the downtown library, located at 401 E. University Ave.
MacKay said she partnered with local nonprofit Dream on Purpose to hold the classes because she was looking for some outreach opportunities to teach free yoga.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2017
GIRLS FIND THEIR ZEN AT INAUGURAL EVENT, FLOWER EMPOWER YOGA – JUST FOR THEM.
Inaugural class takes place Jan. 21 from 11 to noon at downtown public library!
When Lauren MacKay was a little girl, her mother introduced her to what became the passion of her life – yoga. Bonding over yoga, MacKay’s mother instilled in her balance, discipline and Zen. Today, MacKay plants these same seeds into the lives of young girls.
Zen Vibe Yoga, MacKay’s mobile yoga business, and a local non-profit Dream on Purpose have partnered to bring young girls monthly, free-of-charge yoga classes, Flower Empower Yoga. Flower Empower Yoga is scheduled to take place on every third Saturday of the month at the Alachua County Public Library (Headquarters), 401 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601. The inaugural class will take place on Jan. 21 from 11 to noon.
Girls between the ages of 11 and 18 from Gainesville and the surrounding communities are encouraged to attend to focus on their health and wellbeing and decompress from the daily stresses of life, while making new friends. Lauren MacKay will serve as the instructor for each class and Dream on Purpose (DOP) as the event host. DOP is an empowerment movement specifically designed for young girls.
Future dates and times for Flower Empower Yoga are as follows: Feb. 18 from 10:30 – 11:30am and Mar. 18 from 11am to noon. Click here to RSVP for January.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 23, 2016
DREAM ON PURPOSE HOSTS AN OPEN FORUM MAY 28, SPOTLIGHTING SEX EDUCATION FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS
Gainesville, Fla. – Dream on Purpose, Inc. (DOP) is hosting its second quarter Cupcakes & Conversations on Sat. May 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. This event gives young girls a structured voice, a collective forum for positive dialogue and an opportunity to engage in a multi-tiered system of resources, made just for them. Cupcakes & Conversations will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1028 NE 14 St.
This quarter’s Cupcakes & Conversations: Netflix & Chill edition will feature movie clips encouraging small group discussions on dating and presentations facilitated by licensed professionals on the topics of sex education, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Girls will have the opportunity to interact with professional women by asking questions and uncovering myths related to dating, sex and related topics. DOP’s Financial Affairs Intern Francesca Badoino said, “we want our girls to know how to be safe by educating them on making healthy decisions as they mature into adulthood. These young girls are at a pivotal stage in their lives, where their decisions can profoundly impact their quality of life and that of others, that’s why we believe what we are doing is so important.”
“I wish I had Dream on Purpose when I was growing up. I am sure I would have made different choices”, says Vice-President JoAnne Karagnara. DOP was established in January 2015 in the heart of Gainesville, FL by a group of seasoned, professional women looking to connect young girls to community resources. “We want to give these girls options and show them there is a big world of opportunities available to them,” says Karagnara.
DOP’s primary focus is to organize forums, seminars, and programs that facilitate mentorships and education for girls. “We pride ourselves in connecting leading women from various industries to young girls,” says DOP President Shareen Baptiste. “DOP strives to empower young women to follow their dreams with confidence.”
Dream on Purpose is excited to host an audience of young girls with a wide range of interests and backgrounds again. The organization hosted its inaugural Cupcakes & Conversations in February, where a panel of leading professional women spoke and interacted with more than three-dozen attendees about real life scenarios via group discussions.
“I am excited to attend Cupcakes & Conversations because I get to hang out with people my age and I can’t wait to see the ways the topics are discussed and conversations are handled,” says Julia Fletcher, 15, an attendee of the last Cupcakes & Conversations. She eagerly awaits Saturday’s event by adding, “I also can’t wait for the cupcakes.”
This event is free and open to girls between the ages of 11-18 and their parents/guardians. This event is sponsored by the City of Gainesville, Williams & Co. Events, LYFEhouse and Joshua Joel SMA Life, Inc. For more information, visit www.dreamonpurpose.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 23, 2016
DREAM ON PURPOSE HOSTS AN OPEN FORUM MAY 28, SPOTLIGHTING SEX EDUCATION FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS
What: Dream on Purpose, Inc. (DOP) is hosting its second quarter Cupcakes & Conversations. This quarter’s Cupcakes & Conversations: Netflix & Chill edition will feature movie clips encouraging small group discussions on dating and presentations facilitated by licensed professionals on the topics of sex education, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Girls will have the opportunity to interact with professional women by asking questions and uncovering myths related to dating, sex and related topics.
This event gives young girls a structured voice, a collective forum for positive dialogue and an opportunity to engage in a multi-tiered system of resources, made just for them.
When: Sat. May 28 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1028 NE 14 St.
Who: This event is free and open to girls between the ages of 11-18 and their parents/guardians. Cupcakes & Conversations is hosted by Dream on Purpose, Inc. Dream on Purpose, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, empowers every young girl to actualize their dreams by connecting them with local resources through interactive workshops and promoting positive socialization through structured forums.
The featured speakers for this upcoming Cupcakes & Conversations, include:
- Dr. Tanya Anim, Family Medicine Doctor, University of Florida Health
- Francesca Badoino, Financial Affairs Intern, Dream on Purpose, Inc.
- Ty Livingston, Outreach Youth Advocate, Peaceful Paths
- Dr. Kandra Albury, Published Author and Owner, Kandra Albury Enterprises
This event is sponsored by the City of Gainesville, Williams & Co. Events, LYFEhouse and Joshua Joel SMA Life, Inc. For more information, visit dreamonpurpose.org.
Gainesville Guardian, Aida Mallard
February 17, 2016
“Thought-provoking,” “exceeded expectations” and “addressed real life issues” were some of the comments participants used to describe the Inaugural Cupcakes & Conversations, an empowering event for girls ages 11 to 18.
The event, which was held Saturday at the A. Quinn Jones Center, was sponsored by Dream on Purpose, a non-profit organization that empowers girls through interactive events and workshops to provide resources specifically designed for girls of color.
Everyone enjoyed cupcakes and refreshments.
– Kandra Albury, Ph.D.
– Katie Fields
– Kelly Belanger
– Tatila (Tia) Brock