Mentor looks to guide young girls to success

by Rebecca Harrelson

Rebecca Harrelson

Over the last couple of years Tawana Rowland has radically changed her outlook on life. Having always been a people person she decided to shift her efforts to benefit the community. Born in Greensboro and seeing many youth without proper guidance and mentors, Rowland decided to take matters into her own hands. Tawana StayinStrong Rowland (TSR) is a youth organization built out of necessity and passion. Normally Rowland has about 10 girls in the group ranging in ages from 4-14. Four of the girls were present at her launch event Saturday held at the Kingdom Minded Deliverance Church. Light lunch was provided and DJ Donion Hammock supplied all the music for the event. Adding to the festivities, Thomisiana Flowers performed a powerful dance that was followed by guest speaker Shonda B. Brown.Rowland explained the positive impact her organization has had on her life thus far. “Once I started getting connected with these kids it really started changing me as an individual. It all started with Sunday Funday, bringing some snacks to the parks for the kids. Me, my family, this was a community event, I did that for two months every weekend.””I’m very particular about building relationships in the community. I built this program based on developing talents, which is the main objective of my organization.” Rowland has a practice where the girls look at themselves in the mirror and learn how to sit up and speak directly to their reflection as if they were speaking to another person. She guides them to take care of their bodies in a healthy way, and feel comfortable talking with her about any issues the girls are facing at home or in school. “What if I had an organization or a mentor while I was growing up, and they saw those talents in me while I was growing up, there is no telling where I would be,” Rowland said. This mother of three knows that sometimes a child does not want to speak to their parents about ideas or issues they are facing, so making sure she builds a lasting connection with these girls is extremely important to her. Rowland’s energy shows as soon as she speaks about the organization and the support her church and community have given her thus far. She transformed her church for her launch event, inviting family and friends to come hear about what her goals and plans are for the future of TSR. By adding “StayinStrong” to her name she takes on the notion that you must “let any negative obstacle in your life build you to your purpose.” She also works with families who have lost loved ones, staging balloon releases and candle vigils. Having lost a brother herself, she knows the importance a community can have when you are grieving. Her other future goals this summer include working with teens creating vision boards and getting them ready to go back to school with focus and drive. Rowland is currently a member of Co/Lab and Triad Start Up, where she is learning how to make this organization profitable and sustainable. “I really do believe that with this vision and my goals, I really could help change the poverty rate here in Greensboro,” Rowland said. “And that “¦ that is the dream. I used to work for the Post Office six days a week for six years, and I was so happy I was laid off because if I can work that much and that hard for someone else I can work that hard or harder for myself.”

Rebecca Harrelson