Friday, June 08, 2007

APCH Honors Girl Power

A Place Called Home Teaches Young Girls A Woman's Worth

"...Cause nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone."-- Justice

1993. Poetic Justice, John Singleton's dramatic follow-up to Boyz N the Hood, showed us another dramatic portrayal of life in South Central Los Angeles through troubled young woman named Justice (Janet Jackson). Having experienced the murder of her boyfriend and tragic loss of her family, the beauty school graduate used poetry to express her pain and to escape the constant violence and crime in her community.

That was over a decade ago. Now see the new "Justices" of South Central Los Angeles!

These Girlz in the Hood not only use poetry to escape the negativity of their community, they also use music, dance, art, yoga and various other programs provided to them at A Place Called Home (APCH), a non-profit youth center located in the area.

Founded one year after the violent LA Riots by, Debrah Constance, a former advertising executive, APCH's mission was to "help inner-city youth find their dreams through educational enrichment." What began with 12 children in the basement of a local church now provides thousands of South Central youth with a secure, positive environment free of gangs, violence, drugs and other negative forces. It's an oasis of hope in a community rich with hopeless ideals. At APCH kids are given the tools to not only dream big but to explore those dreams to the fullest.

Be Girlz , an extension of APCH's outreach, is the brainchild of Executive Director, Thyonne Gordon. The program inspires girls to discover their inner beauty and strength. Be Girlz participants also receive counseling and etiquette coaching to "help them express themselves individually and collectively through a myriad of programs offered at APCH which inspire them to be the best young ladies they can be," says Gordon. For 3 years, the program has honored women that exemplify and demonstrate their unique brand of girl power.

Held June 6th at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Girlz in the Hood Celebrate Women of Achievement Luncheon recognized five women with the 2007 Girl Power Award:
  • Sandra J. Evers Manly, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility for Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Molly Sims, Model/Actress, Las Vegas
  • Michelle Rodriguez, Actress, Lost,Girlfight
  • Roselyn Sanchez, Actress, Rush Hour 2, and Grammy Nominated Singer, Amor Amor
  • Ava T. Shamban, MD, Featured dermatologist, Extreme Makeover
Here a few pictures from the event:

Molly Sims & Michelle Rodriguez

Molly Sims, Michelle Rodriguez, and Be Girlz participants

Be Girlz Band

Be Girlz Band and Dancers

To learn more about A Place Called Home programs, visit the organization's website, APCH, or watch the video below.

Additional Picture Sources: Official Michelle Rodriguez Forum,

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