Dear Gifted Girl of Grace: Mini,
I, Askhari Little, am indigenous of historic Selma, Alabama. I am currently a sophomore, Early Childhood Education Major (and International Studies Minor) attending the illustrious Spelman College, in Atlanta, Georgia. I love children, fashion, dancing, traveling, eating, exercising, and experiencing the growth and greatness that manifests as a result of struggle. As a future educator, I yearn for an understanding of the pedagogical strategies that birth critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, and a culturally aware people. I aspire to research and experiment with strategies to build confidence in the hearts and minds of students. I aspire to shape and reform education in ways that are culturally and developmentally beneficial for all (and especially African American) children. A great deal of my drive for reform comes from my experiences with students — as well as qualitative data that evidences the fact that if students are exposed to and learn about their predecessors’ resilient and tenacious spirits, then they are aptly inclined to gain a greater sense of self and perform better in academic environments.
Leading and supporting young girls is a crucial task — and I truly am appreciative of another opportunity to cultivate and embrace new experiences. Each experience I have had with children thus far has indubitably caused my heart to overflow with happiness. Currently, I serve as a volunteer teacher’s assistant at Hollis Innovation Academy in Atlanta, GA. Additionally, every summer since the age of fifteen, I have been a volunteer assistant director and mentor to at risk children at Project F.A.M.E (“Fostering the Arts to Motivate Excellence”). F.A.M.E. is a creative learning summer camp aimed at equipping and teaching low-income African American children arts, history and the tools needed to excel in life. I am a certified Kingian non-violence trainer and I am certified in non-profit organization management. Finally, I have served as Miss Selma High, Miss Bridge Crossing Jubilee, and on Morehouse College’s Miss Hubert Hall Court.
I realize that young girls are extremely impressionable, as their characters are beginning to form by the nature of their environments and the nurture they receive from those around them. Considerably, I seek to uplift the young girls I encounter in this program by creating and promoting fun and engaging activities that foster sisterhood, profound character development, and etiquette through arts, culture, and exposure to various enrichment opportunities.
My life’s underlying purpose is to wholeheartedly commit to serving young people — (and particularly uplifting and guiding generations of young girls and women to be best they can be). I am sure of this by virtue of the fact that my heart sings as I employ my strength of being a wombman — (and giver of life) to empower young minds. My heart sings as I fight to eradicate injustice and systemic oppressions ingrained in global education systems. My heart sings as I travel. Indubitably, my resolve and willingness to serve and empathize with others heightens as I come into contact with people of both similar and diverse cultures. Although my previous experiences have provided me with a hint about what it means to be an educator — so many questions still remain unanswered. These unanswered questions instinctively lead me on a quest to find the explanations and uncover hidden treasures about my character and the girls I seek to serve. Considering that a child’s tears secure my commitment, and a child’s smile delivers my reward — I stand unyieldingly committed to Gifted Girls of Grace.