Today marks the 22nd year that Operation HOPE has been serving communities throughout the United States and abroad.

It has been both an honor and a privilege to serve with my Operation HOPE family for the past four years as a HOPE Corp volunteer, and now as an Advisory Board co-chair for HOPE Business In A Box Academies, and the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

As the wife of the Founder, Chairman, and CEO, John Hope Bryant, I not only share in the mission of Operation HOPE, but I devote my life to its mission with the focus on poverty eradication and economic empowerment for all. This will be my mission until I take my last breath, so I intend to give it 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time.

Today I celebrate this amazing organization by sporting my treasured Operation HOPE cycling jersey (pictured below). I represent Operation HOPE with pride.

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Happy 22nd anniversary Operation HOPE! A lot has been accomplished in 22 years, but we have a lot of work still left to do. Let’s do this!

~Natasha Foreman Bryant

By Natasha Foreman Bryant, MBA
 
 Part one of this series was a call to action for the men in the world to stand up, speak out, and to be proactive in our communities. Today I continue my plea. Today I go even deeper and broader.
 
 I want to see more positive male role models showing young girls and ladies what a man and father is all about and that although these females may not have a real father in their life, they should not go through life looking for one in every male they encounter, nor should they lower themselves to fighting over men or plotting and planning to take one from another woman.
 
 I want to see these male role models speak up and tell women that “he who findeth a wife finds a good thing” and that a real man will find them and will do right by them, encourage them as they grow in their career, and will marry them first and not rush to turn them into a “baby mama”. I also want these men to shed light on the labels of “baby mama” and “baby daddy”, and that a woman should not want to be labeled as such or be in a position to have a man not worthy to be called the father of her children, or her husband.
 
 I want to hear from the men as they explain to young girls and women that their value is not between their legs, but rather within their brains, and that it is a rare man who is interested in marrying and staying in a committed, monogamous, and healthy marriage with a woman who spreads her legs like an eagle or frog for almost every passerby. I want men to stand up and let females know that the only man interested in a “loose” woman is not a man, but he is rather a snake who is pimping not only her but others for their “goodies”, and once he is done with her he will move on to the next and the next, and the next.
 
 Young ladies need to know that they don’t need to fight for, manipulate, trick, or set up a man. A good man, a decent man, a man qualified to be a husband, will seek them out and they will complement each other. I want to see the men stand up and tell these young ladies that trying to get pregnant to keep a man will only make their lives a living hell, and increase the probability of their children growing resentful of one or both parents.
 
 I want to see men stand up and let these young girls and women know that the words “I love you” are used casually as well as manipulatively to gain power over another person, and the truest sign of someone’s love is when they don’t ever make you feel desperate, weak, vulnerable, less than, second to, dependent, alone, lonely, ugly, stupid, trapped, incompetent, worthless, or like a body part.
 
 When a man gives a woman the space to grow, learn, experience life, take on challenges, chase your dreams, set and achieve goals, pursue and complete your education, follow your passions, work for the job and career you desire, start your own business, have a social life outside of him, spend time with friends and family, live interdependently—-that is love. The same is true when a woman provides that environment for her man. That is what I want to hear men share with these young ladies.
 
 I’m asking the men to stand up and keep telling these young males to pull up their pants, dress with respect and dignity like they want a career and have aspirations beyond living for today. Tell these young ladies to dress with class and not like prostitutes. I’m asking for the men to stand up and tell both boys and men to stop calling women bitches and hoes, chicken heads, side chicks, side pieces, and other disrespectful (and belittling names). I also need you to stand up and tell the females to stop answering to and calling each other these same names, and to stop disrespecting men by calling them out of their names. Females need to stop tearing down, beating down, and psychologically castrating men—a man can’t lead if he’s been kicked down. Let them know this. Explain this to them. Help them to see what you see.
 
 Men I need you to stand up, stand up, stand up, and get to work. Don’t close your eyes or turn your head, get to work. We have a world to save!
 
 If you are serious and ready to commit to turning our communities around for the better, in addition to your active pursuit of change, take part in the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action through Operation HOPE’s Project 5117 by visiting http://operationhope.org/join5117 and select one of the options, or click “Other” and type in your specific commitment to saving our youth.
 
 
 ~Natasha Foreman Bryant
 
 
 
 Link to A Call to Action for Men: Part One: https://natashaforeman.com/2013/12/12/a-call-to-action-for-all-men-part-one/
 
 Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
 

Nine year old Joshua Smith is on a mission to help save his home city of Detroit by selling lemonade, punch, popcorn, and anything else tasty he can think of for around $1.50—with a goal to help with Detroit’s current financial woes, and to hopefully see a park erected in his neighborhood soon.

So far Joshua earned by the end of his first week, $3,340, leading him to receive an award from the Detroit City Council. He also earned a $2,000 scholarship for college from the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation.

Read more about Joshua and his new entrepreneurial endeavor here

This should be inspiration for other aspiring entrepreneurs—youth and adults. It also highlights the power of developing an idea into a monetized reality, as encouraged and taught through Operation HOPE’s HOPE Business In A Box (HBIAB) Initiative powered by the Gallup-HOPE Index.

The power of an idea— Joshua Smith and other positive youth entrepreneurs show and prove that our country can and will rebound from our economic setback, and thrive in the global economy as we did in the past—and our youth can and will successfully compete with other nations.

Go Joshua!!!

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

By Natasha L. Foreman

Operation HOPE Founder, CEO and Chairman John Hope Bryant spoke at my alma mater, Kaplan University in April about his vision for leadership in today’s fear-based society. John’s visit to Kaplan University and his discussion was featured during the university’s Visionary Voices webinar,” and highlighted the principal arguments in his best-selling business leadership book: “LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World.”

I had the chance to view the webinar live but for those of you who missed out or simply want to see and hear again what my friend John had to say click on the link below and enjoy:

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By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.


What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                           

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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