SOAR Youth Empowerment Program (SOAR-YEP)

Anita Russell, Founder & Program Manager


Greater Valley Community Services

Braddock Youth Project

Art in the Garden

Your True Strength » Who Are You?

In the summer of 2019 three youth organizations hosted a session of the SOAR Youth Empowerment Program Teen Workshop.

In this workshop teens experience the value of being their true self and choosing to live an authentic life based on positive self-image, identifying their strengths, connecting to others., and to their communithy.

Beyond the standalone components, SOAR Youth Empowerment is a part of a grand vision that includes a teen workshop, Your True Strength and an adult forum, A Community Conversation on Teen Mental Wellness.

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The grand vision includes a long-term plan made of four distinct phases:
Phase 1: Youth Workshop + Adult Community Conversations + Data Collection
Phase 2: Community-based Collective Leadership Framework Workshops+ Data Collections
Phase 3: Community-based collective leadership team
Phase 4: Design/develop community-based initiative/project

Teen Workshop
Your True Strength > Who Are You Becoming?
Name it. Claim it. Aim it. Discover your strengths. Learn the value of being your true self and connecting with others.

Adult Community Conversation
Teen Mental Wellness > Open forum discussion on the state of teen mental wellness. And what we plan to do about it as a community.

SOAR Youth Empowerment at Braddock Youth Project

It’s Finally Here!

I am elated to announce the SOAR Youth Empowerment Program (SOAR-YEP) is kicking off with the Your True Strength Workshop in Braddock. This specialized workshop takes teens on a quest to discover their true strengths. The workshop emphasizes specific leadership values—know yourself, positive self-image, daily growth and development, connecting to tohers, and adding value to others.

Many thanks to two community-based organizations for making it happen—Mr. Tacumba Turner, program coordinator for the Braddock Youth Project, and William Phifer, program coordinator for Greater Valley Community Services. The Your True Strength Workshop will be delivered to summer participants in the Braddock Youth Project and the summer interns at Greater Valley Community Services.

SOAR Youth Empowerment Program: Pledge to Defy the Lie

This is the rallying call of the SOAR Youth Empowerment Program (SOAR-YEP). We join the Community Healing Network (CHN) in building the movement for emotional emancipation across Pittsburgh communities.  We add to the long-needed infrastructure for healing within our communities. SOAR-YEP includes multiple events in multiple communities:

1. Teen Workshop – Your True Strength > Who Am I Becoming?
2. Community Conversation – Teen Mental Health & Wellness

Take the Pledge

I pledge to act to . . .

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GYI Life Up! Lead & Empower Workshop: Homestead

“To CHANGE is to choose His anointing to nurture, grow and empower.”
— Anita D Russell

3 Dynamic John Maxwell Coaches came together to host the First Global Youth Initiative event in Homestead PA!

Workshop Facilitators

♦ Anita D Russell, The Place to SOAR Founder/CEO
♦ Susan Evans, The Place to SOAR Partner
♦ Juane Tyler, Tyler Consulting & Associates Founder/CEO

“We are partnering together to equip, inspire and empower youth to be the leaders they were created to be.” 

4 Key Topics in GYI: Life Up! Lead & Empower Workshops

  • Stand Up and Be Counted: Stop Bullying
  • Learning to Fail Forward to Success
  • Developing a Positive Self Image
  • Developing a Strong Personal Character

Introductory Video
Featuring Nick Vujicic, YouthMax Ambassador

Spoken Word
Featuring spoken word artist, Devantae Butler, author of  Mindset: A Guide to Reaching Your Full Potential

Theme Song
Unity in the Community composed by Jeff Russell from LA CA



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Learn more about the John Maxwell Global Youth Initiative at

The Place to SOAR BIG Events
Build community  |  Inspire change  |  Give back



Global Youth Initiative October 2017

October 9 – 15, 2017
John Maxwell Team
Global Youth Initiative Week

During the week of October 9-15, youth leadership events will be hosted all over the world. Our goal is to reach 500,000 youth. Certified members of the John Maxwell Team will be hosting local Global Youth Initiative events in communities just like yours. Youth who attend these events will be equipped, inspired, and empowered to have a positive self-image, respect themselves and others, be a positive influence, and fail forward toward success.

The events are FREE and open to all children and youth groups, ages 8-18.


Global Youth Initiative April 2017

To change the world by inspiring and equipping young people to lead themselves and others with character, mutual respect and integrity.

April 29  |  12-1:30 PM
Stand Up and Be Counted
Ages 8 to 13

Stand Up and Be Counted
Learn positive attitudes and actions that will help stop bullying and lift others up.
Nearly everyone has been bullied or knows someone they care about who has. Bullying doesn’t benefit anyone – not even the bully. It lowers and demeans the bully – who is strong enough to be a force for good – and it harms the victim who feels powerless and ashamed. Stand Up and Be Counted teaches three ways to deal with bullying in a positive, affirming way:

  • Stand Up – Be confident in your own value
  • Lift Up – Use your influence to help others
  • Pick Up – Help others who are being bullied by picking them up.

April 29  |  2-6 PM
lead and empower WORKSHOP
Ages 14 to 18

Developing a Positive Self-Image
Understand and apply key ways to develop and maintain a positive self-image
Most successful people have a positive self-image. While some of that attitude comes from succeeding, it is impossible to even begin moving toward success unless you believe in yourself enough go after your goals and dreams while learning to fail forward.

Developing a Positive Self-Image teaches both the value of confidence and practical ways to develop and maintain a positive self-image.

Developing a Strong Personal Character
Learn what it takes to develop strong and effective personal character.
Nothing is more personal than character – the set of values and actions that define who you are and who you want to become. Character decisions are the single most important factor that drives you on to success or dooms you to failure. When you learn to make strong character choices and manage daily decisions in alignment with your values, you can begin moving toward your goals and dreams with confidence.

Developing a Strong Personal Character teaches how to choose positive daily decisions that will help you align your actions with your values and learn to achieve lasting personal success.

Anita D Russell, YouthMax Facilitator

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