SOAR Youth Empowerment Program (SOAR-YEP)


Community College of Allegheny County

Greater Valley Community Services
Braddock Youth Project

Greater Valley Community Services | Braddock Youth Project
This coming July each organization is hosting a session of the
“Your True Strength” Teen Workshop.

SOAR-YEP is the youth arm of the SOAR Coaching Academy. The hallmark of the SOAR Youth Empowerment Program is its participation in the John Maxwell Team Global Youth Initiative (JMTGYI), which occurs twice a year in April and October. During the JMT-GYI, certified members of the John Maxwell Team host local JMT Global Youth Initiative events in their local community. Youth who attend these events are equipped, inspired, and empowered to have a positive self-image, respect themselves and others, to be a positive influence, and to fail forward toward success.

SOAR-YEP goes beyond the April and October timeframe by offering its program on an ongoing basis in collaboration with community-based organizations. 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.

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

Your True Strength

Families and teens are invited to walk into a safe space reserved for prayer, motivation and inspiration.

Teen Workshop
Your True Strength > Who Am I? Who Am I 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.

Anita D Russell, M.Ed, JMT
Susan Evans, JMT 
609-672-2925 |

SOAR Youth Empowerment Program: 2019 Pledge to Defy the Lie


This is the rallying call of the SOAR Youth Empowerment Program (SOAR-YEP) for 2019. 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 is a series of three events in multiple communities:
1. Community gathering for prayer, inspiration and motivation
2. Teen Workshop – Your True Strength: Who Am I Becoming?
3. Community Conversation – Teen Mental Health & Wellness

Take the Pledge

I pledge to act to

1. Honor our ancestors and our children.
2. Defy the lie of Black inferiority.
3. Embrace the truth of Black humanity.
4. Emancipate my mind and my spirit.
5. Make “emotional healing” a priority.
6. Build the movement for emotional emancipation in my family and community.

Move beyond the pain of the blues to the sky blue of unlimited possibilities.”
Take the Pledge


Our forebears “made a way out of no way.” Their strength is my strength. I am a living legacy and a vital link between the Black community’s past and future. I will draw on the spiritual strength of our ancestors to help arm our children with the values, knowledge, skills, and mental attitude to excel. I will honor our ancestors and our children in all I do.

Black people have lived with the lie that we are less than human for much too long. I am not less than anyone. I will “Defy the Lie of Black Inferiority.”

Black is beauty, love, intelligence, a wealth of experience, knowledge, and goodness. I want to embody all of these qualities. I will “Embrace the Truth of Black Humanity.”

I want to be free of all the negativity and limitations of the lie. I want to be liberated to reach my fullest potential. I will join with my family and others in the Black community to do the work necessary to be psychologically and spiritually free.

I want to make emotional emancipation, healing, and wellness a personal, family, and community priority. I will celebrate Community Healing Days on the third weekend of every October. 

I want all Black people to be able to reach their fullest potential. I will help build the movement for the emotional emancipation of Black people for myself, my family, and my community.

I want to show my commitment to the movement. I will proudly answer Dr. Maya Angelou’s Call to Wear Sky Blue during Community Healing Days to show my determination to “move beyond the pain of the blues to the sky blue of unlimited possibilities!” SM