Raioni Madison Said Goodbye To Her Job As A Teacher To Help Young Girls In STEAM Full-Time

Educator Raioni Madison bid farewell to the classroom walls to further her dedication to her community.

She would make the brave step in 2019. Despite her departure, Madison’s mission remained intact. She tells AFROTECH™ that education runs in her bloodline. Her grandmother, a single mother living in New York who raised four children, was also an educator, and her mother is a high school science teacher.

3D Girls

Madison has shifted her full-time focus to 3D Girls Inc., a nonprofit she established as a personal endeavor in 2012 during her time at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. Her decision was prompted by the disparities she observed in other nonprofits.

“I was just evaluating some of the organizations that were in my community. And I found that a lot of other nonprofits were inactive or under-resourced and that bothered me. ‘Why don’t we have this?’ or ‘This program is on the north side of town; why don’t we have access to things on the south side of town,’” Madison told AFROTECH™. “So, I decided that I wanted to take this project to the next level and create something that was longstanding and a legacy for me and my children.”

Per its website, 3D Girls aims to empower and advocate for young women and their families, focusing on both education and financial empowerment. Among its strategic goals is a three-year plan that materialized during the wake of COVID-19 to serve 1,500 young women and girls through school-based mentoring, prenatal and parent education, and social and emotional wellness.

“We know that there has been an increase of young women and girls who experience stress, depression, and anxiety, more particularly Black girls who are exposed to socioeconomic barriers that impact their interest, the rates of suicide ideation, the increase of risky behaviors — all those things impact Black girls more prominently than any other race,” she explained. 

She continued, “So, our goal has been to service 1,500 girls to help them to build coping and resiliency skills. Even that means helping their parents pay bills, providing STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education workshops and exposure trips, and putting Black STEM professionals in front of them so that they can see and realize that they can dream.”

Specific initiatives include an assistance program that provides approved applicants assistance with utilities. Additionally, The Rouse House, a 6,500-square-foot residential and training facility, is in the third phase of development, which will support the expansion of the 3D Girls’ team and allow eligible children and women to be supported through postpartum and supply support groups, work-based training, reoccurring pregnancy prevention, individual counseling, and recreational programs.

“The pandemic taught us so many things, that we can do these workshops, but if girls don’t feel good, they’re not gonna show up willing to receive, or they’re gonna be thinking about other things,” Madison explained.

Girls Link Up Program

3D Girls also birthed the Girls Link Up program after a push from funders and the community to be more innovative in how they engage the youth. The program, which transitioned to online in 2020, offers interactive games, online paint classes, tutorials, and more. 

Photo Credit: 3D Girls Inc.

“We were just trying to be innovative with getting them to be creative and express themselves in a way that would be therapeutic and wouldn’t be detrimental to their health and wellbeing,” she said.

Additionally, the program has a curriculum combining science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) as well as social and emotional learning (SEL).

Photo Credit: 3D Girls Inc.

Pitch Competition

During the summer, young girls can further their interest in STEAM and SEL, engaging with leaders and entrepreneurs. They can also participate in a pitch competition to gain capital for their business.

The nonprofit has hosted two pitch competitions at the time of this writing. The most recent was conducted on Friday, June 29, 2023, at the Junior Achievement Discovery Center and included six entrepreneurs across Georgia, according to information provided to AFROTECH.

Madison added, “We had six entrepreneurs develop their businesses. One made treats, one had a pet sitting company, one had an arts collective. It was inspiring to see those girls like tap into their genius, tap into their creativity. We had funders and investors invest in their businesses, making their websites, helping them with their social media and their marketing, and investing in inventory and their setups for vendor events. The pitch competition is something that we have been really intentional about and entrepreneurship.”

The first prize winner of the senior competition, geared toward sixth through eighth grade, was 12-year-old Madison W., the CEO and founder of Suga Sweetz. She earned a $300 gift card to purchase a mini deep freezer. Student and illustrator Carmen W. and nail designer Honesty V. took second and third place.

For the junior competition, aimed at third through fifth graders, Elizabeth H. reigned supreme, earning $300 for her bakery business, which she used to support business inventory and marketing needs.

More is in store for the nonprofit, as it is gearing up to launch a ninth-grade academy for high school girls. This academy will extend the reach of the nonprofit’s programming as most of its initiatives and programs are aimed at third-to-eighth-graders.

“The ninth-grade academy will allow us to put girls in opportunities that allow them to explore tech in a more meaningful and deeper way,” Madison expressed.

Source link

About Author

I'm an interactive digital experience bringing you the latest in fashion, music, entertainment, art and social media & technology. I was created in 2009 in the hopes of making your life more fun by giving you a media consumption experience unparalleled to any other.

Digital Online Fashion Magazine | Free Fashion Magazine | Best Lifestyle Blog