Today we’d like to introduce you to Yadira Veres.
Yadira, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in Cuba, under the communist regime, becoming an immigrant at the age of 12. My parents decided to leave behind their country, the home and life they built together, moving our family to Venezuela on a quest for freedom, in 1982. Three years later, we packed again, to complete this quest and make Miami our home. I am grateful to be able to live in a free country where I’ve had the privilege of earning degrees in two areas, I feel passionate about: Psychology and Fashion Design. The knowledge and experience I’ve acquired in these fields, have helped me pursue the mission that has filled my life with purpose and joy. Meanwhile, Miami was claiming pieces of my heart and the roots I never thought could be firmly planted again, did. This beautiful and welcoming city is the birthplace of my soulmate and husband, Charlie, and of my muse and daughter, Nina.
Excited to be designing clothes again, after an extended maternity leave, I was faced with a reality that I felt was damaging and unnecessary. Nina was in second grade when I started to notice that many girls instead of supporting and encouraging each other, were excluding and putting each other down. Of course, this was nothing new; some might say that this is part of girl culture and it is just the way things are. My believe is that these types of behaviors (called relational aggressive behaviors or social bullying) can have lasting and damaging effects and should not have a place in girl culture. I believe that it is our responsibility as adults to provide girls with guidance, with a road map, that will empower them so they can empower each other. Inspired by my daughter, Nina, and with Charlie’s support, I set out on this mission to promote kindness and inspire support among girls. Once I was on this path, amazing people came alongside me, to help me accomplish this goal. This was the birth of my second child, GirlKind Project.
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
GirlKind Project is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that was born out of the desire to inspire and empower girls, positively impact girl culture, and contribute to a better world. I wrote the GirlKind Project curriculum, using a revolutionary approach that focuses on pro-kindness and social emotional learning (SEL). The 12-session program is based on research that supports that happiness promotes prosocial behavior and vice-versa. This program provides girls with tools and skills for social-emotional development, with the goal of cultivating happiness and harmony within and with others. The curriculum topics cover the five core competencies of SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. GirlKind Project aims to open the door to a world where kindness and compassion are the norm and bullying does not exist. I believe girls hold the key.
We have collaborated with FIU’s The Education Effect, in the implementation of the program in low income schools, since GirlKind Project’s inception in 2017. I have found purpose and joy in bringing GirlKind Project to these at-risk communities and improving the lives of these amazing girls. The next step is making the curriculum accessible for implementation across the globe and reach all girls. Through the development of a licensing agreement with schools and other organizations, the program will be available for implementation, free of charge, to qualified title one schools. An annual licensing fee will be charged to all other schools and organizations that would like to implement the program at their site. I encourage anyone who would like to positively impact girls’ lives and shift girl culture, to join the movement and contact me, for details, on how to bring GirlKind Project to their part of the world. The goal is to have all conditions ready to be able to license the curriculum for implementation nationwide, starting this upcoming school year. Through GirlKind Project, we are changing the world to one where girls are intentional on their pursuit of happiness, supporting and uplifting each other along the way, and contributing to a more compassionate world.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has a lot to do with it. I am lucky to have been blessed in so many ways. The following are some examples: having had a set of courageous parents who took leaps of faith to give us a chance at a better future; to have been able to learn from their actions about what it looks like to be a good human being; my dad’s unconditional love and undying faith in me, that lead me to believe I could do anything; that same unconditional love and undying faith that continues to live in my husband, Charlie; the light of my daughter Nina, who inspires me to create in a way that is meaningful and gives me strength; my family for being there for me whenever I need them, no matter what; the amazing people I have met and the beautiful souls who have come to lift me and support me, holding my hand, on this path.
- Website: girlkindproject.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: girlkindproject
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJgY9XXRU94&t=1s