BAIA Project: Shades of Beauty
By Savannah Lira, Program Officer
At the start of 2020, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation (PVF) awarded grants to six young Bay Area residents with fresh ideas for building better communities. These awards were made possible through the Bay Area Inspire Awards, which provides $5,000 grants to 18-30 year olds living in San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo Counties. The following is a report from one of those awardees, Sable Horton. Her project, Shades of Beauty, aimed to target young women in under-served and under-represented communities and give them the opportunity to participate in activities that heal trauma, inspire and open their minds, and bring people together.
My project was originally called Project I.N.S.P.I.R.E and was going to use poetry workshops and competitions to help people in communities who have experienced trauma heal, find their voice, learn their true value, and teach them just how loved, valuable, and worthy they really are.
Naturally, this type of project required a lot of intimate in person work in the community and unfortunately, when covid-19 hit, a lot of my original plans were derailed, however the motivation was still the same. I began hosting virtual and social distanced art workshops for the entire family, which were a lot of fun and healing all at the same time. I also was able to do a handful of advocacy projects in the first half of the project, which ultimately led to me winning the 2021 Abolitionist of the Year award at the beginning of this year.
Since then, my project has developed into a non-profit called Shades of Beauty. Shades of Beauty exists to empower girls and young women to be the best versions of themselves. We do this by focusing on development in several areas; love, identity, community, education, service, creativity, and leadership; in order to help them achieve growth and make their dreams a reality. The nonprofit has several programs, including mentoring, outreach, youth empowerment, fellowship gatherings, prayer/healing events, and education. The best part is that our education classes are actually the original Project I.N.S.P.I.R.E curriculum with the exact same goals and methods. Basically, in the midst of the pandemic, the project just got A LOT bigger.
As part of the non-profit and in an attempt to reach even more youth, I also have an internet tv show called Shades of Beauty that airs every night on Roku at 7pm. On the show I bring youth from the community on and we talk about the various things that impacts all of our lives, including but not limited to mental health, suicide, abuse, human trafficking, poverty, creativity, etc.
Overall, doing this project in the middle of a pandemic was not easy, but sometimes tragedy can show us how strong we are and amazing things can be birthed out of tragedy.