Tag Archives: empower

Purchasing With A Purpose

Of course, we all like to find that one gorgeous piece of jewelry or decoration for our homes, but it is important that we consciously spend our money on things that make a difference. With that in mind, check out two of our favorite product lines that are making the world a better place!

both-candlesFirst, the Starling Project by Sterling McDavid is a series of candles that can fill your home with four unique and wonderful scents. What makes this candle special is every time you light it, you are reminded of the deeper purpose behind it. Starling Candles are an entirely American made product whose sales are donated to key philanthropic organizations, like UNICEF. These donations go towards providing solar energy for communities in under-resourced countries.
According to The World Energy Outlook 2015, 1.2 billion people are without electricity. This contributes to poor hygiene and a dependence on unsustainable energy. Unsustainable energy is the leading cause of air pollution; which is a factor in over half a million infant deaths, with poor hygiene resulting in 1.4 million children deaths. Solar energy would provide energy alternatives, cleaner air, and cleaner water in turn saving those lives otherwise lost to air pollution and poor hygiene. One little candle could be the beginning of a change. This candle can make a difference and so can you.
So far The Starling Project has raised over 100,000 dollars which have all been donated to provide solar energy. For more information on how you can help, visit www.starlingproject.org.

songa_shop_bracelet_600x600_luna1-478x480_1024x1024Another awesome retailer, Songa Designs, is also doing its part in making a difference. They create high quality accessories that empower women. Songa Designs is an employer of women for women. According to their website, it is typical for women in developing countries to rely solely on their husbands for income—rendering them completely dependent. Songa Designs seeks to create jobs for these women to grant them their independence. They believes in fair wages and economic independence for all.
They have a number of different bracelets, necklaces, and baskets for sale on their website. Any purchase benefits women in developing countries find their own economic independence. They seek not perfection, but meaning and fulfillment, and their pieces are more than accessories. They are art with a greater purpose. Songa means, “The Path Forward.” Let’s walk together.
We like to buy, but now we can buy with purpose; consciously spending on things that make a difference.

Visit our Facebook page for a chance to win a candle or bracelet of your own this month! Don’t forget to pick up our October issue for more of our favorite fall items!

Written by Nicole Brobston

Extraordinary Women: LeeRay Costa

As LeeRay Costa wraps up her spring semester as a professor at Hollins University, she looks eagerly towards summer and the fourth year of Girls Rock Roanoke—a volunteer-run, community-based organization that she began in 2012. The week-long day camp is part of a larger global network called Girls Rock Camp Alliance. It is a place where girls and gender non-conforming youth form bands, write their own songs, and perform at a final showcase. They also participate in workshops on topics like women’s music history, body confidence, and stage performance. This incredible experience is changing lives right here in the Roanoke Valley.

What made you want to bring Girls Rock to Roanoke?
Our family knew about the Girls Rock concept for a long time. We watched the documentary when our daughter, Tallulah, was young. When she became old enough to attend camp, we found one in Durham, North Carolina. We planned our summer vacation around camp so she could have that experience. She played keyboard for several years, but at camp she discovered the drums. Through working with the band, she found she had a real skill for it. At the end of each day she couldn’t wait to tell us everything she had learned.
Her excitement was inspiring, and I started talking to the organizers of the Durham camp because I wanted youth in Roanoke to have these opportunities and experiences.

Photo by Siobhan Cline
Photo by Siobhan Cline

How does Girls Rock Roanoke help empower its participants?
Some people think of us mainly as a music camp, but music and creativity are mediums for developing other skill sets. For example, campers learn risk-taking, because in one week campers learn an instrument, write an original song, work with a people they may not know, and then perform their creations live on stage. We live in a culture that tries to mold girls into a certain way of being. They are expected to be cute and silent. This crushes their potential in many ways. We want to create fertile ground for their potential to grow.

Has the camp opened doors for you to explore your own interest in music?
Yes. A few volunteers, including myself, attended Women’s Rock Retreat through a Girls Rock camp in North Carolina because we thought, “If we are going to ask the girls to do this, we need to put ourselves out there and see what it’s like.” I played bass and sang for the first time. At the end of the three-day camp, we played at the Pinhook. There I was, in my 40s, up on stage singing a punk rock song called, “Hormone Whiplash.” It was scary but very empowering at the same time.

How do you balance Girls Rock Roanoke and your work as a professor?
One important factor is the support of my partner, Andy Matzner. Not only does he happily claim the label of feminist, but he truly walks the talk in sharing all the responsibilities of being in a partnership and raising Tallulah. He was the first person to encourage my dream of bringing Girls Rock to Roanoke, and he has been there every step of the way.
Furthermore, Girls Rock is a team effort. It would be irresponsible for me to take credit for the tremendous labor and deep love that many others have contributed to Girls Rock camp over the years. Our program director, Lucy Coronado, our volunteers, and our Board work year round to make camp a success. Together with our campers, they inspire me to make Girls Rock a priority.

If you would like more information on Girls Rock Roanoke, go to www.girlsrockroanoke.org.

There are two camp options available this summer: one week for ages 8-11 (July 11-15) and a second week for ages 12-16 (July 18-22). This year’s theme, “Rocking for Change” will incorporate social justice issues into camp activities. Be sure to pick up our June issue for LeeRay’s interview and the interviews of nine other extraordinary women we are celebrating this month!

Staying Active During the Winter

The New Year is here and that means that we are looking for more ways to stay active and stick to our resolutions!

Unfortunately, it also seems like cold weather is officially upon us. If winter is chasing you inside or keeping you from the gym, it is important that you continue to exercise at home. Make your workout something that you look forward to by utilizing equipment that keeps it fun like the SkipFit from Empower Fitness!
SkipFit Out of Package.jpg
A new twist on an old childhood favorite (anyone remember the Skip-It from the 90s?), SkipFit will help you burn calories and enjoy every minute of it. They are also reasonably priced and easy to store, making it a little more attractive than a giant at-home treadmill.

Visit www.empowerfitness.com for more information and to purchase yours today! Don’t forget to pick up our January issue for more great tips on staying active in cold weather!