Monday, August 20, 2018
PEARLS Academy: Helping girls to set goals, follow their dreams
By Jennifer Bihm, Sentinel Staff Writer
Published November 7, 2013

Rosa Johnson (middle in pink with necklace) started Pearls Academy to empower youth to seize their dreams and goals.

Photo courtesy of Rosa Johnson

Rosa Johnson established Preparing Early and Refining Little Sisters (PEARLS) Academy last summer, she said, because she has always wanted to help young people go after and achieve their dreams. She does this two Saturdays a month from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in her facility on Vernon Avenue. This is where she holds workshops for girls ages 7 to 24, on everything from banking to hygiene.

“[We] are preparing  the girls for the opportunity to be in the right place so that their dreams can come true,” Johnson explained.

Her dream, turned into an idea and then into reality as she was finishing a master’s program at USC.

“I began using all of my assignments to design the program,” Johnson recalled.

“Over the two year span that I was there, everything came together and after I graduated, I just made a few phone calls to some friends who are also community members. They volunteered their time and decided to come along and help.”

PEARLS became California certified in July of 2012. They held their first meeting in September that same year.

“Our first year, we took on about 26 girls, which was a lot. I thought I was going to start off with six girls but it ended up turning into its own thing,” Johnson said.

“We met with the girls and the families and the community members, had an open house,  to pretty much get a consensus on what the needs are in the community and to come together to have a discussion to see what it was that we wanted to do with the youth.  So, out of that came our structure.”

So far, they’ve taken field trips, done science experiments and participated in financial workshops from banking experts from Union Bank. They recently added the STONES section of their organization for male youth ages 11-21. STONES stands for Standing Together on Nobility, Education and Success.

Anyone interested in PEARLS or STONES can call Johnson at (213) 793-1221.

“We’d like to keep our group between twelve and fifteen members because it is an intimate setting,” said Johnson.

“[But] anyone who wants to be a part of it, they’ll just contact me and we’ll get to know each other.  I’ll invite you out to one of our workshops and you can participate for the day. If you like what we’re doing and think it’s going to benefit you, you can become a part of our team. “

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Categories: Crenshaw & Around

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