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Check Out Tonya Kelly’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tonya Kelly. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Tonya Kelly, MEd, is the CEO/Founder of the 501c3 non-profit organization called Empower our Youth Foundation. Tonya by career is a fourth-grade teacher at Horizon Science Academy Elementary in Columbus, Ohio. The organization began in 2017 when her second daughter experienced being bullied till she had thoughts of suicide. With both of her daughters being bullied, she witnessed firsthand the negative impacts, the family emotions, and experiences that damage a child’s self-esteem and quality of life. Over the past three years, she has shared her testimony and served as an Anti-Bullying advocate assisting families in reporting any forms of bullying to the appropriate authorities and mentoring students. Tonya has used her education and prevention awareness programs to become a voice and stand up for families by offering literacy education, mentorship, social-emotional learning, empowerment to the communities in Columbus, OH, and throughout the United States. As community advocates, families and youth learn how to respect, believe, inspire themselves and others while celebrating life.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Not as an Educator and Community leader. Obstacles will always be there. Especially when you say the word bullying. Sharing my testimony about my daughter and granddaughter being bullied helps resonate with families who have experienced bullying crisis/traumatic incidents are aware of the emotional impact it has on a child and family. For people who haven’t experienced bullying, I share how bullying directly impacts classrooms, schools, communities, community leaders and job environments then people ask more questions on how to get involved in the community outreach programming.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a 4th-grade teacher by career. I teach SS/Science. I specialize in community development and education against all forms of bullying. I’m known for creating free community programming for families and youth to make direct connection with local Police officers and community leaders in our city. What sets me apart is the passion and purpose I possess for creating a commitment to my students, youth, family and community. 2) I am ready to do whatever they have to to help families grow healthy kids. My passion, persistence, and perseverance is my entire being.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
Visiting your city was amazing. I was able to return to my hometown Columbus, OH and share my experiences with my African decent students who many have relatives who live in Minneapolis, MN. The least is all the racial tensions that happens in the city that I hope to collaborate with the local police officers, community leaders and educators and tailored to the youth using creative arts, social and emotional resources, and body positivity to improve the lives of our youth.

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