We are pleased to spotlight Davanique Collier for 2019’s Black Women Roc! campaign
Davanique is extremely passionate about lifting up young people and being a positive role model in our community. Her work developing the Walk the Wave teen fashion show which focuses on building self-esteem in youth participants has been a significant success. This year’s show featured 51 teen models and they all had incredibly positive feedback for Davanique and the impact she’s had on them. Her ability to relate and listen to youth is unmatched. Davanique is an intelligent, creative and motivated young professional. She is currently working on developing a young women’s group with In Control.
How does it feel to be nominated for the 2019 Black Women Roc! Campaign
DC: It’s an unexpected excitement and I am grateful to be a part of this amazing campaign.
When did you begin the community engagement work that you do?
DC: I have worked for the In Control program which is a teen pregnancy prevention program for three years now as an Outreach and Education Specialist. One of the primary focuses of my job is the development and delivery of outreach programs geared towards reproductive health awareness and healthy relationships. The other is identifying the needs of the youth in our community and creating programs, groups and events that are geared towards those needs.
What inspires you to continue to work hard for the Rochester Community?
DC: Community! I was born and raised in the city of Rochester so of course it is important for me to give back to my community. In addition to that, I was also a participant at the In Control program when I was a teen. I understand the tremendous impact it left on me and I feel like by working here is an opportunity for me to leave that same impact on teens. There will always be a youth that need guidance and support; I was once that teen, so my job is ongoing.
For you how does your business or area of expertise relate to wellness?
DC: A big part of my job involves empowering youth to make educated/responsible choices about their sexual health and overall wellness. I believe it is important for youth to understand how to live a healthy lifestyle and I don’t shy away from teaching them about subjects that may be taboo. I have found that is the exact information they need to live a healthy life.
How do you stay mentally and physically healthy?
DC: I try to make sure that I have a good balance between work life and personal life but sometimes it may be difficult. I believe getting to know yourself more helps you stay mentally and physically grounded. So I always make sure I take time out for myself whether it’s taking the longer way home to clear my mind or pampering myself. I am also trying to eat healthier and recently started my no meat journey.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your community engagement?
DC: I believe that the most challenging is that this generation (Generation Z) is into their phones and their attention span is shorter. So in other words, you really have to find ways to capture their attention quick or else you will lose them. It forces you to find creative ways to meet them where they are. I’m big on figuring out what teens like to do whether it’s sports, makeup, fashion and find a unique way to tie in what they like to do with an educational component attached to it.
What’s has been your best experience as a Black female change agent
DC: My best experience is being able to see the positive growth that the teens that I work with make for the better wrapped with the relationships I build along the way. I started to work with this young lady that was in 10th grade who was headed down the wrong path constantly fighting and getting in trouble in school. She is now in 12th grade about to graduate with a good job and wants to start a talk show empowering teenage girls.
What has been your biggest challenge as a Black female change agent
DC: I believe my challenge is upward mobility. I am considered to be younger than some of my counterparts and because of that some may question my abilities and underestimate what I can bring to the table. So in order to get to the places that I want to go I have to break the glass ceilings.
Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
DC: This challenge is ongoing so in order to overcome the challenge I have to continue to understand my capabilities and continue to put myself in places where people believe in my abilities. One of my favorite quotes is by Paul Brandt and he said “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon”. This quotes sums up how I feel about some challenges. My potential is limitless.
What advice do you have for other women interested in community
DC: I would say be optimistic, there is always good that can come out of a situation you may view as bad. If you feel the calling, take the opportunity to share your gifts and talent. Try to network and build positive connections with the community.
Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?
DC: I am passionate about property investment. I believe that more black people should understand the importance of owning property and investing back into our community that is why I am currently working towards getting my real estate license. Lastly, If you know of any teen girls that can benefit from the girls group please contact me and if you are interested in collaboration, let’s connect!
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