A professor in the english department of Clark Atlanta University, Steffinie Winfrey is the founder of a non-for-profit organization, Melanin and Honey. An organization uplifting young females through mentorship.
Kayla Grant: What does the name Melanin and Honey mean to you?
Steffinie Winfrey: Respect your complexion! After looking at the issue of colorism within the Black community, melanin and honey represents ALL shades, colors, complexions of women. Melanin being a darker pigment and Honey a lighter. We all need to stand together as one.
KG: When was Melanin and Honey started? Why did you start Melanin and Honey?
SW: We became incorporated in December 2017. I specifically saw a need for young African American girls that looked like me to help: inspire, create, encourage, and invigorate. Starting the nonprofit, Melanin and Honey, is our way to assist in helping these young girls to achieve their life’s dream while helping to facilitate their needs in: self-esteem, self-respect, and self-love, while promoting, advocating, and uplifting their fellow sisters as well. This organization was created to help foster these beliefs as well as to extricate any negative connotations and/or ideas about Black girls/ women. I believe that in doing mentoring, if we can change at least one life, that is the start to not only making the world a better place (cliché, I know) but also to prevailing past the paradigm of Black women and flourishing beyond expectations.
KG:Who is Melanin and Honey’s target audience and can you explain how you match mentors with mentees?
SW: The age range of the mentees is 11 to 18 years old, which is 6th grade through 12th grade. There are 30 mentors and mentees. We ask mentors and mentees questions about themselves as well as what they like to do. Then, we match according to their responses.
KG: What are some of the things that you require from your mentors and what are some things that you expect them to do with their mentees?
SW: We require an application, a background check, and an orientation. Some activities that mentors can do with their mentees include but are not limited to: Chaperone a field trip, talk about the future, talk about personal values, talk about proper nutrition, work on character building, do some volunteer work together, do fun activities together, and discuss goals. To ensure the success of our mentees, we have our mentors focus on five key elements: Self-Esteem (Physical and Mental Health), Financial Literacy, Career Readiness, Enhancing Technical Abilities (Social Media) and Leadership Skills.
KG: When is the next time that Clark Atlanta University students can sign up to become a mentor and how can students contact you if they wish to learn more about the organization?
SW: April is the next time students can sign up to become a mentor. They can come to my office in Haven Warren Room 100 to discuss the program with me or they can go to the website at http://www.melaninandhoney.org
KG: Are there other ways that CAU students can be involved with Melanin and Honey, if they do not ant to become mentors?
SW: Yes, interns and program coordinators are needed for Melanin and Honey.
KG: In what ways can people donate to Melanin and Honey?
SW: For the month of November, people can donate feminine hygiene bags by purchasing items for our young girls through Amazon.
More information can be found on our Instagram: @melaninhoneyorg. On a regular basis, people can donate through our GoFundMe: Melanin and Honey Start Up.