Handmade art empowering females in the USA & Togo,West Africa
International Women's Day local trailblazers
Since we started our charity works in 2014, we have encountered some pretty outstanding women. This year we would like to acknowledge a few of them who have stood out before and during the pandemic. We would like to say, we see you, we like your drive, continue what you're doing and see you at our 10th annual celebration in 2022!! You are strong, you are beautiful, you are unique! Please support these women as much as you can during this giving season because they are so deserving of their titles. Pick one, pick a few, just support and make a difference!
Classic Chic Boutique
My name is Renay Hill, I am a wife, mom and educator. I am also a
consultant with Paparazzi Accessories and the proud owner of Classic and
When I became a Paparazzi consultant I thought I would just buy the
jewelry for myself, while enjoying the discount. Immediately, the jewelry
began to sell itself, as friends and family wanted to order the sets that they
saw me wearing.
Over the last four years, Paparazzi has increasingly helped to pay for
household expenses. As a mother to 2 active daughters my Paparazzi
business initially began paying for their extracurricular activities of
basketball, dance, singing lessons and the associated expenses.
My Why has changed as my business grew. Paparazzi has enabled me to
not only pay for extracurricular expenses, but, it has also allowed me pay for
my mother’s car payment and most recently reduced my credit card debt by
If you are looking for beautiful affordable accessories, I would love to help
you select a few special pieces. If you are considering ways of
supplementing your income, I would love to talk to you about becoming a
Email: [email protected]
With Her Hands, meet Carmen Callender, an art educator and life long creative. The name of her store is Bible based- beginning with the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 realizing how many other women in the Bible worshipped God and acted in obedience with their hands like Miriam and her tambourine, Ruth picking up the scraps of grain, the woman with her alabaster box and countless more… Her store was birthed out of a great desire to reach youth and other like them through kits and programming that go beyond the confinement of social distancing and quarantine. “The 2020 pandemic heightened my sensitivity to some of our most vulnerable youth that I could no longer reach in the same way- those dealing with loss, poverty or abuse, living in state custody, foster care, or who have been adopted and still need support. See, it’s THOSE children who often open up in my art room. They often are the most themselves while making art with me.”
Purchase items on www.etsy.com/shop/ShopWithHerHands
FJ Beads, meet Fijerique Koffi-Tessio
proud artist passionate about making traditional African jewelry inspired by Masai and Crystal beads. She loves to customize your pieces for you so make sure to check out her shop on Etsy at https://etsy.com/people/Fijerique23?ref=hdr_user_menu-profile
and Facebook at Fjbeads Art.
Young Living Essential Oils, meet Kristi Tessier offering popular starter kits of popular essential oil singles, home and personal care, popular healthy and fit products, foundation powders and so much more. Show her some support by checking out her website at https://www.myyl.com/ktessier
Alterations by Elizabeth, "Bring out the best in you", meet Elizabeth Daniels who recently opened her store in Palmer after years of custom sewing and alteration repairs in Springfield. Always had an interest in sewing since taking Home Economics during her school days: After selling a piece from my college collection, I got a taste of the bug to sell and my sewing was worth something" . She also makes masks for all kinds of occasions like weddings and personalizes them with your desired cloths. She can be found on Facebook , by email at [email protected] or (413)799-0046.
Farmasi, meet Kaity Streit with her public Facebook group Glam for the Daily Grind where she presents make-up tutorials live. Her products include lip gloss, lipstick, lipliners, eyeliners, shampoo, blush powder, foundations and so much more. Her products are unique because they are non GMO and dermatologically tested, not tested on animals, no endangered plants or animal ingredients. Check out her website at https://farmasius.com/caitlynStreit
Jafra Joy, meet Rhonda Hall-Reynolds offering skin care, beauty products, cosmetics and membership discounts for Jafra. Find her on Facebook at Jafrajoy/RhondaHall Twitter: Rhondahall007 Website: www.jafra.com/rhall and phone: (413)563-9993.
Good Girl Body Shop, meet Nikki Horner who is making her own facial scrubs, body scrubs, lip balms, foot soaks, bath soaks, hand creams, eye gels and so much more Purchase her handmade products on http://www.etsy.com/shop/goodgirlbodyshop or contact her on Facebook.
Joy Magazine, meet Cheryl Jones, Editor in Chief of a free publication with 5 publications per year. Lifestyle content for women 50+, circulation includes towns in Western MA and CT. She has sponsored the International Women's Day Celebration in the past years and has also set-up a table to pass out her magazines. For more information go to www.thejoymagazine.com (860)8656-0712 [email protected] or www.facebook.com/joy
Dom Dee Photograpy, meet Denise Stewart our official Afri(K)que photographer and cancer-survivor with her own photography small business specializing in all different kinds of events like weddings, birthdays, graduations, prom pictures, celebrations, calendars, photo books and much more. Find them at DomDee Photograpy on Facebook and on their website http://domdeephotography.zenfolio.com
Olive Tree Books-N-Voices,
meet Zelmon Johnson, proprietor of this local Springfield bookstore that’s been in the community for 50 years. Shop with them at 97 Hancock Street Springfield MA 01109
Avon, meet Christine Strickland, Team leader, Independent Sales Representative who has attended our events from the beginning and has been a guest speaker more than once for our International Women's Day Celebration in Springfield. She has been giving back to women and girls here in MA and Togo Africa through her donations of deodorants, shampoo, handbags, jewelry and more. Website www.youravon.com/cstrickland1323 and join her Facebook page at All About Beauty with Purpose.
Tupperware, meet Michelle LaBonte.
She loves her business and has been working with these products for over 42 years. You'll be surprised to learn that they're still doing "parties" she will be glad to give you more information. Are you aware that Tupperware has been a much needed product in homes for over 70 years? Thank us later, check out her website at labonte5.my.tupperware.com
It Makes Scents & Outside the Box Gift Shop, meet Michelle LaRocque the owner of this gift shop that focuses on locally made items and other unique gifts. Skip the mall and find bath and body, home décor, jewelry, art, photography, food and accessories. They also do workshops and pop up shops.
They have great news to share! They're moving to 44 Sewall Street in Ludlow in March so make sure to go say hi to them at their new location. Find them online at http://www.facebook.com/itmakesscentsbymichelle or call (413)610-1500
Comforts Pillows by Nana, meet Pam Lewis. Her handmade supplies include but are not limited to assorted different designed masks, scented and unscented pillows, tooth fairy pillows, freeze/heat therapy pillows, large and small sachets, eye pillows, neck pillows, catnip mats, dog mats and much more. Special orders are always available. Her items can be found at the Yankee Flea Market in Palmer. Her handmade treasures are always part of our give-aways for the Monson Cultural Picnic and the International Women's Day Celebration events. She can also be reached at [email protected] or (413)283-3691.
Shannon Mumblo is Executive Director of Christina’s House, Hope & Healing for Women & Children for mothers 18 years of age or older who have legal custody of their children and are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The house opened in 2014 and the root word " Christ" in it's name testifies to the faith-driven life of community service both here and abroad of founder and president Linda Mumblo a Baystate Medical Health registered nurse who retired in 2011 after 35 years. Shannon is a registered nurse herself and also a licensed independent social worker whose personal, family and work life are also guided by her Christian faith as well as the spirit of her maternal grandmother who helped ease some of the adversity of her childhood with parents who had her at a very young age and she said struggled with substance abuse. She describes the journey toward the purchase of Christina’s House with few resources and its development as a “nondenominational Christ-centered program” as “being completely God led” and undertaken in the belief that "God would provide if we would just have faith enough to step out and share what he wanted us to do.” She said that is why spiritual development is an important part of the home’s mission and that this is explained to applicants so they can decided whether the program is right for them.
“It is an important mission of the house because the initial seed that was planted upon the heart of my mother-in-law began with conviction and faith,” her husband, a social worker, also helps with the program.
To learn more about their works go to their website on http://christinashouse.org or their Facebook page.
Baker's Lane Biscotti
I am a Registered Dietitian who started a microbusiness in the fall of 2018 out of my church kitchen. I have been baking my grandmother's Italian cookie recipes (biscotti and pizzelle) for decades. Everyone I gifted them to was always commenting that they were so delicious. When they bought biscotti and pizzelle elsewhere, they were always disappointed that they didn't taste like mine!
Making only 2 products to sell wouldn't allow me to open up my own storefront, so I had the idea to bake in the certified kitchen of First Church in Monson and give 10% of all sales back to the church. I soft-launched after worship one day and then sold at winter farmers' markets (Amherst and Northampton) and at local craft fairs and festivals. Customers requested different kinds of biscotti, so I have expanded to 9 products! Covid-19 shut the Northampton Winter Farmers' Market down and after that, every fair and festival I was going to sell at was cancelled. I didn't bake again until I decided to launch this as an e-commerce business in September of 2020. My new website went live in November, and I have been shipping my products across the country!
To order her delicious bake goods go to
www.bakerslanebiscotti.com or contact her via Facebook.
My name is Kimberly Westbrook. I reside in Springfield, Massachusetts. I’m a self-proclaimed Yoga aficionado. I have certifications in Ashtanga/Power yoga, Kripalu Yoga , Mindfulness Yoga Therapy and Yoga as a peace practice. Currently I’m a Afro-flow yoga teacher in training and a student of Kemetic Reiki . I can be reached via email [email protected] or @ ki.west.10.
Ohana School Of Performing Arts, meet Ashley Kohl, Owner and Creative Director. She started dancing at New England Dance Conservatory at the age of 2. She was in the back line for her first dance on stage, but that didn’t stop her from pushing her way to the front line. She always knew she was meant to pursue performance and inspire others to have a passion for it. She went on to dance at "The Dance Shop", where she studied ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and acrobatics under the instruction of Joy Barcome and Marianne Bouthilette. She continued dancing in their company, until her Mom, Darlene Sattler, opened Technique Studio of Dance in 1997. She danced competitively for most of her childhood, traveling across New England to compete and perform. Ashley began teaching and choreographing dance when she was 14 years old.
She went on to attend Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School, where she was a member of Catalyst Dance Company. She traveled to conventions and dance festivals, learned from a variety of dance professionals and studied partnering, ballroom, ballet, jazz, modern and hip hop. She was asked to teach a hip-hop class during her senior year of high school and has also choreographed and performed in numerous musical theater performances.
Her experience as a co-host and associate producer of WWLP-22 News weekday morning lifestyle program, “Mass Appeal”, for the past 6 years has allowed her the chance to discover what fuels her soul and what her true purpose is.
Ashley is a western Massachusetts native. She was born and raised in South Hadley, and she is a graduate of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School. Ashley also attended Wagner College studying Arts Administration, and the University of Massachusetts where she majored in Communications.
Her heart, soul and purpose are in being a mom to her 7 year old daughter, Summer and 6 year old son, Brody.
Sign up for their dance classes at www.ohanaperformingarts.com and like them on Facebook!
First Ladies of Poverty Foundation, meet Shatoyia Jones, founder and CEO, she is a Louisiana native who grew up in poverty and was exposed to abuse, violent racism & financial hardship at a very young age. Now a 4x award-winning, international purpose-driven poverty and racial equity specialist, social systems analyst, author and social entrepreneur, she credits her underdog success to the ability to generate innovative, timeless solutions to excel in all areas of life, fueled by an unwavering resourcefulness, resilience, confidence, savviness and lifestyle anchored in lifelong learning. She makes ancient wisdom relevant and modern through investing, making it clear that success is not a destination; it is a lifestyle. She is also a multi-faceted philosopher, diversity and inclusion leader, passive income mentor and self development mentor.
With 14 years (and counting) of experience in the management and program development, cultural transformation and DEI / EDI / D&I industries, she was recently selected to serve as the sole project leader for Beyond El Campo literacy project in Costa Rica, Youth Engagement Specialist for Self/Dial Americorps, Guest Workshop Host for Consortium for High Achieving Students of Color at Trinity College, Special Guest at MIT Innovation Conference & Harambe Seed Funding at Harvard Business. In 2019, she served as reigning Ms. Massachusetts 2019 AWOS and Miss Black America Mass 2018. Did we tell you she's the National Ambassador for Afri(K)que? She can be contacted by appointment on https://www. firstladiesofpovertyfoundation.org
Finally, meet our founder and Executive Director whose vision made all of this possible. Karina Dise is behind this nonprofit organization empowering women and girls experiencing hunger, poverty and homelessness. “We believe that women are so talented and by showcasing their artwork at our events we can be the voice of the ones who have so little.
Sharing our works and simply attending our events like the Monson Cultural Picnic and the International Women’s Day Celebration is an excellent way to give back to the communities where we serve. Our works extend from MA to Togo, West Africa. Our dream is to be able to bring our dedicated volunteers and selected board members on a charity trip where they can experience charity face-to face. “ To shop our beautiful handmade artifacts go to www.etsy.com/shop/AfriKque
Also make sure to check out the rest of our website and like us on Facebook at AfriKque Limited.
Giving thanks to Springfield City Councilor Kateri Walsh who has been our honorable guest speaker several times at our International Women's Day Celebration. Wishing you and your family a healthy and peaceful 2021! Can't wait to see you all at our future in-person events!
Lastly, we recognize our young entrepreneurs in our community and we're spotlighting Ezra's Dog Treats. This started when Ezra was 3 years old and his grandmother Maureen wanted to teach him about earning money and he immediately said "Let's make dog treats" . So they started making dog treats and only sell them on holidays! We wish Ezra and his family a lot of luck in his new endeavor and hopes this blossoms one day into a successful business!