How can I help? #NVW2015 Recap

Are you still wondering how you can serve in the community? Last week, I featured six community organizations with different missions, but they all have opportunities for you to volunteer with them. Take a look!howcanihelpnvw2015

Can you think of another organization or group that is looking for volunteers?

Chrisette Michele shares positive vibes in the Carolinas

IMG_5532Flower child and Grammy Award-winning R&B and soul singer-songwriter Chrisette Michele sprinkled pink fairy dusts of positivity to an intimate group of women traveling near and far to attend the Pose ‘N Post Symposium in Columbia this past Sunday.
In case you missed it, this symposium was for the “social media it girl” who wanted to take their social media game to next level. Chrisette invited panelist Brosia Malborough, an Arizona based Jewelry Designer and minimalist of style; Lover4Fashion, a beauty and style blogger; and CourtneyAdeleye of The Mane Choice.
IMG_5513While touring the eight cities, Chrisette Michele donated Rich Hipster Starter scholarships to eight deserving young women beginning their college journey. Before the symposium, I had the opportunity to speak with her about it.
Chrisette Michele shared with me that she wanted to give them some new clothes to wear, make up, and “fun stuff” to begin their journey in college.
The starter scholarships will enhance their self-esteem, the Rich Hipster explained. “The way we look does impact how you feel.”
One hand after another with questions, these ladies shared insight on how social media has made a difference in their business especially the promotion, gaining followers, and hashtags with the group of women at the event.
IMG_5604My main takeaways from the event were:
1 – Be Social! Chrisette Michele surprised the group with a little icebreaker. The task was to meet a new friend and connect with them via social media and create a hashtag that fit both of your brand. I met Rebekah and Antoinette. Rebekah and I’s hashtag was #phreaandgifted! I realized that there were many bloggers, vloggers, writers, etc. that I’ve never connected with and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. It took 14 minutes, but everyone was able to connect with a few more people. Imagine if you actively did that on a daily basis! This is something that I plan to be more cognitive about in the future.
2 – Be Simple! Don’t overload with pictures! Keep a clean background to minimize distractions. Brosia shared that she uses white backgrounds on her pictures to keep it simple and not be too distracting.
3 – Be Organic! Chrisette Michele said, “Organic followers get you.” That’s true! Your organic followers support what you are doing and why you are doing it. They will ride with you when you only have 200 likes or followers to when you reach your 20K.
IMG_55894 – Be You! At the beginning of the symposium, Chrisette Michele sung two of my jams – Better and Super Chris! Before she sung Super Chris, she explained that she is being the best Chrisette that she can be. That’s important! There are many people so focused on being like their friends or the coolest socialite that they forget about who they are as a person! Be You!
How important is it to be your authentic self especially while building your brand?

Book Review: My Journey captures transparency

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 3.40.28 PMMy pastor explained one Sunday about being in the middle of chaos that is when God is doing the most work. While reading Trina Holiness’ first installment My Journey: My Road to Wholeness While Being Transparent, it made me think of that message. Blogger and Author Trina has published her newest e-book to capture her transition in her relationship with God.

“To reach this new territory, I was stripped of many things. However, in return I was clothed with God’s love, increased faith, my distinct purpose, and clear vision of my destiny,” she said.

Last year, I set a goal to attend more networking events. I attended her summer series which featured Angie Bell of Lamp’s Love Project with my sorority sister. It was so powerful because it was not only an opportunity to network, but also to empower and inspire women while sharing testimonies. This book is another opportunity for her to do the same.

My Journey is ideal for young women stuck and searching for Godly answers. Trina’s approach to her testimony is phenomenal. Her transparency is unbelievable. The author gave you a sneak peek into her life during some of the most trying moments in her life. She bared it all in this book without leaving anyone guessing for answers. My Journey not only showcase her experience, but it also serves as a reference tool for inspirational and scripture while individuals may be facing a similar situation.

My favorite part is when she describes her experience of feeling burnt out. “T.D. Jakes describes burn out as ‘Driving a car while on E.’ Yes, that was me. I was burned out with every aspect and entity of my being. Fatigue, disappointments, setbacks, lack, and please others had all intertwined. This vine had begun to grow profusely and had started to choke the life out of me,” she wrote.

Raise your hand if you’ve felt this way before especially with your jobs, family, relationships, and many others. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

It’s such a natural reaction, but what you do can change your life. Trina proved it in her book. Trina was able to take her cloudy days and allow a ray of sunshine to expose itself to give her a clear vision of her Godly purpose. This book is an awesome read! You have to check it out for yourself. I pray it moves you the same way that it did for me.

For your copy of My Journey, subscribe to My Road 2 Wholeness at and you receive your free copy of the book!

I’m thankful that she chose Always PHREA to be the final stop during her virtual book tour. It was well worth it!

** The book review is the opinion of Starkey. This post is cross posted to Being Starkey as well. **

I bid you adieu

For the last three years, I’ve watched Always PHREA blossom into this great blog ready to guide people towards their PASSION while they HOPED for a better opportunity. I showed you all how RESPECT is taught. Collectively, we EMPOWERED new AMBITIONS in life.

I’ve interviewed roughly 20 PHREAdom Leaders about their achievements, life, and next moves professionally as well as personally.

You’ve learned my struggles and read as a I grew into the woman that I am now. I really would like to focus on this new Starkey, which is why I have decided to create a new blog called Being Starkey.

Being Starkey is where the writer and educator in me meet to still inspire and empower new opportunities.beingstarkeywhitebackground

Will it be nerdy? Yes.

Will I talk about 4-H? A lot. I can’t help it. I love my job.

Will I love every bit of it? I pray so.

Will it inspire? Of course.

Oh my gosh, what about the PHREAdom Leaders series and The Writer’s Circle? I have a great surprise for everyone in regards to the PHREAdom Leaders, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Surprisingly, Being Starkey will be a great nesting place for Always Write PHREA: The Writer’s Circle (the name will be changed though). I plan to schedule the first kick off meeting very soon.

Thank you so much for the love and support for Always PHREA. I pray you will continue support the Being Starkey movement also. Now, it’s your turn. What would you like to see on Being Starkey? Share it in my comments section.

#NVW2015 Project: Double Dose with CRAVE & Kickstart Inc.

nationalvolunteerweek2015Hey my PHREAdom Followers –

You are in for a special treat! I missed two days so I’m providing you all with a double feature for National Volunteer Week! I hope you have enjoyed it so far. Tuesday, I shared about Lamp’s Love Project. Today, I’m going to focus on CRAVE and Kickstart, Inc.
Rock Hill Youth Program, City of Rock Hill community programs, leadership, mentoring, summer programs, teaching kids to be more, want more, and to CRAVE more in life, Emmett Scott Center

CRAVE, which stands for Character, Respect, Attitude, Value, and Education. This program was founded by Latoya McDonald in 2008.
Mission: To teach youth the importance of character, respect, attitude, value and education through a programmatic structure.
Current Volunteer Needs: Afterschool and summer camp programs as well as mentor opportunities
Contact: For those interested in volunteering with this organization, complete an interest form at

Kickstart, Inc. was founded by Jennifer Herrin in 2011.
Mission: To aid the low income people in our community better themselves by helping them earn high school diplomas, start their own business, acquire a better paying job, and meet their needs with out food and clothing pantry.
Current Volunteer Needs: Help with fundraisers! Help with our feed the hungry missions.
Contact: For those interested in volunteering with this organization, visit their Web site at or find them on Facebook. 

#NVW2015 Project: Volunteer with Lamp’s Love Project

nationalvolunteerweek2015Today is day three of National Volunteer Week and day two of the #NVW2015 Project. Yesterday, I shared about Endless Dreams Foundation, Inc.’s urgent need for one to two undergraduates. Today I will be featuring Lamp’s Love Project.
Lamp’s Love Project was founded in January 2014 by Angie Bell.
Mission: To share love, kidneys and supplies to the homeless communities in local areas.
Current Volunteer Needs: Bell shared that the community can support Lamp’s Love Project by donating supplies, volunteering for distribution and promoting the organization.
Contact: If you are interested in volunteering or donating supplies, like Lamp’s Love Project on Facebook or via send an email to the founder at 

#NVW2015 Project: Volunteer with Endless Dreams Foundation, Inc.

nationalvolunteerweek2015During National Volunteer Week, I will feature various community organizations whose overall goal is to make a difference in the lives of those they touch through their programs. Just in case you missed it, yesterday I wrote about my personal experience volunteering and how it shaped my life professionally, personally, and spiritually.

Today’s featured organization is Endless Dreams Foundation, Inc.
Mission: To encourage youth to set, pursue, and complete their goals.
endlessdreamCurrent Volunteer Needs: On May 9, Endless Dreams Foundation, Inc. is looking for one to two current undergraduate students to participate in a panel discussion for their College Day 2015 workshop in Charlotte, N.C. The purpose of College Day is to provide parents and students with the opportunity to receive help filling out FAFSA forms, setting up college orientation days, setting goals in college, choosing a major, and assistance with filling out their college applications.
The panel members will answer questions from parents and prospective college students. These volunteers are needed for only an hour.

If you are interested in serving as a panel member, contact Founder Brittany Yates at

National Volunteer Week: The Power of Serving

nationalvolunteerweek2015Today is the beginning of National Volunteer Week. For the next seven days, Always PHREA will feature different community organizations in the Carolinas and ways that you can get involved with their organization. National Volunteer Week was created by Points of Light which provides resources for various volunteer opportunities. According to their Web site, this week “is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.”

Lambda Kappa and I volunteering at 2013 Avon Walk for the Cure
Lambda Kappa and I volunteering at 2013 Avon Walk for the Cure

I’ve been volunteering in some capacity for more than 10 years. My life changed in 2004 when I first volunteered. As a sophomore at Winthrop University, I applied to participate in the Alternative Spring Break with one of my friends. I thought it would’ve been a neat opportunity to do something different for spring break versus go back to Summerville and just be around my family with no major plans. I was chosen, but she wasn’t. I was a little apprehensive with going on the trip alone, but I am thankful that I did. During few days, I interacted with a group of Winthrop students that I would’ve never interacted with on a normal basis, and we made a small dent of difference in Myrtle Beach that break. My greatest memory from the trip was traveling on a boat to Sandy Island, S.C. to clean an old school that would become a community center for the island. The community was founded by a freed rice plantation slave. The residents live isolated from normal Myrtle Beach tourism. They still live a more preserved life meaning very little cars or paved roads and the children take the school boat to in the morning which to meet their bus for school. I left there with a greater bond and a new appreciation for serving the community. I fell in love with serving at Alternative Spring Break.

Paint Project at the Teen Health Center
Paint Project at the Teen Health Center

I was ready for my next community service opportunity, and it fell into my lap once I joined Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. My sorority is a service organization. We volunteered on a normal basis, but in 2006 I met a woman named Pat Kelsaw or Ms. Pat as we call her, who would change not just my life, but my purpose. Ms. Pat was the then-executive director of Teen Health Center for York County, a non-profit organization focused on teen pregnancy and risky behavior prevention for at-risk youth in the community. One of my sorority sisters and I were instrumental in developing a relationship between the local chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho and the Teen Health Center. Together, we developed girls’ empowerment programs, back-to-school educational workshops, and many others. It was my experience as a volunteer then later as a part-time outreach/volunteer coordinator at the Teen Health Center that made me realize what I really wanted to do professionally – youth program development.
Of course, I didn’t realize it completely at the time, but it came full circle in 2013 when I accepted the position as the 4-H Program Assistant. All of my lessons and experience as a volunteer prepared me for this role in 4-H.
The power of serving is a beautiful thing because it will make you realize your PASSION that you never knew existed. It will give you HOPE to reach new heights, and leave you with a sense of RESPECT for those in need of support. You will be EMPOWERED and filled with AMBITIONS to give back and make a difference in the community.
How has the power of serving made a difference in your life?

Stressed to the Max: 7 Tips to Relieve Stress

stressedoutgraphicAre you stressed out? Well did you know April is Stress Awareness Month? Stress effects people in various ways. Some people will experience weight gain from overeating their stress. While others will shop their stress away. Although, according to American Psychological Association (APA), 73% of Americans share that stress was a major factor of it. How ironic?!?

Here are 7 Tips to Relieve Stress:

 Image courtesy of Winnond at
Image courtesy of Winnond at

1. Take a lavender scented bath
Lavender is a soothing scent. I purchased the Lavender Vanilla Sleep Aromatherapy bubble bath from Bath & Body Works for a calming night.
2. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe Deeply.
Take a five-minutes and breathe. You can close your eyes if you’d like, but the main thing to do is breathe. Remove anything causing you stress with each exhale. Try it!
3. Socialize!
Call a friend. Meet your friends for lunch. Utilize social media. Anytime I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I will call one of my “I got your back” friends to help relieve it. We can talk about anything from their children, school, relationships, and whatever else. The key isn’t in the conversation topic, but rather just pushing whatever is stressing you out to be the last thing that comes to your mind.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

4. Keep moving!
Exercise helps relieve stress especially walking or yoga. Yoga is also tied to tip 2. It’s a calming breathing exercise.
5. Let Spotify be your friend!
Music is soothing. You can create a free playlist using Spotify based on your mood. I am the queen of playlists. If I need relaxing music, I select my slow jams. If I need energy, I select my clean up mix.
6. Read a book
Reading is fundamental and calming especially depending on the type of book. If you are stressed out, I doubt you will want to read a heavy intense book. I’d suggest a self-help or motivational book like Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know for Sure, which is phenomenal. This book will move and inspire you to appreciate every moment and count them as lessons.

_20150406_2251007. Start a Grateful Journal
As a writer, this would be my favorite tip. I recently started a grateful journal. I write in it every Sunday just to acknowledge the simple things. The best part is that I can go back to look at my other list of “grateful-s.” You should try it.

How do you relieve stress? 

Mind Right Monday: Week 13

mindrightmondaywk13Did you enjoy your Easter? I most certainly did. I went to church and helped serve the youth during the mid-service fun day. It was so great to see those children smiling in their new Sunday’s best dress or suit. I absolutely love serving especially the youth in my church.

It’s Monday, and you know what that means – #MindRightMonday. This past week was quite busy as normal. My county just wrapped up our local presentation competition. Whew! It was a lot, but I promise it was all worth it. Those kids and parents put in so much time and effort preparing for this big day, and to see it come into fruition is amazing. As you can tell, I absolutely love my job!

Are you new to the #MindRightMonday movement? Here’s what it is – I started participating in a link up created by Darrica from Dear DarricaDani from Ok, Dani and Danielle from Mamademics to focus on being more accountable of my goals and writing down my list of “gratefuls” to share with everyone.

Last week’s goals were:
Blog three times – Almost, I wrote twice.
Schedule PHREAdom Leader interview for April – Check!
Write 1,500 words for Chapter 12 – Next!
Drink more water – Check!
Drop off items to Back the Rack – I dropped off items to Plato’s Closet. Does that count?
Contact local non-profits for April series – Not yet!
Start reading The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl – Check! It’s so awesome!

This week’s goals are:
Blog three times
Interview April’s PHREAdom Leader
Write 1,500 words for Chapter 12
Drink more water
Contact local non-profits for April series
Write in my grateful journal
Schedule social media posts

What I’m grateful for:
Sanctuary Charlotte Church
7 Degrees of Sigma
My Praying Sisters
My Career
BLM Girls
Ability to write
Willingness to give and serve

What are your achievements for this week? Share them with me.