According to the 2017 Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report, 7 in 10 girls will not be assertive in their opinion or stick to their decision. Studies show that confidence is gradually built amongst adolescent children, and often is absorbed from outside resources. Organizations like Black Girls Smile (BGS) are empowering young women to develop healthy and mentally stable mindsets through fostering a safe community for African American parents and girls.

Founded in 2012 by Lauren Carson, BGS takes a holistic approach focusing on physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing. Through direct programming and initiatives, they have built a community of girls and direct support systems including parents, caregivers, schools, and extracurricular personnel.

“At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with clinical depression, and I knew the only way for me to live a full and meaningful life was to focus on my mental wellbeing,” says founder, Lauren Carson “I vowed to make it my life’s work to ensure others did not experience the same difficulties and were provided the resources and support to lead mentally healthy lives.”

Black Girls Smile also makes it its mission to curate events that offer communication workshops, one-on-one wellness check-ins, resource fairs, and healing modalities. Their latest summit in Atlanta, GA titled, Black Girls Are Magic, turned out to be a huge success. Over 50 girls between the ages of 13 to 18 y/o participated using a parent drop-off method that encouraged the girls to expand their social skills during this one-day event. BGS also took over the Big Apple where they hosted a self-care wellness session in honor of National Minority Mental Health Month earlier this summer. New York locals, both Black women, and girls, gathered for a two-day event that was free of charge for participants!

Not only is BGS talking the talk, but as a team, they are walking the walk. Employees, volunteers, and sponsors gather to help such programs come alive with their own preparation and mental health checks.

“Black Girls Smile allows me to funnel my background in research, policy, project management, and event planning with my passion for supporting the well-being of Black girls and women. My life revolves around creating spaces for Black women and femmes to be seen, heard, and appreciated. Therefore, it has been such a unique and meaningful environment to work in because we strive to reflect the values of wellbeing in our internal processes and outward programming,” remarks Paige Woods, Associate Director of BGS.

This fall, BGS will kick off a suicide prevention program that will set protocols to help local communities respond effectively and compassionately to warning signs of self-destruction. Did you know in 2019 the leading cause of death among U.S. citizens aged 15 to 24 was suicide? (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Statistical research like such is the driving force that guides BGS to create initiatives that address these issues. Through their Charlyne McFarland Therapy Assistance Program, financial support for therapy sessions are also available for Black women and girls. Participants can also expect more in-person programming and events in major cities across the U.S. including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

For more information on how to get involved, visit


“Mental Health by the Numbers.” NAMI,

Willer, Sarah, editor. Dove, 2017, Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report, -Girls-Beauty-and-Confidence-Report.pdf.