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Empowering the next generation of girls – one classroom at a time!

I am so thrilled to be able to share a project with you that has been over a year in the making!

Helping young women step into their power and embrace their unique gifts is a passion and mission of mine! This past school year, my twin sister Sarah and I collaborated on a pilot project with the staff and students of Nativity Miguel’s St. Monica’s Campus to share in a year-long Empowerment and Leadership program with their grade 7 girls.

This project is near and dear to both our hearts as we both keenly remember that vital time in our childhood. 7th grade was the time that I started to veer down a different path and venture into unknown territory, and somewhat unhealthy behavior. I had a hard time relating to my parents, people at school, and sometimes even my twin sister. It was a time when I could have used extra support, guidance, mentorship and a sense that even though I was exploring things that a lot of my peers weren’t exploring, that that was ok, that I was ok.

Sarah and I developed a program to give Saint Monica’s 7th grade girls the tools and space to discover who they are while receiving the support they need to become powerful and empowered young women. We taught mindfulness practices, body-centered awareness, verbalization and communication tools, journal writing, how to express yourself in healthy ways through movement and visual art forms, and several simple, but powerful tools they can carry with them into the world as they claim their power and chart their own journey and path!

We also worked with the 7th Grade girls’ teachers during a handful of workshops throughout the school year so that the work that we were doing with the girls could be experienced by the teachers themselves. It was a powerful year for all of us! And truly amazing to watch the girls and teachers open up and transform before our eyes.

Here is a short piece about our work with the 7th Grade girls and Teachers at Saint Monica’s. Sarah and I continue exploring different ways of bringing this to more schools and classrooms around the country and the world! If you are touched or inspired, please leave a comment and share this blog 🙂

Sarah and I work with both adult and youth. For more info on how to bring Sarah and I to your school, community center, or organization, please contact Sarah Haykel at sarah@sarahhaykel.com

Give thanks!!

Are you listening to the song of your Soul? Update on my Digital Pause

I realize I’ve been out of touch for quite a while. I’ve been thinking about my community (YOU!), holding you in my heart, planning to reach out, and….. I’ve been putting it off. Here’s an update from my last blog of 2015….. As you may have read, something really big was beginning to shift within me late summer/early fall 2015. The seed of that shift was planted a year before in the summer of 2014. As last September rolled around I found myself in the midst of a major life transition, with my only child going away to college and the next phase of my life beginning to peak through the soil and reach for the sunshine. My whole world started opening up before me. I felt…. scared, nervous, excited, confugled (it’s a word I made up years ago, sort of a blend of confused and mixed up ;), contemplative and full of anticipation to discover how my life will unfold before me in the days/months/years ahead. In October 2015 I began to dive into the beginning of a rebranding process for ‘Laura Aiisha’ while mapping out another plan that would possibly, potentially be the magic key that would allow … Continue reading

#Katrina10: How Trust Faith & Grace Got Us Out of New Orleans in The Knick of Time

Blessings y’all! It’s Friday, August 28th 2015 and I’ve been thinking a lot about my Katrina story from 10 years ago. Rewind 22 years ago. I was a misift, rebel who ended up in a heap of trouble when I was 16. As a result I was sent to live in a rural town outside of Lafayette Louisiana for ten months. Desipte, living in Louisiana for just about a year, I never had a chance to visit or spend any time in New Orleans. It was eleven years later, and I was hired as the tour manager for a Reggae group called the “Easy Star All-Stars.” One of our stops was New Orleans!! We were playing the House of Blues on a Friday night, but not just any Friday night. It was the Friday of the weekend that Katrina was barreling towards the gulf coast, and by the time I arrived in New Orleans I had no idea what we were in for. Our show that night at the House of Blues was amazing, and I remember being so excited that we had the weekend off in NOLA!! I would finally get a chance to experience this mystical, wild, magical city. Then the calls started coming in…. A man I was seeing … Continue reading

Little $ BIG Impact – The Power of Community

You may not know this about me, but I’ve long had a dream of being a philanthropist. I used think that I’d need millions of dollars to make an impact, thankful now I know differently. Over the last several years I’ve supported projects with as little as $1, and guess what…. those $1, $5, $25 donations made an impact and helped projects get funded. I am continuously awed and blessed by the power of our community! We are greater together, and the impact we make can move mountains…AND EXPAND SCHOOLS!! As many of you know, I’ve been passionate about Africa, African culture and playing a role in increasing the peace and goodness on the continent of Africa. I started traveling to Africa 5 years ago and have been aching to pay it forward to organizations and projects that are making a direct impact on the lives of Africans in the Motherland. So I’ve been invited to join 29 other change-makers, entrepreneurs and colleagues in the Misfit Inc. community to raise $500 each between now and the end of August to improve a school for children in Uganda! The “Send Me to School” program doesn’t just build buildings (although with 190 … Continue reading

Join us TODAY! The Get Up Movement :: From Woe is Me to Empowered and Free

Bless Up ma famille! I want to share with you a bit about my experience hitting ‘rock bottom.’ When I look back on my life, there are a few specific times that I can think of when I truly hit bottom. And when you hit that place, you know you’re at the bottom because literally, there’s nowhere to go but up. Can you relate?! The last major bottom I hit was at 29 years young. I fell in love with this man who was not ready, willing or able to love me fully. There were several reasons why this didn’t work (and ended in utter disaster); however, what occurred to me in the aftermath was that I had no idea at that time how to love MYSELF. I also realized that I was putting so much of my own ‘stuff’ on this situation, trying to get my needs met through other people who were saying know, but I couldn’t/wouldn’t hear it. It was heartbreaking, it brought me to my knees and broke me to the core.. and then the most incredible things started to happen. I took a STAND for myself and my life. I told myself, ‘Laura Haykel.. you’re … Continue reading

Our TEDx video has been released – WATCH it now!!!

If you love DANCE, MUSIC & CONSCIOUSNESS… We’d be honored for you to watch our 5 minute TEDx video! Share this video with those you know it will inspire. Transcript: Sarah: I am constantly expanding My container is huge In fact, it’s infinite The scientists call me “dark energy”. They cannot see or detect me, but they know I am here. Every part of me is essential to my being. I am Laura and Sarah: Sarah, Laura, Sarah, Laura, Sarah, Laura I am Laura And I am Sarah We are The Haykel Twins Laura: We were invented right here in Buffalo, NY Our Mother’s Family came from Eastern Europe And our Father’s, from the Middle East And somewhere along the lines of our ancestry on both sides of the family, there was a vision: to create a better future for the generations to come. Sarah: Much like the elusive dark energy that’s constantly expanding this great universe, there too is a life force energy moving through each one of us, moving us forward to Choose, Create and Live our best lives. Laura: Four days after our 16th birthday, I dropped out of school and left home. I felt trapped, like … Continue reading

Join my Desire Map Book Club event.. January 2014!

As we approach the New Year, I’m sure we’re all coming up with resolutions and visions for what we want to create in a fresh new year with a clean slate.  To give us a jumpstart and keep the energy flowing into making these visions a reality, I’m hosting a book club event that will get you in touch with your deepest desires and how to activate them in a big way in the world.  This book club event is centered around Danielle Laporte’s amazing book, The Desire Map. Have you heard of Danielle LaPorte yet? If so, then you know why I’m a huge fan! If not, let me explain a little about who she is and why you’re going to LOVE her book, The Desire Map. Danielle LaPorte is the outspoken creator of The Desire Map, author of The Fire Starter Sessions (Random House/Crown), co-creator of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan, and soon-to-be publisher of DANIELLE Magazine, launching in early 2014. You can learn even more about her and get a taste of her message on her website by clicking here. On the evening of January 14, 2014 and for four Tuesday evenings after that, I’ll be hosting … Continue reading

How is what I'm longing for an indication of what I've already got?

Life is giving me many opportunities to ‘practice what I preach’ so to say, by showing up in the face of adversity, challenges and discomfort in new ways. One of the things that’s been present for me is the experience of wanting more than I’ve got, wanting what others have or desiring things to be different in order to suit a vision that I’ve had for myself, for my life.  The question I find I’m asking myself is this: Where is the balance between giving thanks for and acknowledging what I’ve got, have accomplished, experienced etc. and the desire to have more or better than what I currently have? This is a powerful question, one that’s come up recently for me with regards to a personal relationship that I’ve been engaging with over the last year.  You see, I’ve always imagined the type of man that I believe I’m ‘meant’ to be with.  He’s flawless, really; successful, good looking, doesn’t need me but so truly desires and apprecialoves me, loves me through and through, he’s patient, wise, empowered, confident, brilliant, loving, thoughtful, worldly, wealthy.. the list goes on and on. What life has presented me with instead, are opportunities to … Continue reading

This one is for Mystic..

I had one of those tender reminders about the sacredness of life this past weekend. I’ve had a friend these last 8 years named Mystic.  And honestly, she was more than a friend.  She was a Soul SiSTAR, an Angel, a Guide; she was Family to me. I know you know what I’m talking about.. you’ve got friends like this too, right?! I met Mystic in the ladies room at B.B. King’s Blues Club in NYC.  I was singing in my stall (which I frequently do) because I hadn’t yet mustered up the courage to sing in front of others publicly.  When I came out of the stall Mystic was there washing her hands.  She was tall with chocolate skin and beautiful dreadlocks, dressed beautifully (she always dressed so funky, fresh and stylish), she was Regal.  She said, ‘You’ve got a beautiful voice!’ We introduced ourselves and began building our friendship. My friendship with Mystic was deep, she was a light and a guiding force in my life. She was filled with this peaceful power and presence, highly intuitive, creative (a singer and actress), she loved yoga and eating well for her body. We lost touch after I left NYC … Continue reading

Giving Thanks

I often feel like the gratitude girl because to me, everyday is an opportunity for thanksgiving.  I’m not always consciously aware of how often I ‘Give Thanks’ however those around me definitely take notice.  For example, I recently spent a weekend in Austin TX with my business coach Sage Lavine and a handful of other women in the program.  I had to leave early for the airport on our final day together.  Upon my departure from the conference room all of the women said together ‘GIVE THANKS!’   It made me smile, knowing that this natural way of showing up is having an impact on those around me.       This practice of giving thanks stems from my love for and connection to reggae music.  One of the things that I’ve always loved most about roots reggae is the reverence for the ‘Most High’ or ‘Jah’ and giving thanks & praises for all that is.     I’m not a religious person however, I am highly spiritual in nature and have always felt a direct connect to ‘source’ energy. I’ve been this way since I was a small child, and used to fear that ‘God’ would call on me to be a nun! … Continue reading