Ivy Box currently serves as the chief executive officer of Voice T.H.E. Movement, Inc., which hosts an annual empowerment workshop that impacts over 500 disadvantaged middle and high school students. She is author of “The 365 Go Get H.E.R.S. Guide,” a comprehensive roadmap that delivers the tools necessary to establish and maintain a stable foundation, clear vision, self-empowerment, and maximum results through the culmination of happiness, education, respect and success.
Why did you write “The 365 Go Get H.E.R.S. Guide” and start Voice T.H.E. Movement, Inc.? I wrote “The 365 Go Get HERS Guide” as a self-help guide for myself. I figured if I needed this type of guide than there are many others that may be in need of it as well. When you learn, your humanitarian obligation is to teach, is to pay it forward, and if you care, share. The idea of starting a nonprofit came about years before I actually got the organization up and running. I’ve always done work in the community growing up through family, church and school. It was second nature to me. Throughout my years of service, I’ve been able to identify certain needs and felt that I could create a non-profit that could help suffice those needs and so Voice The Movement, Incorporated was born. Voice seeks to improve the quality of life of men, women, and children by providing opportunities that enlighten, illuminates, and empowers, through health, education, arts and entertainment, and technology.
What personal experiences helped you shape your organization's mission and vision and have guided you in engaging with youth? My non-profit started off as my personal mission statement. There were key sentences in my personal mission statement where the words voice, truth, hope, empower, move were highlighted and that turned into Voice T.H.E. Movement. It is one thing to see something and want to create changes and opportunities and it’s another thing do it. My experiences in the community helped me to identify some needs and I figured it was time to do something about it.
Are there any youth populations that you specifically target? If so, why? And how do your programs help disadvantaged and/or at-risk youth? When we do our youth empowerment workshops, we target underrepresented middle and high school students. Those are pivotal years in a child’s development. It is a coming of age point in their lives that can shape who they are and who they can become. Our workshops are strategic, yet fun, and informative. We make sure that our panelist, presenters, and speakers are relatable and that they are sharing with them and not talking at them. It’s about sparking the light and providing them with the tools necessary to keep that light shining.
What challenges, if any, have you experienced as a Haitian-American woman growing several businesses in Florida? How did you overcome those challenges? Growing up as a first generation Haitian-American is challenging in the sense that your entire family, essentially is starting over. You are creating your family’s history and legacy in a new country, with new rules, and a new culture. There’s a certain paradigm that comes along with that. Creating and growing a business sounds cute, but it can be ugly. It’s definitely more work than if you were to work a regular 9-5. I don’t think you ever really overcome the challenges, you just learn to tackle each challenge as they come.
What's the most rewarding part of your work? And if you had to change anything about the work that you do, what would that be? The most rewarding part of what I do is getting to help people in unique ways. The challenging part is not being able to help more people or create greater experiences because of economics. But I am grateful for every opportunity because we are never lacking.
Photo courtesy of the author.
Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and ...