Grammy-winner Mary J. Blige inspires teenage girls

Yonkers native and Grammy winner Mary J. Blige came to her alma mater Friday to launch her new program to help young women overcome challenges and realize their dreams.

The queen of hip-hop soul was given a warm welcome by Roosevelt High School students who listened to her words of inspiration. Blige and her new initiative, called the Foundation for the Advancement of Woman Now or FFAWN, will be concentrated in Yonkers where she grew up and attended school. Before Blige sold more than 40 million records, she lived at the Schlobaum Housing Complex. Most of her songs talk about her personal life and many struggles with alcohol, drug addiction and self esteem issues. Blige wants her life experiences to help other women overcome the same challenges, especially in Yonkers and Westchester County.

The charity will help young women in their career goals and foster self-esteem through scholarships, grants and other programs. The Westchester Jewish Community Services is working together with Blige to make her dream a reality. Blige?s main message to students was, "success is no t how much money you make, it's how much self esteem you have."

FAWN will concentrate first on the Yonkers area, but the organization hopes to expand to the New York-Metropolitan area and then the nation.

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