As the director of UAB’s Women and Girls Business Network, Yvonne Lowery-Kennedy knows the significant impact that can be made by simply reaching out and offering someone the chance to enhance their life. Kennedy’s program, which is a division of UAB’s Minority Business Training & Development Program under the Office for Equity and Diversity, offers a variety of educational opportunities and support to local girls and women of all ages. Through a series of workshops, which often include professional insight from a host of guest speakers, the Women and Girls Business Network helps to teach girls a wide range of life skills, including how to start their own business, and to be successful in today’s ever evolving business world.
Yet, as someone who has always been in tune with the importance of preserving our environment, Kennedy felt it was time that the program broaden its scope to also include workshops that offer a greener approach. The new Greening the World Enrichment Program was created, and now offers women an education about sustainability issues and living an altogether greener lifestyle. The new program teaches a variety of greener, and alternative methods that aim to empower women to adopt lifelong habits of environmental stewardship.
Kennedy stresses the importance of women learning to make these changes not only in their workplace, but also within the home, so as to help improve their families’ health and living environments. “I felt a need to educate and expose our program participants to the importance and great benefits of going green,” she says. “There are so many ways to improve efficiency and potentially lower operating costs, as well as providing cleaner and healthier work and home environments, of which people are just not aware.”
Kennedy says the program includes topics and sessions that explain the benefits of going green, and has an emphasis on how women can make specific changes that take little or no effort to implement. One such topic she hopes to address relates to growing concern over the dangerous effects many household chemicals and other products pose to human health and to our environment. She wants to help educate more women about this problematic issue (and others like it) because of their direct influence on home life, family and community. Too many people say they just can’t make these kind of changes on their own, she explains, when the reality is that they just don’t know how much information is really available to help them. “So many misconceptions and notions are born more out of lack of knowledge and misinformation. If we could only let them know how inexpensive and cost effective it all really is,” she says.
Through this new program, Kennedy now finally has the means to do just that. As she works to schedule speakers for the monthly workshops in the coming year, she’ll also include a variety of “green specialists.” These guest speakers will not only help teach women about the many benefits associated with adopting a greener approach to life, but will also help them learn methods for implementing these changes in everyday circumstances. “It has to start somewhere, and getting this information out to women is important.”
Greening the World Enrichment meetings will be held at every third Tuesday of the month at Noon, through October 2013. Workshops will be held on the UAB Campus and at different locations within the Birmingham community. For more information, contact Yvonne Lowery-Kennedy or program assistant, Tracy Maxwell at 205-934-8539 or 934-8145.
Written by Kate Agliata