Philly Rising: Building sisterhoods and strengthening communities with Shanon Skipworth

Antionette Lee
January 17, 2020 - 12:16 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Shanon Skipworth says "we're all here for a reason." 

"And it's important for us to figure out what that is," she said. 

In her non-profit, You're Beautifully Made, Skipworth has found her reason, and her calling. She began by mentoring girls from ages 10-18, teaching them self-esteem, etiquette, job readiness, entrepreneurship, and more skills they need to lead successful lives. 

"Talking to them about taking your negative thoughts or perceptions, or situations, and turning them into positive is something that needs to be done." 

Skipworth says overcoming her own self-esteem battles through her personal mental wellness journey has allowed her to help other girls realize their self-worth over the years. The safe space she provides creates a sort of sisterhood for the girls, where they feel comfortable talking about issues that she says too often go unaddressed in the African-American community. 

"Small things that happen for them to us is growth and they'll remember that we learned that from You're Beautifully Made."  

Her and her daughter also co-authored a series of books to educate the youth about common issues young people face, including body image, bullying, and peer pressure. 

Even with all of those accomplishments, it wasn't enough for Skipworth who wanted to do more. 

"So, then we came up with the housing program," she explained. The YBM housing assistance program helps provide families with basic needs, such as small appliances and gift cards to local supermarkets.

"And then from there was the computer program, then from there it was the summer camp, we do clothing drives for women and children," she continued. 

YBM has evolved into a resource that assesses the needs of Philadelphia communities over several different aspects of life.   

"She sees a need and she does something about it," Takia Mays, a YBM parent and board member said of Skipworth. 

"People forget about how important it is to give back and she's doing that without asking for anything in return," Mays continued. 
"She has a heart of gold."  

The program has been so successful at changing lives that they've expanded from North Philly to three locations across the city, and most recently to the state of Virginia. 

"We're small but it's like were growing and people are noticing the work that were doing in the community," Skipworth said. 

YBM has been around for seven years, but Skipworth says they just recently started being recognized with awards in the past year. 

"I'm just an average person but to get recognized and for people to see you're really doing this community work, it is a blessing."

She says she's looking forward to growing and helping even more people. 

"What other state can we bring these services (to)? There's so many people who need housing help and people who need a mentoring program," Skipworth said enthusiastically.