A book signing event has opened a new chapter for best-selling author Ni’Cola Mitchell – and will hopefully change the lives of many girls from Baltimore to Las Vegas
Mitchell, an employee with U.S. HealthWorks near Atlanta, has become a well-known contemporary fiction author the past several years.
“You have to make time to do what you want,” says Mitchell, who has penned several well-known novels since 2009, including A Cold Piece, Beautiful Liar and Twisted.
Now, Mitchell has another effort – the Girls Who Brunch Tour. The nonprofit program holds half-day events to celebrate, educate and expose low-income girls to life’s many opportunities and possibilities — and, sadly, the dangers and risks.
“I always wanted to do something like this,” Mitchell says.
She established Girls Who Brunch after a book signing event in January in Charleston, S.C. Three months later, Mitchell, with the support of community leaders and corporate sponsors, held the first-ever Girls Who Brunch event. Almost 190 girls, most from low-income families and some from local orphanages, attended the Charleston event
“I was able to bring it all to life,” Mitchell says. “I came back on cloud 9 after the Charleston event.”
And she hasn’t come down since, as she focuses on her far-reaching goals with Girls Who Brunch.
“We really want to reach underserved, low-income girls and bring them to a red carpet event,” Mitchell says. She has DJs, photo booths and even issues awards as part of the event. “But it’s also about empowerment.”
Mitchell divides the 9- to 17-year-old girls into three groups, each with age-specific workshops that address issues ranging from domestic violence to financial planning.
“We want them to come away learning new skills,” she says.
Now, Mitchell is expanding the Girls Who Brunch Tour to several cities during the next few months. Indianapolis is the first stop July 9, followed by Baltimore (July 16), Atlanta (Aug. 6) and Las Vegas (Aug. 13). Other cities in the planning stages are Charlotte, Greensboro, Birmingham, Jacksonville, New York City and Compton.
“In every city, we want to do something specific to that community,” says Mitchell, who makes sure local, successful women are part of each event. “I want to show girl power.”
And “power” is the focus of Girls Who Brunch – and what Mitchell stresses. She moved as a child from Jamaica to Las Vegas, and has endured numerous challenges, including being molested and raped.
“Girls need a mentor,” says Mitchell, who was a teen mother and has two adult daughters. Her own mother passed away in November.
“Life is short; I didn’t want to put this off. It’s all falling into place.”