A singer who grew up in Watts is now a success story and is helping empower young girls through a unique mentoring program.
Chavonne Stewart is the force behind the mentoring program helping high school girls. The girls in these programs come from all walks of life, some are in foster care and others she's connected with at church and in inner city neighborhoods.
"I grew up in South Central in Watts, at the Jordan Down projects," said Stewart, executive director for Exposher.
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Growing up with her siblings and a single mom, church became her safe place, and singing became her outlet.
Stewart's powerful pipes eventually led her to a dream job.
After graduating from high school, she began touring with Jackson Browne as his backup vocalist for nearly two decades.
But now, the gospel soul singer is using her voice to connect at church with young girls like Denyshia Carrington, who has been in the foster system since she was 8-year-old.
"Ever since you told me to love myself, I've been trying to love myself more," Carrington said to her mentor Stewart.
Stewart says she has seen the 15-year-old grow into a confident young lady.
"For her to tell me thank you for fighting for me, I needed somebody to fight for me," Stewart said with pride and purpose.
Stewart said her faith gave her strength as a teenager to beat the odds of achieving her dreams. Reflecting on her accomplishments, she created a non-profit organization, Exposher, with the sole purpose of empowering young girls and helping them overcome obstacles.
"I'm being to them what I wish somebody had been to me," said Stewart.
The connection to Stewart has given Carrington hope for the future. It has also given her strength to use her own voice.
She hopes to continue to change the lives of these young women, one girl at a time.
Stewarts's goal is to get a permanent location for Exposher between Watts and Compton. If you want to learn more about the organization click here.