Alicia Robinson’s nonprofit helps young girls achieve their goals
by Jillian Holness
Photos of smiling family members, framed diplomas and a bedazzled graduation cap with the words ‘‘Limitless Ambition” decorate Alicia Robinson’s office at the Kent State Women’s Center. Looking at her academic credentials as a two-time graduate and an impressive professional resume, you wouldn’t guess that Robinson grew up in a neighborhood where gun violence and teenage pregnancy are rampant.
As a teenager, Robinson struggled with self-esteem issues but was able to stay on the right path with the support of her parents and the Upward Bound Program, a precollege summer program that exposed her to the possibilities beyond her community.
Now, Robinson is giving young women the confidence to write their own stories with her nonprofit, Limitless Ambition.
Limitless Ambition first started out in 2013 as an Instagram page with inspiring quotes. A few months later, Robinson got involved with LaunchNet, a free consulting service for student entrepreneurs at Kent State.
“They helped me with all the legal parts of things incorporated into a nonprofit [like] how to develop a business plan,” Robinson says.
Robinson’s thesis for her master’s in early childhood development was the building block for Limitless Ambition’s mission. Her thesis focuses on African-American women who are academically successful and the contextual factors to get there.
“My number one passion is African-American women and giving them the tools they need to excel in their lives,” Robinson says. “We all have a path in life, and it’s influenced by all these different things. How do we maneuver and get out of that?”
With the help of volunteers, Robinson started speaking at churches, workshops and youth conferences before creating the curriculum for the Purposely Chosen Teen Workshop.
Robinson wrote and did research on the topics she wanted to cover, and with the help of Jennifer Remus, the director of program development and outreach at Limitless Ambition, they developed the workbook to organize the different modules and help structure each meeting.
“We’ll typically have some worksheets for them to do and some discussion points,” Remus says. Remus says that Robinson is good at observing what the girls are interested in and plans the meetings accordingly.
“She’ll decide the girls have been talking a lot about relationships, so we are going to do the healthy relationship module,” Remus says.
Besides emotional support, the workshop also provides career planning and financial literacy.
Remus says they have the girls state what their career goal is and then work backwards to think about what they have to do to achieve that goal. Remus also felt it was important to provide the girls with basic financial literacy.
“It’s more like introducing them to the different concepts like, why do I need a checking account? What exactly is a checking account” Remus says.
In 2016, Robinson brought the Purposely Chosen Teen Program to CASTLE High School.
Jaeda Dancy, a counselor at CASTLE says the students were excited for the workshop and were happy to have ‘girl time’ during school.
“The program really allowed the girls to be themselves and gave them the freedom to work on solutions together and see others’ perspectives,” Dancy said.
Limitless Ambition will continue the Purposely Chosen Teen Program on July 19 at SPAN Ministries in Tallmadge.
The workshop is free and interested participants can visit Limitless Ambition’s website to sign up at https://goo.gl/65HQBy
(All photos courtesy of Limitless Ambition)
Jillian Holness is a recent graduate from Kent State University. She is passionate about storytelling and sharing the lives of creative millennials. Born and raised in a small town north of Pittsburgh, Jillian is a newbie to Akron and is on a quest to find the perfect spot for brunch in the city.