Former foster youth turned filmmaker Meiko Taylor spent 8 years working in a residential facility with at-risk teens who were in foster care or on probation. Meiko found herself sharing her experiences successfully aging out of the foster care system, putting herself through college, and starting her own business: Infinite Films. She began coaching her clients on ways to do the same.
Founded in 2015, The Power Project was created to continue this coaching through motivational talks and workshops designed for at-risk youth as a way to show them a "light at the end of the tunnel." The Power Project partnered with community organizations, bringing in popular filmmakers and actors to speak to participants and lead vision board workshops.
Based in Los Angeles County, and serving clients nationally, The Power Project seeks to reduce juvenile delinquency and victimization through two distinct programs:
COMMERCIALLY SEXUALLY EXPLOITED CHILDREN (CSEC) PREVENTION PROGRAM
Serves school-age youth 6th-12th grade as well as adult learners who work with youth, including Teachers, Administrators, Social Workers, and Parents. It is designed to prevent sexual violence, dating violence, online exploitation, labor trafficking, and sex trafficking of youth. The program will: 1) Increase community awareness about Child Sex Trafficking; 2) Enable youth and adults to recognize the signs of recruitment and trafficking; and 3) Provide safety tips to avoid falling victim to exploitation.
YOUTH SUCCESS PROGRAM
Serves school-age youth 9-12th grade. It is designed to help youth identify potential career goals and offers tips on first steps that can be taken to acheive those goals. The program will: 1) Engage youth in dialogue encouraging them to look beyond their current situations and think about their future; 2) Coach youth on setting goals and measuring success;
3) Empower them to take an active role in developing a plan for their life.
Meiko Taylor spent 8 years working with at-risk teens in foster care and on probation. After learning some of the youth she worked with had been sex trafficked, Meiko also developed a passion for prevention. A filmmaker by trade, she created a hip-hop film and prevention training program aimed at educating teens on some of the tactics used by sex traffickers to recruit and ways to keep safe.
Her work garnered the attention on a national anti-human trafficking organization and she was tapped to head their Prevention Department. In just two years, Meiko grew their program from serving just 300 youth to training over 26,000.
Aa s former foster youth herself, Meiko was inspired to launch The Power Project as a way to further spread a message of hope, overcoming challenges and finding success. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago as well as a MBA.
Community development specialist
Jen has served for over 30 years of Development and Fundraising, working with large nonprofits such as the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Autism Speaks and United Cerebral Palsy. She loves helping agencies reach their full potential by leading the charge in development, fundraising, and creating engaging community brand activations and events. She is thrilled to be a part of helping move The Power Project forward.
Jen holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration from California State University, Fresno. (Go Bulldogs!)
Community engagement specialist
Deniz is passionate about empowering others, specifically youth and women. After much prayer and self development work Deniz knew that her life's mission was to move people and to remind them of their power.
Over the course of her career, Deniz has worked with first generation college students, teen moms, young men and women of color, nonbinary young people, and girls who were survivors of human trafficking. She has a passion for serving under-resourced communities. She hopes to not only inspire young people to aim for what seems unattainable, but to really help nurture self love and ignite what's already inside of them through the power of social media and community engagement.
Deniz holds a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and attended the Integrative Psychology Master’s Program at Sofia University.
Community education Manger
Jackie first became involved in the fighting against human trafficking while working with youth experiencing homelessness. A Social Worker by trade, she has spent her professional career serving youth from under-resourced communities; specifically, addressing challenges with mental health and transitioning into adulthood.
Jackie’s mission has been to normalize vulnerability through human connection, a language which can translate to both youth and adult learners alike. Through education, Jackie strives to create safe spaces, safe people, and communicate to youth they are not alone.
Jackie holds a B.A in Sociology, a MSW with a specialization in mental health, and is a licensed social worker in the state of Illinois. Jackie is also finishing her clinical hours to obtain her LCSW.
community education specialist
Desiree began her career serving clients directly. She has worked with youth as a crisis worker helping them navigate challenges they were facing. Desiree also has experience working one on one with youth and their families; helping to build their skills to achieve and maintain resiliency.
Desiree has a passion for making a difference in the lives of vulnerable populations. After working directly with clients for the past 5 years, she explored other avenues of helping vulnerable populations. She became interested in The Power Project because she resonated with the mission. She felt that she could better serve her community by helping to raise awareness about human trafficking and educating staff that work directly with youth.
Desiree attended Michigan State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Leadership and Integrative Learning through the Bailey Scholars Program. Desiree is currently pursuing a Master's in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.