"I was born to defeat the odds.
My mother, Jeannie, is the utmost gorgeous person I know. She came from a very family orientated household, where the father had a presence, the mother for the vast majority was a housewife, and they lived happily ever after. On the other hand, my father, James, has been a lost soul I’d never known. He came from a very separated household, where the father was here and there, the mother was a con-artist and an abuser, and they didn’t live happily ever after. Yet, there’s me.
My father died a week before my first birthday due to gun and gang violence, so for the longest, he was simply a stranger and due to that fact, his family was too. My mother is strong and courageous who raised her two children alone with the help of her parents: Wilbert and Jean. My grandfather was the only father figure I had for some time and with that fact, we became best friends because of it. My grandparent’s guidance has been a big influential part of my life today.
I had a rough time in the seventh grade. I was the new kid in school, where everyone had already created their cliques and liked a particular style. Within that same period, I had cut my hair short because of having damaged hair. And sadly my paternal grandmother had finally entered my life and left me abandoned once again. Lastly, my family was going through a rough patch with our housing situation and because of it all, I had low self-esteem. I was once a very outgoing person, but during that year I became a turtle—very small and barely coming out of my shell. I was vulnerable.
One day in seventh grade, my teacher stated to my class that this program, Crown Jewel Club was here and that it was mandatory. Not fully understanding what I was entering, I was very optimistic that things would be great. As I walked into the purpled colored classroom, I was greeted with happiness from each volunteer. It was something at the time that was rare to see. While the program progress, I would get excited every time I knew it was Crown Jewel Friday and being able to learn something that wasn’t taught in school but that was very essential to today’s society. At the time, I never knew why writing yourself affirmations were important. It was just something that was simply done in the Crown Jewel Club. However, as time went on, writing personal affirmations to myself has been a key important factor in building my self-esteem to what is today. One thing the Crown Jewel Club always told me was that I was special and never alone. The words that usually come out of your mother’s mouth, that one may overlook. The words that most girls don’t hear too often. The words many girls fail to realize about themselves.
I may still qualify to be a part of a certain stereotype, but I am no longer within a particular statistic. Though my parents came from two different backgrounds living a block away from one another, one of them had the support and was not alone while the other was. We all come from different backgrounds and sometimes it could be harder for others but having that support that the Crown Jewel Club instills in the girls is something that can last a lifetime. After seven years later from graduating the Crown Jewel Club, through hard work I was excepted at California State University—Dominquez Hills, where I’ll be double majoring with a business concentration and a liberal arts concentration. Also, starting my journey as a newly published author of my book, “Marathon”. Not everyone got that chance that I had in being a part of a program such as the Crown Jewel Club and because of that I know I was born to defeat the odds." Sydney Leilani Sonnier - Crown Jewel Club Graduate
“This non-profit organization does deliver and makes the most of their time with these girls, ensuring they truly get to know the value of education, family, friendships, respect for others and self-respect. It was through these values learned that I knew I wanted to aim high and get into a great college and thankfully through hard work, persistence, and the wonderful people such as Ms. Phillips, through the Crown Jewel Club, and their support that I am now attending one of the greatest schools in the country, UCLA.” Elizabeth Rodriguez – Crown Jewel Graduate
“I feel confident in the Crown Jewel Club, you encourage me to think I am all that I want to be. Thank you so much for complimenting me. You were the only one to compliment me like that. You make me stand proud, not that ordinary one in the crowd.” Gecelle Rubin – Crown Jewel Graduate
“The Crown Jewel Club provides an intensive etiquette and manners program to all 5th grade girls. During these sessions students are exposed to basic self-care tips to the elegance of proper written communications with the emphasis on boosting self-esteem. The program is possible by the inspiring, Jane Phillips, Jane Phillips is not only the founder of the Crown Jewel Club but an incredible role model to all of our 5th grade girls. Her exquisite demeanor is a source of inspiration and admiration to our students as well. Ms. Phillips provides hands-on approach to teaching our young “Gems” by promoting kindess, self-esteem, academic, achievement, and most importantly empowerment." Oscar Salas, Trinity School Administrative Assistant
“In my nearly 25 years with the Los Angeles Unified School District never have I come across a program that has been so successful in such a short amount of time as the Crown Jewel Club. The results in our children are almost immediate. After the first initial meeting you can see the difference in the girls.”
• They are more confident
• They have higher self esteem
• Their inner beauty shines through on a daily basis
• They smile more of the time
Maryhelen Torres, Principal – Cesar Chavez Elementary School