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Exploring Life & Business with Brandii Grant of The Mademoiselle Service and Social Club

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandii Grant.

Hi Brandii, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I am the Executive Director of the Mademoiselle Service and Social Club, Inc non-profit and have been for 17 years. The organization itself was founded in 1960 at Booker T Washington High School by an English teacher named Patsy Meeks. The non-profit was officially established in 2006 by myself and Shannan E Johnson. We started the nonprofit to expand the organization, secure donors and corporate funding, and provide structure. I work full-time in the field of public health. The work of the non-profit is my contribution to give back to the community and I don’t do it alone! There is a team of professional women that volunteer their time and work hard to provide this service to teen girls.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
When we first began the non-profit, there were over 12 Mademoiselle Chapters at various high schools across the Houston area. At present, there are only three active chapters. Over time, school staff and students have not been able to sustain the organization for various reasons. As a result, we have had to adapt the recruitment of girls for our activities. We have had to work harder at developing partnerships, making use of social media and marketing, and building relationships with teen girls to maintain their interests. Logistically, we are also in need of a space to host our in-person meetings. We conduct most of our business virtually, but there are times that we need to meet in person. Also, we are always on the lookout for service hours. Please contact us if you have a great service project in mind.

We’ve been impressed with The Mademoiselle Service and Social Club, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We provide amazing programming for teen girls. Our main programs are an annual teen conference each spring, a summer leadership development camp, and various service projects throughout Houston. We are also proud to offer two scholarships: one for a graduating senior girl and one for a current college student. We have provided thousands of dollars to help girls pursue their career goals! Our scholarship application opens every spring.

This year our theme and focus is ‘Back to the Basics: The Fundamentals of Success.’ We are creating a leadership academy to teach girls about finance (saving, investing, debt, credit), careers (we will feature women who are doctors, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, stylists), resume writing, dressing for success and self-care (focused on mental health, self-esteem and caring for yourself). We will have speakers from across the area to teach the sessions. Upon completing, each girl will graduate and co-host a session at the annual conference. There will be service projects and incentives for participating.

Our programs are open to all teen girls in the Houston area. As a result of COVID-19, all of our programmings is online and free of charge. One of our main service projects this year will be providing hygiene kits to high schools for girls with positive affirmations inside. We are also very interested in partnering with other teen-serving organizations. Please contact us.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
I can still remember being a Mademoiselle as a high school student at Booker T Washington High School. I looked up to the older members. They carried themselves with ‘A Touch of Class’. They taught me how to give back to the community. I believed it what the organization stood for and I learned so much about how to be a leader, how to be a lady, and how to give back. Our sponsors were Ms. Ruth Thornton and Ms. Eleanor Lee. They were amazing role models and took great pride in teaching us what it meant to be a bright and successful young women of color. There are hundreds of teen girls of color in Houston that owe a portion of their success to the lessons they have taught us.

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