Asiya Nasir, Chief Empowerment Officer & Founder of J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares, stop by The Muslim Street to discuss her Foundation empowering young girls.
The Muslim Street: How did you come up with the acronym J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares?
Asiya Nasir: I wanted the name to be catchy and acronyms always catches ones attention due to curiosity of what it means. I thought of the mission and the end goal of what I wanted the participants to feel when they engaged in one of our workshops or empowerment series. Once I came up with various words, I looked at synonyms for those words and came up with the final words of J.E.S.S.I.C.A. in J.E.S.S.I.C.A Cares.
The Muslim Street: What is your passion and vision for J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares?
Asiya Nasir: My vision is for the girls and women who participate in our Empowerment Series to feel just that…empowered, flaws and all. To love their authentic selves, realizing that growth is a journey, but to love each step of the way as long as they are striving for betterment of self. Our vision for J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares is to expand from state to state and even internationally. We plan to do so by providing a “Train the Trainer” Certification program for other Masjids and sisters who share this same vision for our Muslimahs to follow this blueprint. This is my passion. Seeing Muslimahs feel less than worthy hurts me to my soul, so to see them embrace positivity of self is my goal for each and every student.
The Muslim Street: You are a mentor, who or whom are some of your mentors?
Asiya Nasir: My ultimate mentors are the Prophets and the Women of Islam during the time of the Prophets, Imam Shadeed Muhammad, my business coach Sister Halimah DeOliviera, Iyanla Vanzant, and a previous coach Cheryl Ellis.
The Muslim Street: What has been your biggest “Win” or success?
Asiya Nasir: My biggest “win” or success has been to see young Muslimahs and older who were hesitant to cover, start covering after coming to classes. Also, expanding from one state New Jersey to now four states…New York, Philadelphia and Delaware.
The Muslim Street: What are some of the biggest challenges young girls face in this media dominated culture?
Asiya Nasir: Feeling comfortable with the fact that they are different in every way from what the “norm” is with regard to dress, speech and conduct. At their age, which is a very difficult time…acceptance is something they crave at that age. Being a Muslimah creates an environment that goes completely against that desire. Helping our girls see the benefit, blessings AND protection is challenging because at that age….the PRESENT seems to be the all and be all for them due to inexperience and imaturity so assisting them to see beyond what is in front of them is a challenge. Also as they are growing up in the “microwave generation” is challenging to help them develop patience in deen. As for the women, helping our sisters let go of deep rooted negative thoughts of self due to various reasons (trauma, low self esteem, domestic abuse) is very challenging to shift due to them having these negative thoughts of themselves for many if not most of their lives.
The Muslim Street: Draw a picture of “J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares 5 years from now.
Asiya Nasir: The current chapters being a dominant program for youths in those states and Certified teachers in other states teaching the curriculum.
The Muslim Street: Any new and exciting things that you would like to share?
Asiya Nasir: We took a couple of students of J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares to make Umrah this past February of 2018. We have made intentions to make Umrah in 2020. I also plan on publishing my first book in the ending of 2018. We have two upcoming Empowerment Retreats. We have our 3rd Annual Empowerment Retreat for our girls on August 19, 2018. (I have enclosed the flyer) and the link is as follows:
We are currently seeking Sponsors who would like to sponsor girls or make a donation to help make this event possible for them. We are also planning our very first Women’s Empowerment Retreat to be held In Shaa Allah on October 20, 2018. The link for this event is as follows:
The line up we have of speakers and surprises makes for a great event for both our girls and women. In both, we are looking for Sponsors, donations to help with cost to make this event memorable for our sisters.
We are also launching our Entrepreneurial Empowerment Series next month in East Orange, NJ. Our Info Session is on May 6th of which I have enclosed the flyer as well.
The Muslim Street: If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be?
My relationship with my mother. Since taking my Shahada, my mother has disowned me. My best friend (my father) passed away a year before I became Muslim, so she is all I have left and I pray everyday for Allah to reunite us and soften her heart.
The Muslim Street: Asiya, you are stranded on an Island with your favorite food…what is it?
Asiya Nasir: Shrimp…Shrimp anything!!!
Asiya Nasir, Chief Empowerment Officer & Founder of J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares.
She can be reached for speaking engagements at: firstname.lastname@example.org