Marla Maples, a celebrated humanitarian, actress, musical artist, host and in-demand speaker, was deeply moved to make a profound impact in the lives of disadvantaged youth. She recently took the time to participate in Trinity’s Celebrity Love Project in order to encourage more people to become foster parents.
“Those who choose to foster children, I believe, deserve the greatest amount of praise,” Marla said. “What a better place it would be,” she continued, if more people adopted and fostered children.
Marla has had the privilege of speaking at the United Nations, Harvard University, the 2018 Summit of Peace, and the Global Summit on Science, Spirituality, and Environment in India. Adding to her long list of accomplishments, Marla has also performed her single “One World of Love” on stage at Carnegie Hall. Her first album, The Endless featured Deepak Chopra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Michael Bernard Beckwith.
Marla has also performed in Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars, co-hosted The View, The Doctors, and Good Day New York. She also performed on Ballando Con Le Steele in Rome, Italy where the show received its highest ratings to date. Most recently, Marla can be seen on the new HBO series, The Righteous Gemstones. She also hosted a talk radio show, Awakening With Marla with specialists from the natural wellness world.
Dedicated to empowering society, Marla has been honored for her work with the Global Lyme Alliance, and remains committed to supporting a multitude of non-profit organizations including AWARENYC.org, Spirituality for Kids, and The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine. One of Marla’s greatest loves is helping others create a healthy and joyful life while continuing her steadfast mission to expand the greater good and bring more Light to the world.
See Marla’s inspiring video message about becoming a resource parent:
Florence Edwards, Foster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.
Keke Palmer is a world-renowned actress, singer, rapper, songwriter and philanthropist who has been mesmerizing audiences since making her acting debut in the 2004 film Barbershop 2: Back in Business. An in-demand legendary superstar, Keke Palmer is the youngest actress and the first African-American to portray Cinderella on Broadway. Her credits include Akeelah and the Bee, Madea’s Family Reunion, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Joyful Noise, Shrink, The Longshots, Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP, and Lifetime’s TLC biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Keke has also starred in Scream Queens, Hustlers, and many others. She is also the host of Queenpins, a new series by Facebook Watch and Glamour.
Among her many accomplishments, Keke is also the author of I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, an inspirational guide that encourages millennials to change their mindset and live with more freedom, confidence, and love as they navigate the rough terrain of the 21st century.
A passionate advocate for at-risk youth, Keke gives back to her community by representing nonprofits such as Saving Our Daughters, an anti-bullying and girl-empowerment organization. Her Saving Our Cinderellas Program is a facet of Saving Our Daughters, which is geared towards using music, theatre, film and television to help build self-esteem in girls.
Keke recently recorded a special message for Trinity Youth Service’s foster youth for the Celebrity Love Project, in which she states, “Do not let the pain from your past stop you from achieving the things you want in the future,” and other motivational words of wisdom. View the video below to hear Keke’s entire inspirational message.
Jillian “JJ” Simmons, a fifteen-year veteran radio host from Cincinnati, Ohio, is more than just another voice to fill the airwaves. As an on-air talent, she has captivated listeners from major cities from across the country, including her hometown Cincinnati (WIZF-FM), Dayton (WROU-FM), New York City (WBLS-FM, where she worked alongside “The Queen of All Media,” Wendy Williams), Indianapolis (WHHH-FM), and Houston (KBXX-FM). Over the years, JJ on the Mic has interviewed many of the rich, famous and influential, including former President Barak Obama, and she has contributed her voice of experience to the ongoing dialogue on the impact of hip hop on the American social and political landscape.
Having lost two uncles to AIDS, JJ is also a champion of AIDS education and awareness. In response to her loss, she founded the J Darcey AIDS Foundation. As part of her awareness initiative, she also founded Red Tree Tees, an apparel company which uses hip hop infused tees as a tool of activism to emphasize the importance of getting tested.
In addition to being a positive influence on people she meets through her work, JJ is a proud mother. She uses her passion for the” mommy experience” to advocate for higher quality prenatal care in underprivileged communities. Although she has always had an innate desire to empower others, raising a daughter has deepened her desire to foster change in the lives of women, and inspired her to create the I’m Me Foundation. In keeping with her mission to create opportunities for positive social interactions and character-building experiences, the I’m Me Foundation provides tools to improve the esteem and self-worth of girls and young women.
JJ has chronicled her own personal experiences from a past abusive relationship and the journey to healing in her book, “Without Bruises,” designed to give guidance to others who find themselves in harmful situations. Her “Without Bruises: Help, Hope and Heal Series” is a collection of focus groups in collaboration with Therapist and Life Coach, Wendi Johnson-Turner, taking place in Houston. She invites the public to share their stories, champion one another and get healthy tools for healing.
JJ is currently excited to be part of Trinity Youth Services’ Celebrity Love Project and share some words of encouragement for girls in foster care. In her inspiring video message, JJ says, “Whatever you are going through, whatever you have been through, does not define who you are. You are not your circumstances.” She goes on to say, “You are qualified and worthy of greatness. You are greatness.” View the full video for more inspiring words from JJ Simmons.
Many foster youth struggle with feelings of hopelessness, despair and low self-esteem due to trauma and neglect. In order to help youth develop and sustain a positive mindset, Trinity Youth Services recently launched The Celebrity Love Project, inspiring motivational online videos featuring famous faces and influential community leaders.
After learning about the impactful project, Hollywood actress Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, Stomp the Yard), was the first to send her inspiring message.
“Don’t ever give up on yourself because you have purpose,” Meagan says in the video to Trinity foster youth. “There’s nobody else in the world that is like you that has the purpose and calling that you have in your life.”
The campaign was inspired by the experiences of former foster youth, Florence Edwards, now a Trinity Youth Services Foster Care Marketing Specialist. Florence is passionate about finding a way to create more support for youth who struggle with the same challenges she faced.
“As a former foster youth, I was bullied several times a day, suffered from low self-worth and really didn’t have any real role models. I’ll never forget my birthday in 1990. I was harassed by my high school’s football team. The players followed me around, saying mean comments about my appearance. Needless to say, I felt as if I had a negative zero self-worth. When I arrived home, I checked the mailbox and there was a letter addressed to me, with no return address. When I opened it, it was a letter from Jada Pinkett, my all-time favorite actress! She had taken the time to write me a real letter and had even answered all of my questions,” Florence says.
“From that day forward, I kept that letter with me for years. It helped me to keep moving forward even during my darkest hours when I felt unloved and unwanted. Because of Jada’s words of encouragement, I was able to continue to do well in school and even received several awards. Her letter made me feel like I mattered, and that I had value. I want our youth [at Trinity] to experience the same joy and feelings of worthiness as I did,” Florence says. “It really made a strong impact in my life.”
For more information about Trinity Youth Services’ Celebrity Love Project, or to become a foster parent, please call 909-825-5588, ext. 230, or send an email to fedwards@TrinityYS.org.