Monday, January 5, 2009

The Take Wings Foundation: Hollywood Actress Helps Girls to Soar

Actress Terri J. Vaughn grew up in one of San Francisco’s toughest neighborhoods. She knows firsthand the challenges that youth face in gang and drug infested communities.

Terri shared about the violence among today's youth, “Why were we doing these things to ourselves and to each other? These questions stayed with me throughout my teenage years, through college and even followed me to Hollywood. I knew my sister and I were blessed to have a supportive mother, a dedicated grandmother, and aunts who nurtured us to do well in school and in life. I also knew I wanted to do something to help guide girls growing up in my neighborhood to make better choices.”

Terri’s acting resume includes Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, and the UPN show ‘All of Us’, but she is best known for her role as Lovita on the long running series ‘The Steve Harvey Show’.

“After years of struggling and trying to find my way in Hollywood, I was blessed with the role of Lovita on “The Steve Harvey Show” and that is when I knew what I wanted to do. In 1997, with the help of one of my best childhood friends, we put the word out that I wanted to invite 40 girls, between the ages of 13-18 years old, from my old neighborhood out for a holiday dinner. I’ll never forget it. We laughed, we shared and we cried together. It was a powerful night. Since then we have had that dinner every year with 60 to 80 girls in attendance. From that, with the help of my family and friends, Take Wings Foundation was formed.”

The Take Wings Foundation’s mission is to build the self esteem of at-risk girls ages 13-18 living in the greater San Francisco Bay area by providing scholarships, community service and life skills development.

Terri (3rd from right) at a Take Wings Foundation gala event with actress Tichina Arnold (3rd from left), actress Essence Atkins (4th from left) and R&B singer Tank (2nd from right).
I first learned of Terri’s foundation last year when I attended Tavis Smiley’s Salute to Youth Leadership Gala in Los Angeles. Terri was honored with the Youth Advocate Award for her work with the foundation, along with fellow actors Hill Harper and Cedric “The Entertainer.”

Annual events of the foundation include the Angel Awards Gala, and a three day workshop for the girls that addresses a variety of issues, including dating violence, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, weight and body image, social responsibility, academic success, career development, successful emancipation from foster care, and spirituality.

Cedric “The Entertainer” (left) with Take Wings girls and Terri at a previous awards gala

In addition to being a mother, actress and philanthropist, Terri has her own production company, Nina Holiday Entertainment. From that company she has produced her first film, “Angels Can’t Help But Laugh,” a documentary that features 25 of Hollywood’s African-American actresses to discuss how they deal with being in today’s entertainment industry. While media floods unrealistic ideas to the general public about these women, this documentary allows viewers a candid, unscripted exposure into the minds and hearts of these actresses.

On the web:
On the web:

Source and photos: TR Public Relations


Anonymous said...

I haven't heard about actress Terri Vaughn in a while. Wonderful to hear she's helping young women come into their own in her former community.

On another note, I would like to volunteer on MLK Day, Jan 19th, but am unsure as to what organizations I should contact. Wondering if BGB is planning to list some recommendations for those seeking to volunteer in large metro areas around the country.

Thanks and keep up the great work with your blog.

Tracey said...

Hey Just Reading!

Check out for volunteer opportunities on the MLK Day of Service. I'll definitely post opportunities for major cities as well. Thanks!

Editor said...

Yo, by bro just had a chance to chat with Ced and had a great interview with him. Check it out and enjoy the rest of ArtStar.

Editor said...

Yo, my bro just had a chance to chat with Ced and had a great interview with him. Check it out and enjoy the rest of ArtStar.

Tracey said...

^^^^^Thanks! I'll be sure to check it out!

Anonymous said...


I am working with screenwriter Marcia L. Sinclair and author April Sinclair. We are looking to connect with organizations that help young black girls with self-love and decision making skills.
We love all children but can specifically connect them with the heroines in our books, plays and movies. We are sisters helping little sistahs! To learn more, please go to: and let us know what organizations we can connect with. Thanks! Nina

Tracey said...

Hi Nina,
I tried to look at the website, it doesn't appear to be up yet. Be sure to read the organizations I've featured, such as Social Butterflies and the Honey Shine mentoring program. Please email me so I can give you more information, blackgivesback[at]

Niko Flowers said...

Great to see we all are doing our part to make it a better place for humanity. Mrs. Terri continue to do your thing. I heard about the organization on the Monique Show. As well as all the other blogger-ers giving their feedback and comments.
Things are so slow and playing catch up with my Motivational Speaking engagements as a HIV+ women,that was infected in my teens. And reaching out to HBCU's and other public schools other than in NYC is really harder that I thought it was going to be. Education is so necessary in shcools other than the NYC area. Places like the South where I am from are so in need of it. So if anyone is out there is the blog world is ready to get it on and poppin with eductaion for youth with a real face and a touching and powerdul story. Feel free to hit a sista up. The way I see it I have to start somewhere as I work on my Memoir. The title for now is " I'm Pozitive: The Southern Preacher's Daughter is HIV Postive.
For more info on me I have a website