A Word From Our Executive Director, Dr. Jacquelyn Wilson

Nothing tops being entrusted with a facility housing 380 residents to do a surprise holiday dinner for the less fortunate. Thank you, for allowing us to do what we do. It takes a village and we are the VILLAGE. Thank you to all of our sponsors, donors, chiefs; it’s because of you, that we were able to make a difference. We meet the people where they are…PERIOD!

With every ounce of sincerity, thank you all from the bottom of my heart for making this year’s Gift Giving Extravaganza, the most amazing day in the history of #SurpriseTheStruggling™ (A Hashtag Movement for Homeless Women.) From my key Chief Ambassadors,  Thamicha Isaac, Ebony C Johnson, and Charlene Stewart for breathing into me when I was second-guessing. My event planner, Vanessa E-El, The Event Strategist—who delivers every year faithfully! My cake supplier CAKES BY COLEY. I adore you, Coco! To my DJ, Ron Cee of Exodus Entertainment. I love you! To my CLO, Ruthe McDonald who makes it all happen.  My photo lady, Delilah Peach Williams, love you, babe!

To the Ladies and Gentlemen who cooked/served/delivered from SPBC, POYED by Velvette,  Robin Devonish, Aja Webster Barton, Paulette Bailey, Cynthia Juhans, and my brother & the Doc, Bryant Pearson; thank you! To the director of Starbright Family Residence, Ms. R, for entrusting us with your residents! Also, to my sister Wanda Edwards, to my love, Essence Bembry, and her boys, APWorld & Fear the Fro, Atlanta Hawks, for donating the bags and shirts. To my Accountability partner, Eloquent Essentials for sponsoring gifts. To Dr. Natacha Chloe and my day one ambassador, Keisha Christie, for sponsoring always! Althea Webber Bates, Shawn Headley, Iesha Sekou, and EVERYONE who sent a monetary donation…I LOVE YOU! 

Tanisha Smith Franks, Luck Da Barber💜, my children, my family, and my GOD—we did it!!!! ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WITH A TEAM! Looking forward to an even greater 2018!!!! LET’S DO THIS!!!

Warmest Regards,

 Dr. Wilson 

We meet the people where they are…PERIOD.

Surprise The Struggling Receives Blessing Bags to Support Their Endeavors

December 9, 2017, New York—Surprise The Struggling was the honored recipient of over fifty Blessings Bags that was raised during a recent fundraiser.

Poyed By Velvette

Poyed By Velvette’s, B2BAB quarterly fundraiser chose Surprise The  Struggling for its winter fundraising initiative. Over forty women pledged to donate, purchase products, and raise funds to fill fifty large bags with items to help aid #STS mission in helping homeless women and teen girls globally. Among the many items donated to fill each bag was an array of toiletries, including items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary and feminine products, lotions, soaps, body washes, socks, hair grooming and shaving kits, makeup bags, slippers, water, protein bars, detergent, flashlights, and a host of other items that would help those in need.


       Blessed 2 Be A Blessing 


Blessed to Be a Blessing “B2BAB” is a series of quarterly fundraiser initiatives by Poyed By Velvette, that support various causes by raising funds, collecting donated items and bringing awareness to issues that impact young girls, teenage girls, and women living in our communities.

The fifty bags donated to Surprise The Struggling enabled the organization to reach more homeless women and teen girls this Holiday season than anticipated. Immediately, #STS was able to reach out to some women in need, earlier than expected this Holiday season, due to the dedicated and philanthropic endeavors of Poyed by Velvette’s B2BAB initiative.

December’s Women Awakening Women Tea Huddle to Feature Dr. Natacha Aurelien

First Wednesdays Women Awakening Women Tea Huddle


NEW YORK CITY, it’s going down!  Women Awakening Women Tea Huddle, sponsored by the Dr. Wilson Leadership Academy and The Tea Room in Brooklyn, is returning on December 6, 2017,  starting at 4 PM.  Our special guest speaker will be Doctor, CEO, and Author Chloe Natacha Aurelien.

The Tea Huddle is a safe space for sacred conversations over tea and a light meal for less fortunate and homeless women in our communities. If you would like to be a blessing and donate, no amount is too small, please visit our Giving Back page for the donate button. Or you may email surprisethestruggling@gmail.com We meet the people where they are…PERIOD!

Resiliency Moving Beyond the Baggage: Women of Color Empowerment Conference

Come out and meet Dr. Jacquelyn Wilson, Surprise The Struggling, Inc. Executive Director, at this year’s Women of Color Empowerment Conference at Rawson Elementary School. 260 Holcomb Street, Hartford, Connecticut 06112 1PM-6PM November 4, 2017.

There will be a live panel featuring Entrepreneurial women from different backgrounds, who are all making a difference and giving back to their communities in various ways.

Resiliency Moving Beyond the Baggage: Women of Color Empowerment Conference

Celebrating Women’s History Month…Vanessa E-El!




Bonus! We have a few more women we want to acknowledge this March! #SurpriseTheStruggling’s thirty-third highlight this month is the invaluable and dedicated Vanessa E-El—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s friend, supporter and event strategist for our yearly Gift-Giving Extravaganza. We are no stranger to Vanessa and her dedication to the support of local organizations and businesses. We were fortunate to team up with this beautiful soul on many different occasions, including our sister organization, The Stop Bullying Project®.

Vanessa has long had the reputation for stellar and unparalleled business acumen. Her work ethics and sincerity while working with clients have set her apart, raising the bar for many others in Project Management and Events. We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to work with Vanessa and to also have her represent who we are as an organization.

Vanessa E-El, The Event Strategist

It is important to #STSGlobal to meet the needs of the people where they are…period. Often times, success will blind us and make us forget about the struggles that others may be experiencing. So it is paramount that those who work with us, volunteer and represent us as Ambassadors, are of the same mind when it comes to our goals, vision, and mission. Vanessa not only understands who we are and what we want as an organization and a brand. She embodies the mission and spirit of #STSGlobal wholeheartedly.

We are profoundly grateful to all that Vanessa has shared with us over the years. Her organization skills, her people skills, her dedication and commitment to seeing a job through and to her clients, and whom she represents, have forever endeared Vanessa to our hearts.

Vanessa E-El—Friend, Consummate Professional, Event Strategist, Project Manager—is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) known as The Event Strategist. She is an expert in event and project management, with over 20 years of experience. She has managed hundreds of corporate, nonprofit, and social events both in the U.S. and abroad. Vanessa excels as an independent onsite event planner for meetings, trade shows, and conferences for major corporations such as S&P Global, Oracle, Bloomberg, and JP Morgan. After years of honing her skills, she received her CMP designation in 2010. Vanessa brings her flair for cultivating strategic alliances, brainstorming, creative resourcing, and expert event logistics to every client in order to make dreams happen. Connect with Vanessa  https://www.facebook.com/VanessaTheEventStrategist

We salute you, Vanessa E-El! Thank you for being a dedicated friend and supporter throughout the years! We stand with a grateful heart, having you as part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling Family!

Celebrating Women’s History Month…Tonikwa “Precious” Johnson!



We continue our celebration of Women’s History Month! #SurpriseTheStruggling’s thirtieth highlight this month is the most caring and dedicated Tonikwa “Precious” Johnson—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s day one supporter, friend, family and number one Staten Island Ambassador. Tonikwa has been a long supporter of ours beginning with The Stop Bullying Project®. She has shown dedication, love, and a willingness to go above and beyond to support #STSGlobal mission to meet people where they’re at, surprising them in the midst of their struggles, letting them know that there are people who care about them and are not seeking to take from them, but only to give.

From the very onset of birthing #Surprisethestruggling, Tonikwa has been right there. She has been a major part of the success and reason for one of our most wonderful programs, #Surprisethestruggling Baby Shower. With Tonikwa’s dedication and foresight, we were able to implement a successful program that allows us to go into a woman’s shelter for mother and children—some who may have been the victim of domestic violence—and surprise them with a Baby Shower. Thanks to Tonikwa’s efforts and commitment, we are able not only to bestow the essentials upon these mothers for their newborn but also for the mothers themselves.

Tonikwa Precious Johnson, Staten Island Chief Ambassador, Teacher

Many people begin with you and are excited to be a part of the beginning stages of what seems like a good idea. They may even stay through the first couple of hurdles, but soon their involvement and dedication wane and you find yourself standing alone. Tonikwa has shown that she embodies the spirit and mission of #STSGlobal wholeheartedly and is with us for the long haul.

As our number one Staten Island Chief Ambassador, Tonikwa has made herself an invaluable part of the #STSGlobal family. She is an example of the kind of woman who is building a legacy of greatness, selflessness, and kindness. Truly, there really are no words that can aptly convey, what we feel in our hearts for this beautiful young woman who is making a difference in so many lives. We are excited to see what other great things come from our “Precious” Ambassador.

We not only honor Tonikwa today, we also celebrate her Birthday! It is with profound gratitude that we thank God for Tonikwa. For allowing us to share the gift that she is to so many. We are humbled by her dedication and commitment and ask that God will bless her in every endeavor that He has ordained for her life. Tonikwa deserves the moon and the stars, and we are believing that she will receive a hundred times over the love and generosity she has given to us.

Tonikwa “Precious” Johnson—Daughter, Sister, Friend, Teacher, Volunteer, Chief Ambassador—is a woman of dedication who gives selflessly to her family and friends. Tonikwa is a teacher’s assistant at United Cerebral Palsy and is currently studying for her degree in Early Childhood Education. Be certain to connect with her on FB:  https://www.facebook.com/tonikwa.p.johnson

We salute you, Tonikwa Johnson! Your light shines brightly and inspires us each day to give and be our best. We stand with a heart full of love and gratitude, proud and grateful to have you as part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling Family!

Celebrating Women’s History Month…LaShawn Lukes!




In continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month, #SurpriseTheStruggling’s twenty-eighth highlight this month is the enterprising and unforgettable radio personality LaShawn Lukes—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s host with the most supporter from Long Island, New York. LaShawn has been a friend to both #STSGlobal and our sister organization, The Stop Bullying Project®.

Our slogan at #STSGlobal is simple: “We Meet The People Where They’re At…Period!” Not only does LaShawn embody the spirit of our mission, but also the essence of our slogan. When you have gone through some tough times in your life and you survive? You make the most of each day that God grants you. Lashawn has taken advantage of each day that she is blessed to see, and has given her time to uplift, support, and make a positive change and impact in her community. She is a champion for the people and an Activist ready to make a change in the lives she encounters.

LaShawn Lukes, Community Activist, Radio Personality, Long Island Edge Radio

This is what LaShawn brings and offers to the #Surprisethestruggling family. Her support and willingness to bring our mission and cause to the forefront enabled us to reach an even broader audience. She has honored the work that we do by affording us a new platform in which to speak from, making people aware of who and what we are about at #STSGlobal.

It is not uncommon to see the philanthropic side of Lashawn, in addition to her business savvy. She is a businessperson that gives back in various ways. By giving voice and a spotlight to many who may never have been heard of, she allows individuals, organizations, and businesses an opportunity to promote who they are.

We thank Lashawn for being a part of the #STSGlobal mission and helping us to shine like diamonds, and for being a part of the reason we are able to do what we do, and touch the many lives that we have and will continue to.

LaShawn Lukes— Co-founder, Radio Personality, Empowerment Activist, Blogger, Director of Bag Lady the Photo Experience, Production  Coordinator, Public Speaker—is Owner-operator at Exclusive NYC the Blog and Co-Founder and Partner at Long Island Edge Radio. Exclusive NYC the Blog connects you to the Elite New York Life Style from Food and spirits to the trendiest fashion—the hip Chronicle of NYC. https://exclusivenyc.wordpress.com/  Follow LaShawn on IG, https://www.instagram.com/sweetlifeofla/

Long Island Edge Radio—The most anticipated full functional radio station in Long Island, NY bringing you talk, hip hop, reggae, kompa, gospel, current events and so much more. The future of internet radio, Long Island Edge Radio is a long Island New York based adult contemporary online station and media production powerhouse directly connecting the people to music, media, current events, news, fashion, lifestyle, and what’s trending. They pay close attention to the community and provide a platform for all to be heard. LONG ISLAND EDGE RADIO is the voice of the people. http://longislandedgeradio.com/about-us/ https://www.facebook.com/longislandedgeradio/

We salute you, Lashawn Lukes! Your spirit, activism, and work in the community inspire us every day to walk in our greatness. We stand with a heart of gratitude and graciousness to have you as part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling Family!

Celebrating Women’s History Month…Charlene Stewart!




Continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month, #SurpriseTheStruggling’s twenty-sixth highlight this month is the inspirational and loyal-to-a-fault Charlene Stewart—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s example of loyalty and dedication; our tried and true New York Ambassador. That one that will show up no matter what is going on; no matter how tired she may be; no matter what obstacles appear to be in the way—Charlene is faithful to her word and her commitments. #STSGlobal is BLESSED to have this woman be a part of our family. To be able to call her Ambassador, friend, sister, is an honor.

Rarely do you meet people these days that jump in first and ask questions later. They see a need and ask what they can do to help make that need dissipate. This is who Charlene is. When she learned of #STSGlobal, she did not hesitate to ask, How do I become an Ambassador? Moreover, What can I do to help and spread the word?

Charlene Stewart, MPA, Actress, Community Organizer, Change Agent

Do you not understand how valuable those characteristics are in a person? How, it sets them apart and endears them, making them that much more special to you? Charlene is a very special woman who lays it all on the line every day for her family and close friends. She is the kind of woman that you desire to be on your team, in your corner, to have as a sister and a friend. She embodies the mission and spirit of #STSGlobal wholeheartedly, making her an irreplaceable part of the #Surprisethestruggling tribe, and our success.

We have watched day after day, month after month since becoming an Ambassador how supportive and interactive Charlene is. She is not a woman who just speaks something and does something different. No. She is a woman of her word; putting her actions behind what she says. Charlene is creating a legacy of greatness that her family for generations to come, can be proud of and follow in her footsteps. She is a trailblazer going after what God has promised her, and we honor her today.

Charlene Stewart—Wife, Mother, Administrator, Scholar, Advocate, Coach, Mentor, MPA Public,  Actress, Community Organizer, Change Agent—is more than meets the eye. Alongside her list of accomplishments and accolades, Charlene currently works at the Community Coalition of East New York. She is the Community Visiting Coach and Community Representative at Bushwick Community Partnership Program. We encourage you to connect with Charlene on social media page:  https://www.facebook.com/pinkAMETHYST35

We salute you, Charlene Stewart! You Rock! Your loyalty, commitment, heart, and spirit inspire us each day. We are humbled and grateful to have you be a part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling Family!

Celebrating Women’s History Month…Jacqueline Rowe!



Our celebration of Women’s History Month continues! #SurpriseTheStruggling’s twenty-fifth highlight this month is the effervescent and uncompromising Jacqueline Rowe—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s example of what it means to live the words you speak. #STSGlobal is honored to have met and get to know the awesome woman who has touched and changed many lives.

Jacqueline is the woman behind the scenes as well as out in front, who is doing her part to make a difference in the lives of others; encouraging people to share their truths and face their fears and pain head on. She embodies the spirit of the #STSGlobal mission—to meet people where they’re at…period! Jacqueline helps individuals to move forward and stand up for themselves; taking the steps that they need to get to the life that they were meant to have.

Jacqueline Rowe, CEO, Author, Motivational Speaker, Founder of FACE MY ABUSE

When we meet people, we do not always know their story. We may have heard things, seen things, but rarely do we know the story behind what makes a person who they are. What drives them to fight? What motivates them to take on the tasks that they do? If you have the pleasure of meeting Jacqueline, it will become evident that what drives her to fight; what motivates her, is a heart of love. She carries a spirit of love that is immediately felt when you come in her presence. That desire to help, lift up, motivate people to live their best life is evident after spending time in her presence. When she speaks, she speaks with conviction from a place of experience. You know that she has been through something in her life, but unlike some, has managed to grow from and overcome her experiences.

Jacqueline is now in a place where she can teach and reach others to achieve the same clarity and power that she now lives and operates. She is creating a legacy that her children, family, friends, and even strangers can glean from for years to come. A legacy tried in the fire and made stronger for it.

Jacqueline Rowe—Mother, Broker, Deal Maker, P R Consultant, Lifestyle Marketer, Author, Life Coach, Empowerment Speaker, Domestic Violence Advocate, Philanthropist—is the founder of FACE MY ABUSE. “FMA” founded in 2006, is established to address domestic violence against women and girls by increasing awareness, promoting effective policies and implementing potent strategies for prevention and intervention. “FMA’s” mission is to advance the health, education, and security of women and girls the world over with a focus on building healthy sustainable relationships defying domestic violence and its impact on not only the victim but by extension the family as a whole transcending the community.

Jacqueline shares with victims, the tools necessary to develop the confidence needed in acknowledging their worth, building self-confidence, and exhibiting the life intended. To promote reach, she incorporates third party resources geared towards demonstrating alternatives and providing positive influences. To learn more about FACE MY ABUSE and Jacqueline Rowe, visit the following links, https://facemyabuse.wordpress.com/, https://www.facebook.com/jacqueline.rowe/  https://www.facebook.com/thejrenterprises/ and https://www.instagram.com/facemyabuse/

We salute you, Jacqueline Rowe! Your encompassing love, concern, spirit, and heart inspire us every day. We are honored to have you be a part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling Family!

Celebrating Women’s History Month…Sabine Barreau!




Our celebration of Women’s History Month continues! #SurpriseTheStruggling’s twenty-third highlight this month is the incomparable and awe-inspiring Sabine Barreau—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s friend, supporter, and inspiration. #STSGlobal had the profound opportunity and privilege to meet this angel of a woman last year at an event. In the company of many other inspiring and beautiful women, we were struck by the glow that surrounded Sabine and just seems to emanate from her being.

Have you ever been in someone’s presence and felt empowered and encouraged at the same time? That was how we felt in the presence of Sabine. It became evident that this woman was genuine, real, and had a testimony to share. It was all over her. It was not her physical beauty, her make-up, her clothes. It was her spirit; the light of God shining inside of her—bursting with energy and love and power.

Sabine Barreau, Founder, and President of Dynamic Women Of Faith and Purpose, INC.

In the course of doing the work that we do, we come across many different women and girls from all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life. Their stories are all unique and yet similar at the same time. And the one common thread is that these women and girls have not given up. They are fighting; fighting for life, love, and happiness. No matter what comes their way, they are fighting. Part of #STSGlobal mission is to encourage and inspire and to meet other women that we can connect with who share our mission and are willing to become a part of the #STSGlobal family and share in our mission to inspire, encourage, and change lives one at a time, meeting the people right where they are at.

Sabine is this kind of woman. The kind of woman you want to surround yourself with. Who has been through some fires and challenges in life, but continues to push forward and use her voice and her testimony to bring encouragement, inspiration, and enlightenment to those who may feel their paths are too dark, and cannot distinguish the light.

Sabine is that light that God is using. It has been a pleasure in meeting and connecting with such a beautiful soul. She is a woman making history; creating a legacy her family, children, friends, and strangers can glean faith and hope.

Sabine Barreau—Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Minister, Cancer-Survivor, Champion—is a woman of faith who took life’s challenges and placed them in God’s hands, trusting Him to give her a clear path and direction of how to move forward. Finding herself battling for her life, from her ashes were birthed a beautiful testimony and organization. Sabine is proud founder & President of Dynamic Women Of Faith And Purpose, Inc. She is a walking testimony of what God will do in your life when you allow Him into those broken places of your life.

Dynamic Women Of Faith And Purpose, Inc. desires to ensure that women from different walks of life reach their full potential in Christ. It is to encourage, educate, and empower women on the importance of living pure, and takes their rightful place in God, identifying their purpose, acknowledging God with a praise and evolving into a beautiful woman of God with style. DWOFAP will motivate and empower women to become all that God has called them to be. FB:  https://www.facebook.com/pg/dynamicwomenoffaithandpupose

We salute you, Sabine Barreau! Your life, determination, and dedication inspire us never to give up. Thank you, for fighting to win. We are humbly blessed to have you be a part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling Family!