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.

It’s A Surprise Holiday Dinner Party!

Thank you all for your continued support and dedication in aiding #SurpriseTheStruggling in making a change in the lives of so many people; especially those affected by Homelessness.

We are asking that you will help us to surprise about 100 families (380ppl) this Holiday Season with a special Suprise Holiday Dinner Party. A way to bring some happiness and kindness this Holiday season. To let them know they are not forgotten.

If there is any way you can assist us, please email us at, surprisethestruggling@gmail.com Make all Monetary donations at, http://bit.ly/STSHOLIDAYSURPRISEDINNER or on our Giving Back page.

No amount too small, no item turned away.

Please do us a favor, and pass along this Event. Share it on your page and in your communities. Let’s make a difference this holiday season. We can do this as a community!

A Surprise Holiday Dinner…Seeking Sponsors

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…Nicole DeRosa!




Continuing our celebration of  Women’s History Month, #SurpriseTheStruggling’s thirty-first highlight this month is the courageous and inspiring Nicole DeRosa aka Cakes by Coley—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s day one supporter, and friend, and our very own Cake Genius! Nicole has been a supporter beginning with our sister organization, The Stop Bullying Project®. Even through difficult times, Nicole has been a constant support to our organization. Her dedication and courage to continue to push past every obstacle in her path have inspired us.

We believe that you are a reflection of those you surround yourself. It is an honor to know and be friends with Nicole. Her strength is an encouragement never to give up on your dreams and your passion. Her courage in the face of adversity reminds us that not every day will be the greatest but if you are willing to push ahead, you will get to where you want and need to be.

Nicole DeRosa, Cakes by Coley, Cake Artist

Nicole embodies the essence and heart of the #STSGlobal mission. Her support and friendship have been invaluable to both of our organizations. We honor her today as a woman making history because she is creating a legacy that goes beyond beautiful and delicious cakes. (Believe us, her cakes are divine and her decorating skills above par!) A legacy comprised of her determination, strength, and courage. Nicole could have given up after two devastating losses and setbacks but she moved forward, even though it seemed impossible. Her determination is infectious and her heart and compassion are awe—inspiring.

We are so grateful to have met this beautiful woman and have the opportunity to be inspired by her story. Nicole’s character speaks for itself. Her workmanship, artistry, and work ethic are evident in every cake she creates, and every interaction she has with a longtime customer or someone new. You will always receive the best.

Experience the passion and love that Nicole pours into her work. Become acquainted with Cakes by Coley, and you will understand the woman and heart behind the brand and taste the love in every bite.

Nicole “Coley” DeRosa—Survivor, Fighter, Entrepreneur, Businesswoman, Cake Artist, Baker Extraordinaire, Champion—is the proud owner and creator of Cakes by Coley LLC, a custom cake company located in Brooklyn, NY, specializing in amazing, delicious and one-of-a-kind creations for any and every occasion. Their mission is to provide beautiful works of edible art that are just as tasty as they are breathtaking. They pride themselves on providing outstanding service, focusing on superb attention to detail, and practicing expert artisanship with every one of their creations, no matter the size or price. They work hard continuously to exceed the expectations of all of their customers.

To experience the awesomeness that we have for the past few years, visit Cakes by Coley http://www.cakesbycoley.com/ Visit the FB and IG pages also. Be certain to check out the galleries on all three sites. https://www.facebook.com/CakesByColey/   https://www.instagram.com/cakesbycoley/

We salute you, Nicole “Coley” DeRosa! Thank you for being an example of strength, courage, and example of how to overcome obstacles with grace! You inspire us every single day! We stand with a heart full of love and happiness, proud to have you as part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling and The Stop Bullying Project® 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…Janine Smalls-Gueye & Lanise Herman-Thomas!




Our celebration of Women’s History Month continues. #SurpriseTheStruggling’s twenty-seventh highlight this month is a dynamic duo of dedication and motivation; kind of like having a double shot espresso, the team of Janine Smalls-Gueye and Lanise Herman-Thomas—#SurpriseTheStruggling’s reminder of how powerful sisterhood is, and how much you can accomplish when we work together with a spirit of support, understanding, and determination.

Each woman deserves to be singled out for their generosity and valuable time that they so generously give towards the success of #STSGlobal and carrying our mission forward. In their own right and as individuals Janine and Lanise are exemplary in all that they do. They give of themselves, each bringing to the table something unique and inspiring. Yet, as a team, they have proven to be even more impactful and leading example that one: women can work together and birth something powerful. In addition, two: when women come together to build one another up; especially wives and mothers, there is absolutely nothing that can stop them from accomplishing their goals.

Lanise Herman-Thomas, Janine Smalls-Gueye, Founders of P.R.A.D.A. an NPO & Wife Mom Entrepreneur Community Platform

Janine and Lanise both embody the spirit and mission of #STSGlobal. Providing services that are needed, meeting the people where they’re at, forming a community that is a wealth of ongoing support, and encouraging and motivating others to take the necessary steps in their lives to be all that they desire to be.

The sisters have proven that visions and dreams to come to pass when you work together and have a team of support and people that believe in you. Janine and Lanise have more than proven that they believe in what #STSGlobal is doing. They believe in who we are as individuals, team members, and an organization. Janine and Lanise are beautiful examples of what love and dedication look like in action. We humbly accept and appreciate their advice, guidance, and friendship, as well as their support in our journey of helping others.

Janine Smalls-Gueye and Lanise Herman-Thomas—Wives, Mothers, Sisters, CEOs, Scholars, MPA, MBA, Entrepreneurs, Educators, Tutors, Motivators, Visionaries, Authors—are the CEOs and founders of not one but two organizations— Peoples Resource and Development Association, (P.R.A.D.A) and Wife Mom Entrepreneur—that have been and are changing lives and communities, and making a difference in the lives of countless women every day.

Peoples Resource and Development Association, (P.R.A.D.A) a 501(c) 3 nonprofit was founded to assist low-income families, achieve stability and self-sufficiency through their programs. People’s Resource and Development Association mission is devoted to meeting the educational and developmental needs of children and adolescents while acknowledging and responding to the potential achievements and interdependence of their adults. Jessica Joseph is Program Director and Chantay Berry is Executive Assistant,  http://pradanp.org FB:  https://www.facebook.com/PRADANP/

Wife Mom Entrepreneur is a community organization and platform, whose purpose is to educate women on how successfully to juggle life as a wife, mom, and entrepreneur. Wife Mom Entrepreneur business consultant boutique offers:
Business Advice/Solutions, Personal/Business Branding, Strategic Planning,

Marketing Services, Team/Partnership Building, and Start-Up Planning and Development. This amazing community of sisterhood— created for the women who are wives, moms, and entrepreneurs—offers a supportive place for women to share, as well as, educate other women successfully to juggle three of the most challenging yet fulfilling jobs. Their website offers tons of advice and a wealth of resources, and the opportunity to connect and network. https://www.wifemomentrepreneur.com/  FB:  https://www.facebook.com/wifemomentrepreneur/ IG:  https://www.instagram.com/wifemomentrepreneur/

We salute you, Janine Smalls-Gueye and Lanise Herman-Thomas! The legacy you are creating is inspiring and motivating. We are filled with extreme gratitude to have you both as part of the #SurpriseTheStruggling Family!