Kaprece James is a social entrepreneur and active duty United States Marine Corps spouse. She has been volunteering and working in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years. Kaprece is the CEO and Founder of Stella’s Girls.
ON YOUR PASSION
In 2012, I started my eight-year journey of traveling back and forth to Liberia, West Africa learning and recognizing the critical need for advocates and resources for females through my work with B4 Youth Theatre. During my time on the ground, I learned that the females we were working with did not have the resources to attend school, work, or access safe menstrual hygiene care. So, in 2013, I began providing resources, holding essential drives, back to school drives all on my personal time and dime. In 2014, my Marine received orders to Okinawa, Japan. Living in Okinawa for four years allowed my eyes to open even further on the needs of women around the globe and how, as an African American woman, my personal experiences could benefit other women by sharing, providing, and researching resources that could be beneficial to other women in other countries. As I continued to work and provide resources to Liberia and Japan, I was presented with opportunities to work with ambassadors, presidents, and other community leaders in these countries. Due to this continuous work and individuals and organizations asking how to get involved, Stella’s Girls was birthed in 2016.
Becoming the CEO and Founder of Stella’s Girls has been an amazing experience. Since 2016, we have provided resources to over 5,000 women and girls in over seven countries. This was accomplished with an all-volunteer staff.
ON YOUR MOTIVATION
What motivated you to become a feminist leader and public service advocate?
For as long as I can remember, starting back to Kindergarten, I wanted to be a civil rights attorney. From the age of seven until now, as a 38-year-old, I have volunteered and advocated in the community and been a member of key civic organizations such as NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, The Links Incorporated, National Junior Honor Society, National Key Club, etc. As an HBCU graduate of Savannah State University, my experience in college studying political science made me aware of how policy changes and influences all aspects of our lives and how critical it is to have a voice in spaces that matter. As an active-duty military spouse having to move every two to three years, this experience shaped my view on society. It helped me realize the needs of many communities quickly. These experiences led me to evolve into a feminist leader because women and girls were most often disenfranchised in these communities.
ON BEING CEO AND FOUNDER OF STELLA’S GIRLS
What has this experience been like?
Becoming the CEO and Founder of Stella’s Girls has been an amazing experience. Since 2016, we have provided resources to over 5,000 women and girls in over seven countries. This was accomplished with an all-volunteer staff. My role as CEO is to empower, educate, and train our future leaders. Serving as a CEO of grassroots international nonprofi t means that I have no typical days. One day I may be solely focused on Maryland, and the next day I may be in meetings and advocating for females in Sierra Leone or Liberia. I love waking up and going to bed late every day serving our communities on the ground.
ON LESSONS LEARNED
Advice to other women looking to make a difference:
Start with what is important to you! Over the last eight years, I have traveled and worked in over 15 countries, and the same has been true; women are dealing with the same issues as mothers, wives, sisters, professionals, advocates, and trying to fi gure out this thing we call life. If you are interested in serving a community on the ground, find a mentor or volunteer with organizations that share the same passion as you. Our TIME is the most valuable thing we have to offer next to financial support.
ON WHAT’S NEXT?
What do you hope to accomplish within the next five years?
Personally, I hope to start a family of my own as I am a woman who struggles with PCOS and suffers from infertility. I also hope to be awarded my Ph.D. as my work serving has become my priority. As the Founder & CEO of Stella’s Girls, I hope that my team continues to grow and that we have sanctioned Chapters on the ground for women and youth to address the inequities that every community faces. As a feminist and the new Diaspora Vice-Chair for FEMNET, the largest African women’s member organization globally, I hope to bring organizations together to connect, collaborate, create, and be a resource for one another to help our communities around the globe.
To get involved with Stella’s Girls visit: https://www.stellasgirls.org