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Joni Ariel Perkins

Skills & Accomplishments

Degree

Florida State University

Florida State graduate with dual degrees in International Affairs and Anthropology with focuses in public administration and cultural anthropology. Equipped with over 7 years of intensive leadership, interpersonal and public speaking experience through serving many leadership roles on FSU campus and throughout the greater Tallahassee and Charleston areas. My interest in International Affairs and Anthropology are mainly directed towards work in education, entrepreneurship, community organizing, nonprofits/NGO's, and cultural preservation. I am currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration to continue my education.

Entrepreneurial Endeavors

PrideInYourRoots LLC

PrideInYourRoots began as a holistic line of skincare and haircare products. Our products were handcrafted and specifically formulated to promote healthy skin and hair. Our company started in November of 2016 and had been privately servicing clients in Florida, curating products for specific needs. As our popularity grew, we decided to offer popular formulas, for common needs, online in our store. As we continued to expand, PrideInYourRoots became more than holistic skincare, it became a brand that embodied success in business while promoting black excellence and staying grounded in our "roots". Now, PrideInYourRoots LLC continues to do just that by sponsoring events, collaborating with black creators and teaching aspiring entrepreneurs how create sustainable businesses that stay true to our culture and past.

Experience

S.H.E. Founder

Lead the effort to plan, coordinate, organize and facilitate the establishment of a fully operational Sewing and Health Enterprise in Assam, India. Organized the housing, travel, and itinerary of four American volunteers who, for two weeks, tackled intensive training of Assamese women on the construction and use of washable reusable menstrual supplies. Coordinated the travel to the Garbhanga Forest to host a distribution of 100+ Days for Girls comfort kits to al the women and young ladies of the villages. First time leading a project of this magnitude, after assisting in the establishment of SHE’s in Kenya and Peru.

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Teaching

I currently serve as a 8th grade English/Language arts teacher in rural South Carolina. I have previously taught 8th Grade ELA and 5th Grade ELA. While overseas, I served as an English Medium Teacher as well as a dance instructor at the Parijat Academy in Guahati, India.

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Priority School Planning

  • Worked with a team of administrators and a Title I coordinator to produce a plan and budget to meet state requirements under the Priority School designation.

  • Proposed a school-wide project to bring innovation and student ownership into the classroom by having students conduct Project-Based learning in an effort to create a museum that will focus on Cross High history and the history of the surrounding communities. This project became the official project of the 2019-2020 school year, utilizing $45,000+ of funding from both the state of South Carolina and the Google Technology Grant.

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The Riley Museum

  • Worked collaboratively to plan educational and fundraising events for the museum and local community such as the Blended Lives elementary educational program as well as other festivals, programs, projects and donor events.

  • Working with support staff to host exhibits within a Non-Profit African American History museum in Tallahassee, Fl. 

  • Worked collaboratively with staff to write grants pertaining to educational programs for the community to bring awareness of history to youth and make local history more accessible.

  • Regularly inventoried and analyzed museum artifacts.

  • Maintained exhibits and assisted in preparing exhibits.

  • Worked in contact with exhibit contributors.

  • Produced written articles and publications including the books “The Proctors: Roots, Branches, Voices” and “Uncrowned Queens: Our Matriarchs of Courage”

  • Produced graphic design and promotional materials for publication in local magazines and event materials.

  • Conducted tours, facilitated community programming, researched and transcribed oral history.

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Mission Possible KGIS.

Worked with the starting minds behind Mission Possible: Keep Girls in School. which later partnered with Days for Girls International to spread awareness of feminine health, hygiene, and safety around the world to women living in poverty. Traveled to Kenya, Peru, and India establishing Sewing and Health enterprises in areas in all three countries.

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Days For Girls, International

  • Conducted speaking engagements on behalf of the Central Florida chapter of Days for Girls International educating women on feminine health.

  • Organized donor and fundraising events to receive donations and sponsorships to further the vision of Days for Girls, Int.

  • Organized and facilitated “Sew-a-thon” events across the state of Florida.

  • Traveled to Kenya, Africa to conduct training of a group of women to become Women’s Health Ambassadors as well as establish a Sewing and Health Enterprise in Tharaka-Nithi, Kenya.

  • Worked in cooperation with the Governor of Tharaka-Nithi and the First Lady to ideate ways to continue these efforts throughout the district.

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The Gwen Graham Campain

  • Facilitated the initiation of millennial outreach programs on college and university campuses across the state of Florida with the goal of furthering the Gwen Graham campaign for Florida Governor.

  • Wrote the official 43-page handbook for students to follow to initiate a program on their campus.

  • Worked with campaign staff with outreach in the Tallahassee community through phone banking, emailing and canvassing. 

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Womens Leadership Institute

  • Worked side-by-side with the leadership team in charge of coordinating the annual Women’s Leadership Institute at Florida State University.

  • Provided the necessary perspective of a student and former participant during the planning process.

  • Brainstormed and provided thoughtful ideas to contribute to the conference.

  • Helped facilitate and present during the conference.

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Sweetgrass Basketry

The Art form of basket weaving was brought to the states over 300 years ago by the ancestors via the trans-atlantic slave trade. The art form's roots can be traced back to Sierra Leone. I was taught this art by my Lynette Youson, world renowned basket weaver, whose work is housed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I began weaving in the early part of 2019 and have continued the art since, advancing my skill and immersing myself in its history. The art of sweetgrass basket weaving is rooted in rish history and bound by tradition.


In July of 2021, I had the pleasure to instruct classes on sweetgrass weaving alongside Lynette Youson. During the ladder weeks of the month we taught at both the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC and The Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft in Gatlinburg, TN. During this course students learned how to coil a sweetgrass basket together with the natural grass that grows wild along the coast of Charleston, SC on the dry lands of waterfront properties. Also used in the baskets are long pine needles found in the surrounding forests and bul-rush, a thicker grass that grows on the edge of the wetlands of the Gullah-Geechee corridor. The baskets are bound with the State tree of South Carolina’s Palmetto palm. Students experienced making a traditional rice fanner basket and other traditional style baskets using these materials. It is a pleasure to continue the tradition of this dying artform by teaching others of its rich history. After learning from a fifth generation basket weaver myself, I enjoy sharing the beauty behind sweetgrass basketry as it was shared with me. Students completed projects through applying the learned skills and created something of their own, to keep for generations to come. While weaving, they gained a better understanding of the artform and appreciation for this beautiful and wonderful tradition.

Research

Guwahati, India

Conducted interdisciplinary research on ‘The disparities of access to transportation between city dwellers and distant villagers and its effects’ on availability of education and medical treatment in Guwahati, Assam & The Garbhanga Forest Village(s) under the direction of the Florida State Center for Undergraduate Research & Academic Engagement

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