A LETTER TO YOU
A Letter To You is a book of 50 inspirational letters written to teen girls and young women. The letters cover various topics, from self-esteem and comparison issues, to relationships and decision-making. Other topics include overcoming loss and adversity, dealing with mean-girl behavior, and social media bullying. The work is written from the perspective of an older sister/mentor talking to a younger sister/mentee. Each letter offers meaningful advice and key insights that will help encourage, educate, empower, and inspire girls as they navigate through life.
Excerpt from A Letter To You
April Henderson is an Author, Youth Advocate and Speaker with extensive professional experience in the educational and social service field, targeting the needs of at-risk youth and their families. She obtained her Masters of Education in 2006 and has dedicated her leadership to servicing child victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking, as well as homeless and runaway youth.
In 2002, she started The Restoration Home, a non-profit that offers programming for girls and young women.
April Henderson knows first-hand how difficult and turbulent it can be to cope with adversity during the teen years, as she lost her brother at the age of sixteen. Her journey of overcoming this tragedy and rediscovering her identity, hope and courage led her to a career of working with youth in the social service field and educational sector.
From One Sister to Another:
Please don’t believe the lie! You can have great friendships with girls. It is important to ensure that you are selecting and investing in the right relationships. Sometimes, our hearts are filled with disappointment and hurt because we invested or spent a lot of time with people who already showed us that they were not loyal, honest, or reliable. As a result, we allow all of these negative experiences to dictate our future relationships. Give the gift of friendship to those who have shown themselves to be trustworthy.
From One Sister to Another:
There was a saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words never hurt.” I have found this to be a lie because many people are still hurting because of negative words that have been said about or to them. Our words are powerful, and it is important to be very thoughtful about what is coming out of our mouth. I have heard many say that I am going to keep it ” 1 00″ or real with you. It is very possible to be direct and to state what you feel without being demeaning and rude. My sister, I want you to remember to use the power of your words to uplift others around you!
From One Sister to Another:
I want you to win now! That means so many different things to so many different people, but I believe you can supersede the examples you have seen in your environment. I could not wait to write you this letter because I want you to seize every opportunity that is given to you. This notion that someone “owes ” us something and that we do not have to work hard, is not true. In addition, this “mean girl approach,” where you say whatever you want to others without thinking and it is expected that people be just supposed to deal with you, will not work in most settings. When someone is willing to genuinely help you move forward, you should approach that person with humility and gratitude. They do not have to help you! Be ready to learn. No matter how gifted you are no one wants to deal with someone who is entitled. That type of attitude gives off an off-putting fragrance that is a turn off to many.
Interview with April Henderson
What inspired you to write your book, A Letter to You?
My inspiration to write this book came partly from my own struggle of losing my brother at the age of sixteen. When I lost my brother, I was depressed, suicidal, and had an identity crisis- I wondered who I was now that he was gone. This was a very difficult and devastating time for me, and on top of that, I still had to deal with the dynamics of being a teen. Moreover, my inspiration came from leading a team while working with girls who were victims of sexual trafficking. I would have Tuesday Chats with the girls, and they could talk to me about anything. What I noticed during this time was that the girls shared many of the same issues. No matter the location where I worked, whether in the school system, in the church, at the homeless shelters, or with my current organization, there were common issues that all girls dealt with. I saw my “teen self” in these girls. From that point on, I thought about all the other girls who needed support, encouragement and guidance- and that is how the book came about.
What can readers take away from your book?
Readers can expect to be encouraged, empowered, enlightened and inspired as they navigate their everyday lives. They will be challenged to grow and evolve overall as a person.
Does your book have a lesson? A moral?
The letters are written from the perspective of an older sister/mentor talking to a younger sister/mentee. Each letter offers meaningful advice and key insights that will help encourage, educate, empower and inspire girls as they navigate through life.
What is your favorite letter in this book, and why?
In all 50 letters, there is a section that states, “ From One Sister to Another”. This is where I inform the readers that I can relate to them. This is my favorite part because I believe that ultimately all people want to be understood. I try to communicate to the readers that “ I feel you, girl! You are not alone!”
Are you planning to write other books?
I certainly am! I am already working on my next book! I feel like there is space for my voice in the world, and I am filled with stories and messages that I believe will resonate with others.
What’s a cool/interesting fact about yourself?
Although I am truly a girly girl, there is still an inner tomboy inside of me. I am at home hanging with the girls sometimes, and the fellows as well!
What is some advice you would give aspiring or first-time authors?
You don’t have to have all the answers before you start. Allow that creative flow to express itself naturally. If you only have a sentence at first, write it down! If you only have an idea, write it down! If you cannot write it down, record it so that when you are ready to write, you will remember it. Just get started! Just do it! One sentence will turn into two, and before you know it, you’ll have a paragraph. There is no perfect time, so you must start now. Take it from me a wife, mother of two small children and a professional. You can do it!
April’s life was marked by tragedy at the age of sixteen, when her brother who was just seventeen years old, suddenly died from a heart attack. It was this tragic experience that gave her a clear focus and allowed her to discover the purpose for her life. April has been a youth advocate since the age of 16, often speaking up for those who are voiceless. She often states, “ I know God left me here for a reason. My life has purpose! I am here to make a difference and be a change agent wherever I go!” April has served in the Clayton County Public School System where she worked in the Special Education Department for both middle and high schools. She also led a team as the Educational/Vocational Coordinator at Covenant House Georgia, a youth agency that serves homeless and at-risk males and females between the ages of 16-21. It was while working here that April began to really see the deep need for guidance amongst girls.
“I am called to the ones who are hopeless and whose lives look very bleak
and uncertain. I have been there and I know how to walk out of that dark pit
of despair and I want to lead other youth out as well! There is hope!”
It was this deep conviction and passion that led April to start The Restoration Home, a non-profit organization that offers mentoring programs and workshops/seminars for girls. With the mission to protect, educate, empower and inspire girls, April has had the opportunity to impact a host of girls with her organization and by speaking at schools, churches, commencement ceremonies and youth conferences.
Recently, April served at Wellspring Living, Inc. as Program Coordinator for the Girls Residential Program, serving girls ages 12-17. She gave leadership to a staff of over 30 employees where the mission was to help domestic minor sex-trafficking victims and at-risk youth in developing the courage to move forward and the confidence to succeed.
For her work and unwavering commitment to the empowerment and mentorship of girls and women, April was awarded the Unsung Jewel Award by Jewels of Georgia, Inc. in June 2016.
April recently published her first book, “ A Letter to You”, a book geared towards empowering teen girls and young women. The book is comprised of letters written from a mentor to mentee perspective, or an older sister to a younger sibling and covers different topics including: self-image, relationships and life skills, amongst others.
April desires to continue living out her purpose of inspiring girls through many facets. For more information or to book April for your next event, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook at Author April Henderson’s Page @ACHenderson2 for updates and more!