Message from Karlecia Swan | Founder

Karlecia Swan is the Founder and President of 1st Lady Empowerment Foundation, Inc.  This foundation was created to empower adolescent girls across Alabama to be the best they can be through positive mentoring from older women.  Through the foundation girls ages 8-12 will be able to make good decisions based on an increased level of self-esteem.  Ms. Swan created the Foundation after realizing that young girls struggle everyday with developing their own identity and wanting to be accepted by others.

From a young age, Ms. Swan has always had a passion for helping others.  Once she started college, Ms. Swan began studying Social Work.  She earned her bachelor’s from Oakwood College, now known as Oakwood University.  She knew in this area she would be able to help many groups of people.   Ms. Swan went on to earn her MSW from Alabama A & M University with a concentration in Family and Child Services.

Ms. Swan’s professional background includes working with children of a Head Start Program in Huntsville through Community Action Agency and working as Service Coordinator of two Independent Senior Housing Communities, then Manager of the Willow Run Towers in Huntsville, Alabama.  Ms. Swan had the wonderful opportunity of serving as Adjunct Professor at Alabama A & M University Fall Semester of 2007.  Ms.  Swan has also acted as volunteer at The Davis Clinic, Seminole Services Center, Chi-Ho Mansion, and New Horizons Substance Abuse Recovery Center from 1998–2002.  Ms. Swan has also served on board of directors as Secretary for Carrie’s Maternity Home and Treasurer for The American Association of Service Coordinators, Alabama Chapter from 2003-2006.  During all of her professional and personal experiences, Karlecia was thinking about how she can make a difference.

It was March 2008 when Ms. Swan was inspired to reach out to young girls.  Her inspiration came first from her cousin, the first African American Female Pilot for Comair Airlines.  She later became Captain.  Her next inspiration came from the election of 2008, where the first African American was elected President of the United States.  Before the election, Ms. Swan was also inspired by the huge progress Senator Hillary Clinton made.  First Lady Michelle Obama’s presence in today’s society has definitely given many women and young girls a breath of fresh air.  These moments in history led Ms. Swan to create an organization that would inspire and empower girls to explore many options and try new things.

Karlecia remembers sitting in front of her home with her brother and pouring out to him the passion she had to making a difference in her community.  She expressed to her brother that she wanted to develop programs that would empower young girls and increase their self-esteem.  He blurted out 1st Lady Empowerment.  She added Foundation later.  That day in March of 2008 would change her life forever.  As she began to create the core ideas and services of her non-profit organization, she realized that this was indeed her purpose in life.

1st Lady Empowerment Foundation became incorporated and gained 501 c (3) status on May 12, 2008.  1st Lady Empowerment Foundation, Inc.  has conducted empowerment workshops at the Lakewood Elementary School where 12 young ladies came together each week to be a part of a ‘girl group’ that focused on building self-esteem, becoming a leader, friendship building, problem solving, conflict resolution, the importance of education, being a good citizen, public speaking, building confidence, the art of journaling, etiquette, the presentation of self, and career dreams.  The ‘girl group’ is a safe place for girls to express themselves freely.  Ms. Swan has also developed the ‘I Have Value – I Have Worth’ Empowerment Camp, in which girls ages 8-12 will be able to come together for a week long camp, where they will learn several skills and values for everyday life as a young girl. The core program of 1st Lady along with workshops for self defense, nutrition, and fitness will be added to the Empowerment Camp.  This camp will have motivational speakers to talk to the girls about self motivation, positive self expression and talks about saying no to drugs and the impact of negative peer pressure.

Ms. Swan and her organization plans to continue this journey by going into Huntsville City Schools and area churches to change the lives of young girls.  This is just the beginning for the 1st Lady Empowerment Foundation.  In the future this organization plans to house several other programs for the entire family, from social services to family counseling to job counseling, etc.  This Empowerment Center will be a resource center for families, individuals, and groups.


...empowering adolescent girls across Alabama