Kehli Berry is a compassionate advocate for youth from Compton, CA. She strives to give kids an opportunity to develop their leadership skills and academic potential through the arts. The love and compassion she received from her mother inspired Kehli to help children at a young age. Kehli’s mom influenced her path to be an advocate for youth because of her experience as a foster sibling. Her family grew every year with new foster siblings. Kehli, began changing lives at the young age of 12 years old hosting talent shows, picnic gatherings, and tutoring sessions for her foster siblings. Her love for helping kids started early and continues to shine on.
Kehli moved to Atlanta, GA to pursue her undergraduate studies. She attended both Clark Atlanta University and Georgia State University, and graduated with a degree in Africana Studies with an emphasis in Education & Curriculum. Kehli’s passion for helping empower and encourage kids from diverse backgrounds and low-income communities led her to develop a summer youth enrichment project funded by The Enterprise Foundation while a student at Georgia State University. Youth participated in creative art, dance, drama, academics, and recreation. The success of her program reached over 85 students each summer, and Kehli received the President’s award for The Outstanding Community Impact Student Award in 2007 at Georgia State University. Her love for education and dance led her to be a part of Ghana’s 50th Anniversary of Independence celebrations. Her time studying and teaching in Ghana changed her life and inspired her to develop the organization 1-Shine. She decided to go back home to Compton, CA to help the many “at-risk” youth and teens living in the city. Many students within her program have been subjected to the destructive side effects of drugs, gang violence, and sex trafficking. Kehli no longer wanted to wait to help these kids so she worked long hours to develop a program, and worked with community partners, city staff, churches, and parents to start both afterschool and summer programming for youth in Compton, California and surrounding cities.
The 1-Shine program provides “at-risk” students an opportunity to discover and reach their academic, leadership, and and personal development potential in an effort to prepare the next generation of youth leaders. Kehli received a seed grant from The Pollination Project (TPP) in 2015 to support the 1-Shine leadership camp. The leadership camp provides students in Compton, Long Beach and now Los Angeles, California, an opportunity to participate in recreational and educational activities that promote positive, personal development. Kehli’s 1-Shine programs reaches 80-150 students during the summer. She strives to give students a place to belong and grow as future leaders. Her love for dancing is a huge part of the program, and she is the Director for the DIVAS of Compton. Her dance team has competed numerous times on the nationally ranked television show called “Bring It” on the Lifetime Television Network. Her dream of having a dance studio and equipment for children to develop both leadership skills and their love for the arts was answered when she received the impact grant from TPP. Kehli plans to spread the mission of 1-Shine to empower youth to take an active stand and become young leaders in their community. In the next five years, Kehli wants to expand her programs in other states and countries. Perhaps in Ghana where she decided to put her plans to action. Kehli hopes that through her work children embrace themselves and reach their fullest potential.
Kehli’s advocacy work for youth led her to be a part of the The Pollination Project Youth Leadership hub. She is excited to bring her cultural diversity and awareness, grant writing, and communication expertise to support youth projects in the United States to improve the lives of future generations.