MIAMI — “Oh my goodness what a time I had … I never knew I had so much energy and would be so well embraced by everyone — the girls, parents and sponsors where just awesome.” So said up-and-coming “tween” actress Keke Palmer, ending her day after attending a Sept. 27 Tea Party for more than 50 girls at Cool de-sac in Hallandale, followed by a surprise visit with the students at the Academy for Community Education in El Portal.
Palmer’s South Florida visit also included throwing out the first pitch at the Miami Marlins game against the Detroit Tigers the next day, and a day of fun on the beach with the Embrace Girls and their families.
The Miami Lakes based Embrace Girls Foundation Inc., a 501(c)3 mentoring organization, helps develop academic, social and life skills in girls ages 4-12 through its afterschool programs, camps and other activities including its trademark Tea Parties.
Palmer has made it a mission to bring awareness of and raise needed financing for the charity.
The child star of the 2006 hit movie Akeelah and the Bee is now a 20-year-old young woman who has established herself as one of the rising stars of her generation. Her talents span from film to television and music.
She voiced the character of “Peaches” in the movie Ice Age: Continental Drift, has been seen on the big screen in Madea Family Reunion and recently in Joyful Noise, starring alongside Dolly Pardon and Queen Latifah. Palmer can next be seen starring in the DirectTV miniseries Full Circle (Oct. 9), and the made-for-TV movie Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story, airing Oct. 21 on VH1.
It was while at a Miami film festival when Akeelah and Bee was released that she and her mother “had a Tea Party with the most intelligent, well behaved little girls we’d ever seen, and simply fell in love with every aspect of the organization,” she said. “We’ve been supporters ever since, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to select an organization that I wanted to ‘officially support,’ I knew where my heart was — and it was with my Embrace Girls.”
Palmer decided to use her social media savvy and creative flair to support Embrace Girls on Chideo (charity+video — chideo.com), an innovative platform where fans can connect directly with their favorite celebrities for exclusive online video content, all while doing good.
Palmer’s fans can make suggestions for videos they most want her to answer, or vote for other people’s suggestions instead. When she makes chideos in response, her fans can donate to watch, helping her raise money for Embrace Girls.
On this visit Palmer served as an inspiration for hundreds of South Florida students who had the opportunity to attend a host of events held in her
honor. She was overwhelmed with tears as during one program, as popular spoken word poet Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns presented her with an empowering oracle tribute.
Deborah A. Carter, Ed.D, principal of the Academy for Community Education, said she was overjoyed that Palmer had made time in her schedule to surprise the students. “Words cannot express the gratitude and appreciation we have for the Embrace Girls Foundation and Keke to break away and make time for our students — they are truly over the moon, what a day.”
The sentiment was echoed by Palmer. “I am so inspired by these students,” she said. “The Embrace and Ace Academy girls were so beautiful and poised, and the guys were handsome and engaged, just really cool. I wish we had more time with them.”
Velma R. Lawrence, CEO and founder of The Embrace Girls Foundation, Inc., said she’s already working on that, planning for a return visit in late Spring.