Shania Accius has always lived a life of service. She started her community service journey as a Girl Scout in New York when she was a child and later used the values she learned to be of service as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated The State University of New York at New Paltzin 1992. She currently serves as second vice president of the San Fernando Valley Chapter. In 1997, Shania moved to Los Angeles and continued her commitment to serve. But it wasn’t until she had children that she realized that community is what shapes you and she wanted to have a hand in shaping a village for her children. In 2015, Shania was one of the five chattering members of The San Fernando Valley Chapter of Mocha Moms, a national support group for Mothers of Color. Today, SFV Mocha Moms has one hundred members, which has allowed them to increase their community outreach and serve the entire San Fernando Valley. Once Shania built a village for herself with Mocha Moms, she felt it was time to build a village for her daughter, who was not represented in the school, in her activities, or in her community. In 2015, Shania created Zawadi Troop 3246, which is an all-Black Girl Scout Troop that focuses on character, culture, and community. The troop currently has eighty-two girls and they are focused on serving the community and their goal of meeting the Vice President of the United States on a trip they are planning to Washington, DC in 2022. These goal getters range from Kindergarten to Senior High School and as a legacy troop, they plan to be in existence for many years to come. Once Shania created the groups, she wanted to be able to curate community activities bringing these groups together. So in2017, Shania founded Zawadi Cultural Collective, which creates events and programming in the San Fernando Valley that focuses on culture, empowerment, social action, and economics. Shania felt there was a need for programming that supported the Black community in the San Fernando Valley. Zawadi hosts an annual Women’s Empowerment event, a free Juneteenth Celebration for the community, and a speaking/leadership/mentorship program for middle and high school children of color. In 2020, we entered a virtual world and everyone was feeling disconnected and small businesses in the community were struggling. So on June 7, 2020, Shania launched Black In The Valley(BITV), a private Facebook Group for the Black community in the San Fernando Valley to serve as a hub for resources, businesses, and support. BITV hosts virtual community forums, virtual mixers, as well as spotlight local businesses daily. Now with almost 4,000 members, Black In The Valley has moved beyond the computer screen and is connecting the community in different ways. BITV hosts a quarterly marketplace to support local black businesses in the area and they recently hosted a community scavenger hunt that led people to Black businesses and historical areas in the San Fernando Valley, supporting our business owners and increasing a sense of community.
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