Vesta: Powered by Women

“Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over.”

Bella Abzug, U.S. Representative (1971-1977) and women’s movement leader

Welcome to Vesta! Vesta began as a vision to share stories through the perspective of female journalists studying at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Vestals, the writers of Vesta, are committed to telling interesting stories across a range of subjects, including news, politics, fashion, beauty and lifestyle.

Vesta is your source for content that is relevant, provokes conversation, provides perspective and highlights the diverse experiences of women from all walks of life. We hope you’ll follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We welcome your feedback.

Empowered Voices: The Solution to Prevent Sexual Assault

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Empowered Voices, is an organization that strives to prevent sexual providing educational theatrical workshops for youth, military forces, professionals and more..

Empowered Voices is just a year old and could be the solution to prevent sexual-assault from happening within the workplace. Janine Divita and Stephanie Brooks are the founders behind this that strives to bring prevention education awareness into the workplace. Divita is a well-known figure in the Broadway world.  

About a year and a half ago while on the If/Then tour, Divita happened to cross paths with Stephanie Brooks. Brooks is experienced mental health management professional, specializing in prevention and risk education. Brooks’s husband was an active service member in the military and the Broadway show had special arrangements for those serving in the military since the musical number focuses on military families.

Having a family member that served in the military gave Divita a soft-= spot for those serving for our country.  

“We met for coffee and she [Stephanie Brooks] was telling me that she had come up with this idea to get theatrical prevention education into the military but the military was a little resistant because fear was a foreign thing and didn’t seem military appropriate.. But she thought bringing in a bubbly Broadway actress would help them get noticed” said Janine Divita.  

The two worked with the sexual assault team at joint bases in Tacoma, Washington, and from the success of that they saw this as an opportunity to help other military institutions.

In its first year, Divita says Empowered Voices has helped 96 percent of their participants feel more empowered to stand up for themselves. .The workshops have participants act out scenarios and practice asking for consent and then have the participants provide alternative scenarios for how situations could go differently. “We just believe that the more you practice anything the better you get out of it. So we kind of view it that way with with sexual assault prevention,” said Divita.

Empowered Voices speaks to the bases’ sexual assault prevention teams to figure out what the target areas are for that particular base but also include as much as they can within the scripts.  

“It happens in all different professions. It’s not isolated towards the military. The thing with the military is that it gets in the way of them being mission ready and that is that that is their goal.. To be mission ready,” said Divita.

The need for prevention education hits close to home with all of the allegations coming forward within the media.  

“We’re both passionate about it… I don’t know a woman who hasn’t experienced some kind of sexual assault, unfortunately, in her lifetime. I think respecting boundaries is the overarching issue. With our type of training it’s beneficial,” said Janine Divita.

Millie Bobby Brown Has a Disability That Could Have Been a Barrier to Achieving Her Dreams

You might know Millie for playing the famous character Eleven on the Netflix original “Stranger Things” and being an amazing and inspiring girl boss. But did you know that Millie was born with a disability that got aggravated throughout the years?

Watch the video and find out the disability that didn’t keep her away from following her dreams and making it come true!



Churches Re-Accessing their Security Measures

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The November church shooting massacre in Texas is “the deadliest church shooting in America.” ~

In wake of the recent church shooting massacre in Sutherland, Texas that left 26 parishioners dead, including the pastor’s daughter, church security is back in the spotlight. Churches are once again having to make sure they are doing all they can to ensure they have greater security measures in place.

In an article by, it is reported that “there are an estimated 378,000 congregations in the United States, which means the likelihood of any congregation being involved in a shooting in any year is approximately one in 126,000 or 0.0000079 percent.” While the statistics from that article show the chances of being in a service where a church shooting is, “1 in 6,552,000 or 0.00000015 percent,” the news of a church involved shooting still grips the heart and puts church security measures back at the forefront.  

Dr. Aretha Wilson is the senior pastor of Kingdom Ambassadors Global Ministries (KAGM) in Lynbrook, NY.  Dr. Wilson says the recent shooting massacre in Texas was very sad to hear, especially from her seat as a pastor.

“As pastor of a ministry it saddens your heart to hear of this type of tragedy, said Dr. Wilson. “My heart and prayers go out to the victims and the pastor. I can’t imagine losing members in such a tragic way.”

The shooting in Texas is not the first church shooting of this decade. In 2015, a gunman by the name of Dylan Roof, killed nine people, including the pastor, in Charleston, S.C. When you look at both of these church shootings and the nature of how they took place, you have to wonder if churches are vulnerable to these types of attacks and if they have proper security in place. Dylan Roof, an admitted white supremacist, walked freely into a historically black church in South Carolina and fatally shot his victims after sitting with them for an extended period of time. In the most recent shooting in Texas, the gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, 26 basically entered the small church with his gun drawn, and bullets flying.

“Churches are vulnerable because your guards are down, being that it is a place of worship and compassion,” said former NYPD officer, Shantte Smallwood.  Shantte is also the head of security at her church.  “You become vulnerable because you’re never expecting for someone to come inside a church to take a life or fight someone.”

Dr. Aretha Wilson agreed.  She said, “yes churches are vulnerable, and this recent shooting has made me have to access as a pastor if I have done all I can to protect the members of my church.” 

The type of protection necessary for a church has been an ongoing debate.  Some churches have resorted to trained personnel having guns, while others don’t find it necessary. According to the website, 49% people voted “yes,” guns should be allowed in church for church security, while 51% opposed.

“Every church is different.  I’m not going to judge you for not choosing to have trained people in your church with guns,” said Dr. Wilson. “I do think guns should be allowed as long as they don’t overshadow the message of God’s love.”

Shantte said these church shootings put you on edge because, “you’re caught unaware and engaging yourself in the service, but you still have to watch everyone.”

Churches have always been considered a place of love and refuge, but they are now having to take a close look at the security measures they have in place.

“You want to make sure everyone returns home safely from church,” said Shantte.

~ Lakisha Bostick

Telling Her Story Through Spoken Word: Meet Sabrina Parker


Sabrina Parker is a spoken word artist who has a very interesting story as to why she even started doing this. Her insecurities about herself has allowed her to create amazing spoken word pieces. She has had this gift from a young age, but she hasn’t started performing until she joined a club at Hofstra University. She channels all her emotions and life experiences into her poems and get relief and satisfaction when she connects to someone through the message in her spoken word pieces. Take a chance to learn about Sabrina Parker, an amazing spoken word artist.

Living With Crohn’s Disease: A Day In The Life Of Alyssa Cruz

Millions of Americans are affected by Crohn’s Disease, which is a disease that  causes inflammation of the lower intestine. According to, “Crohn’s disease is more common in adults than in children. People are most often diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in late adolescence or early adulthood, between ages 15 and 35. Population-based studies show that Crohn’s disease is slightly more common in women than men.”

Alyssa Cruz is a young girl from Queens who has been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease since 2013. She has been battling with this disease and it has been very difficult for her. She speaks in great detail about having to drive to a hospital hours away, her strict diet, the monthly infusions and medicine that helps control her flare ups. A fun fact is that no one in her family has this disease. Learn more about Crohn’s Disease by watching this amazing video.

What do you want to do with your life?

The amount of times a student in college gets asked, “What do you want to do?” is one of the most cringeworthy questions for a lot people. If you’re the lucky few who know exactly what they’re passionate about and can picture doing that for the rest of their lives, then “blessed” is more of an accurate description for those people. But for the rest of those students who think they can kind of picture themselves doing something in that major/field, the unknown is so real; it’s scary.

Figuring out the rest of your life at the ripe age of 17 sounds reasonable, right? Wrong. But this doesn’t mean that if you chose to major in psychology that you can’t end up teaching kindergarten. It takes doing something to figure out if you truly enjoy it or not. It’s similar to trying a new pizza topping. How are you going to know if you enjoy the new buffalo chicken recipe unless you buy a slice first? After all, that’s what college is about. Enrolling in all these different classes so you can get a sneak peek into what that field might entail. It also helps you figure out if you’d like to pursue more of those types of classes and that degree.

A lot of people in the working world are currently working jobs in which they did not major in, in college. In a NY Times article Six Myths About Choosing a College Major, written by Jeffrey J. Selingo on November 3, he writes that “Majors tend to lag behind changes in the workplace. No wonder fewer than a third of college graduates work in jobs related to their majors.” This is moreso a problem with curriculum and a lack of field awareness for these students, as opposed to people not knowing what they want to do.

Nikki Giocastro, 24, is a sales assistant for the entertainment industry within the company. She went to SUNY Albany and now works in New York City at Sony. She explains, “I majored in business management and marketing and now I am a Direct Response Assistant at Sony… Safe to say that I’m not doing exactly what I studied in school.” Though being a sales assistant was not the career Giocastro intended to pursue, she is very thankful for the opportunity to have a job in this day and age.

Unlike Giocastro who did major in a type of business field and now works for a major company, there are some students who will major in one type of area and then go on to work in a completely different field entirely.

Kelly Buchanan, 27, went to the University of Rhode Island and she majored in and graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology. Buchanan is now working with children in a special needs school in Kingston, RI. “I’m a teacher’s assistant (T.A.), meaning I help out the full time teachers with their kids… I’m a helper more or less. I love working with both special needs and non special needs children, it’s crazy how much you can learn from them while they learn from you.” Buchanan has only been working in the school for three months. She plans on going back to college and getting her master’s in education with a concentration of special needs education.

At the end of the day, you want to be happy while working at your job. If you aren’t, and not everyone is, that’s okay. You’re not going to always have a great day of work, even if you’re at your dream job. Do what makes you happy. According to Raghav Haran, author of Career Advice No One Tells You, he gives a list of 10 pieces of advice that can help anyone struggling to find their career path. He gives advice on topics based upon his own personal experience such as how “The real education begins after college” and “Always be getting more exposure.” Haran, your school counselor and advisors, professors and so many more people can be your guide to figuring out just what you want to do with your life.

How to Budget for the 2017 Holiday Season

The holiday season can be an enjoyable time of year. People are decorating their homes, chopping down fresh Christmas trees, and making their wish list for Santa. You can assume everyone would be in the holiday cheer, but for some people, the challenge of buying presents looms large.

“It’s difficult to shop for everyone. Every year, sometimes, I feel like my list gets bigger. I get overwhelmed,” a Target customer at the Gateway Center in Brooklyn, Raenna Fukushima, from Bay Ridge said. “I appreciate my friends and family, and I want to get them something that is amazing, but I’m somehow always on a tight budget.”

Target offered several Black Friday deals and it was crowded as consumers maneuvered through the aisles.

Photo Courtesy of

“The hard part is finding the perfect gift,” Raenna said. “Sometimes you find the best sale items but the size is off, or you end up just giving up altogether because it gets crazy in some sections of the store.” So, how do people manage to budget their holiday shopping?

People who have the patience wait until Cyber Monday instead of hustling through Black Friday deals. And, for Target shoppers, Cyber Monday this year will continue all week long. The store will be offering different deals each day. And for consumers, like Raenna, this helps a lot.

“The only way I can get through the holiday season is by making a list. I start around September and by mid-November, I’m ready to go,” Raenna mentioned before heading to the checkout line. “The best advice I could give for those who are on a tight budget this year is: make a list, put money aside for gifts, and think outside the box. Nothing has to be generic.”

Here are five suggestions to help budget this holiday season:

1. List everyone you want to shop for.

Bloggers, Ashton and Shea of Million Ways to Mother suggested and made a Holiday Budget Planner. It’s printable! Use it to list everyone you want to shop for (friends, relatives, teachers, pets, etc.)


Printable Version, Millions Ways to Mother for FREE!


2. Look at your budget and determine how much you can afford. 


3. Divide your gift budget based on the people on your list.

Mom, dad, and grandma should be a priority. Your co-worker that sits next to you – eh, may not be. Look at who comes first before buying.


4. Get creative!

Don’t think about what looks cute or cheap. Think outside the box. Be creative. Sometimes the best gifts that are handmade or bought from a local mom-and-pop shop are the best options. (For example; or Blogger, Desiree at

Handmade Items


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Photo Courtesy of 

5. Make sure to track your spending.

The best way to not go overboard is to track what you are spending. Don’t throw out receipts. Tally up how much you’ve spent so far. This will help to give you an idea of how much you have left. You may have extra money for last minute gifts. 


Holiday Headquarters National Retail Federation (2)
Graph Chart by National Retail Federation


Don’t make this holiday season hectic. For more tips and tricks about holiday spending this season, check out our favorite hotspot, Pinterest. Pin and share your favorite ideas.