St. John Native Teshanne Phillip Releases Book, “Elevate,” Geared Toward Empowering Young Women

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Phillip will be on island signing copies of her book on Saturday, March 29, in Franklin Powell Park.

Growing up as a young girl on St. John, Teshanne Phillip fondly recalls the island women who served as her mentors. Now, with the release of her first book, “Elevate,” Phillip hopes to empower young women in the Virgin Islands — and nationwide — by sharing her own experiences and by teaching them about subjects like forgiveness, achieving greatness, and setting and accomplishing goals.

“I am so excited about this new project, and I am blown away by the feedback that I’ve been receiving on the book,” said Phillip.

The St. John native, who graduated from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School in 1999, today lives in south Florida where she leads a mentorship program at a foster home. Her relationship with the young women in the home inspired her to help others achieve greatness.

Phillip’s passion for the girls in the foster home is evident as she speaks about her interactions with them. Ranging in age from 14 to 17, the young women were removed from their homes due to their parents passing away or being incarcerated. Some of the teens have been in the home from a very young age.

“We work with them on self-reflection so they can deal with some of the hurt and some of the struggles they’ve faced,” said Phillip. “The home is overseen by rotating foster moms, so they’ll have three or four ‘moms’ in the house per week. They don’t have anyone that’s consistent in their lives.”

Phillip works with the girls on independent living skills, from cleaning their rooms to putting together a grocery list to job interview skills.

“These ladies inspired me to put together a lesson plan to help and encourage young women,” said Phillip. “These girls don’t have any parents; they don’t have anyone to invest in them. Growing up on St. John, I had numerous people on the island who invested in me, and now I want to be someone who invests in someone else’s life.”

“Elevate,” released on Valentine’s Day, is a workbook with various lesson plans that the reader can follow, backed up by Phillip’s own experiences.

“My hope is that this book touches the lives of so many people,” said the author. “I tell readers that if you’re going through something it’s okay, you’re going to get through this. We’ve identified the problem, now let’s do something about it.”

Phillip is traveling to St. John at the end of this month and will host a book signing event at the Frank Powell Park on March 29 at 5 p.m., complete with music by DJ LS1. She’s also scheduled a book signing in Fort Lauderdale at the end of April, but it was important to her to introduce “Elevate” on St. John first, she explained.

“I wanted to introduce the book at home first so I can celebrate with my family there,” said Phillip. “I still have a lot of friends at home and I realize one of the things we lack at home is confidence. Oftentimes we are living this life as other people say we are rather than as the person we know we are.”

Phillip gave a nod to her mentors for helping her reach her own goals in life.

“I feel like this is not just my accomplishment,” she said. “This is an accomplishment by all of us. They have all played such a major role in my life.”