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Free2Luv®’s day of empowerment, UNSTOPPABLE was a memorable and moving day filled with powerful storytelling through music, dance, film, and spoken word.

Festivities kicked off at The Regent DTLA as the red carpet was rolled out for celebrity and influencer guests along with teens and young women from The Teen Project and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles walked the red carpet.

Attendees creatively expressed themselves as they wrote and drew what being UNSTOPPABLE meant to them on banners that adorned the hall offering a moment of thought-provoking conversation.

Free2Luv’s Co-Founder, Tonya Sandis, was honored with The Goody Awards top honor, a lifetime achievement humanitarian award, for her selfless service and commitment to empowering and supporting youth who at times feel helpless, alone, and suicidal.

Sandis was presented the award with heartfelt words by Goody Awards Founder, Liz Kelly, and pop-rock artist, GabrieLa. In her acceptance speech, Sandis emphasized: “I am honored and humbled on behalf of the sheroes and the heroes that we hold hands with every year to uplift and empower young people, who sometimes are struggling with their sexuality or are being bullied.”

Five diverse vocal powerhouses, thought-provoking spoken word poetry, beautiful dance interpretative and a powerful short film wove a beautiful story taking the audience on a journey of self-discovery. From self-doubt to self-love, artists shared their hearts and stories from coming out to rising up to be free to love who they choose. The diverse styles and talent brought to the stage uplifted and engaged the audience with powerful numbers.

Spoken word artist, LoveSea shared her heart with impactful and relatable poetry:  I’m ready for the bullets that are gonna be shot at us, plus much more … And if we can’t get it right for this generation, we can lead by example for the next.”

NBC’s The Voice, Stephanie Rice, shared her story and journey of coming out and dedicated her beautiful and moving song ‘Cold Water’ to anyone going through a rough time who may feel they need to be rescued.

Pop-rock artist, GabrieLa had the audience on their feet singing and dancing along to the Free2Luv anthem with lyrics inviting everyone to ‘break the chains of hate’ and allow love to save the day.

Actress Bianca Kajlich brought the audience on a visual journey as she invited the audience to close their eyes and envision a world where we are all one. She shared a profound, personal poem titled ‘All of Me’ “What would it feel like to bare it all and stand in the center of my most cringe-worthy truths but instead of apologizing, I loved them more than I loved anything remotely resembling approval.”

Free2Luv also unveiled UNSTOPPABLE, the short film, a collaboration with actress and filmmaker Ella Lentini and team.

This short featured 50 diverse women from many walks of life reciting empowering verses sharing what makes them strong, unique, and unstoppable. Here’s an excerpt: “We don’t need to look far to find a “they” / they are the voices of doubt that hit us like a rolling fog / the voices that have drowned out our own, making us feel / less than / nonexistent / The you’ll never be this or that your too skinny, too fat / The you’ll never fit in’s / The voice that reminds you, you’re dreaming too big / for a girl living in a world / that was long ago rigged / against you. /

UNSTOPPABLE was hosted by Stephanie Gonzalez (Reporter and “Houston Life TV” Producer) and included powerful performances by actress Laya DeLeon Hayes (voice of Disney’s Doc McStuffins), Britten Healey (“Teens Wanna Know”), Actress/Singer/Songwriter Serena Laurel (pictured below), and dancers from Dance Creations (pictured above).

Kelly reported, “Everyone left UNSTOPPABLE dedicated to spreading more love and kindness in the world. Free2Luv believes that if every girl felt supported, embraced, and empowered to rock her authentic self, we can change the world, together.”

One attendee shared her experience: “With great pleasure, I have to share… I had the best time ever, at the free2luv “Unstoppable Event!” The experience was very moving. I left feeling extremely moved, loved, and inspired. You couldn’t walk out of there and keep all of that to yourself. I want to continue to be a part of making a difference in the world, showing others that love is and should always be more contagious than hate. I want children as well as other adults to know, that they should feel great about being free to be who they are, without judgment or apology. We are all a masterpiece in our own unique way, and should continue to rise up together spreading the light of life & love to everyone surrounding us! Tonya Sandis, thanks for sharing your dream through this production, with all of us. Hopefully, you will get the opportunity to make it a traveling production to share with the rest of the world. It should not stop here.”

The UNSTOPPABLE event was produced as a benefit to support Free2Luv’s art and music outreach and programming they provide year-round free of charge to underserved youth nationally.

Photos by Celeste Holmes Photography and Paper Trail Photos

BE BOLD. BE FIERCE. BE YOU. BE UNSTOPPABLE! 2018-03-18T20:04:49+00:00


Free2Luv’s Music Driven Production Raising Self-Esteem for Underserved Girls in DTLA

Award-winning youth empowerment nonprofit, Free2Luv® is bringing their girl-empowering music-driven production UNSTOPPABLE to Los Angeles on March 10th, 2018 to raise self-esteem and benefit underserved girls. Their thought-provoking show and red carpet event will unite artists in all genres as they ignite the stage sharing a story of growth and self-awareness through music, film, dance, and spoken word. UNSTOPPABLE will take youth on a full circle journey from the depths of low self-image to the celebration of self-love. Proceeds raised from UNSTOPPABLE will benefit Free2Luv’s music and art empowerment initiatives designed to create a kinder, braver, a more loving world for underserved youth. UNSTOPPABLE will be staged at The Regent DTLA, 448 S Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90013. Sponsor an underserved teen or reserve your space  today.

Research shows 47% of girls are being held back by low self-esteem. Girls, more often than boys, are the target of social, relational and cyberbullying, which has more damaging effects than physical bullying. Free2Luv believes that in a world where every girl feels supported, embraced, and empowered to rock her authentic self these percentages will change dramatically.

Highlights on this day of girl empowerment will be performances by NBC’s The Voice Stephanie Rice and Ddendyl Hoyt and pop-rock star GabrieLa, Rules of Engagement and Undateable recurring star Bianca Kajlich, the voice of Disney’s Doc McStuffins Laya DeLeon Hayes, and many more. Alaska Airlines is providing two round-trip tickets worldwide for auction, Studio Unbiased is creating designer fashion for bidding, and the red carpet will be rolled out for expected celebrities supporting UNSTOPPABLE.

“We are very excited to be producing UNSTOPPABLE with an amazing group of talented young women and look forward to creating a life-changing experience for underserved girls and teens. This event will be moving and inspirational, and we’ll be rolling out the red carpet for a VIP experience for youth who may seldom have an opportunity to experience this type of production. We view UNSTOPPABLE as more than an event – it’s a movement. Music and the arts offer a universal language that enables us to see the world and the human condition differently. They allow us to heal and to see a truth we might not have understood before. We know the transformational effect the arts have on children; it boosts their confidence and empowers them to communicate and express sensitive issues,” says Tonya Sandis, Co-Founder of Free2Luv.

Find Your Voice

Rice, a pop-rock singer-musician who recently found international acclaim on Season 12 of NBC’s The Voice, shares her compelling story of resilience through emotional and persuasive performances, offering listeners a source of inspiration and hope. “As a kid – I could never imagine a reality where my life could be lived out loud. I love giving visibility to young girls so they can see what their life could look like one day – full of love. Free to love. We all need someone at some point in our lives to speak for us when we cannot. I aim to empower the youth of today by giving them a voice,” says Rice.

“I’m excited to be taking a stand against hatred, and ignorance and join together to say that being yourself and being unique is perfectly ok, even when society says otherwise. It’s so important to let our kids and teens and young adults know that no one is alone, and whatever their journey might be, there are always people who understand what they are going through and that they are loved, accepted and beautiful souls,” says Hoyt.

Feel Empowered

“Women supporting each other is SO very important, and by doing so, we can empower each other. Standing together can make a huge impact in our fight for respect and equality. I feel it’s all of our jobs to be there for girls of all ages and to set that example while letting them know how much they rock and how awesome they truly are,” says GabrieLa.

UNSTOPPABLE is made possible by the generosity of Free2Luv sponsors including MRC Studios (Ozark and House of Cards) and Spaceland Presents (The Regent DTLA).

UNSTOPPABLE: DAY OF EMPOWERMENT 2018-03-12T21:37:40+00:00


Are you ready to be UNSTOPPABLE? Our UNSTOPPABLE Day of Empowerment will bring together incredible artists for a day of thought-provoking entertainment to help raise self-esteem and benefit underserved girls in Downtown L.A.

Want to learn more? Check out this great article highlighting the event from The Hollywood 360.

If you’re interested in attending the event on March 10, 2018, get your tickets or sponsor a teen.

Hollywood 360: UNSTOPPABLE EMPOWERMENT EVENT 2018-03-12T21:38:34+00:00

Advocate Lauren Suthers Awarded Grant for Free2Luv Volunteerism

Big congratulations to Advocate Lauren Suthers who has been awarded a Be Inspired Disney Citizenship and Youth Service America grant for her volunteerism with Free2Luv. Lauren is facilitating Free2BeME art empowerment workshops in her community for underserved youth and we are incredibly proud of the impact she’s making. Keep inspiring, Lauren!

Thank you, Disney and YSA for supporting Lauren’s volunteerism and our outreach efforts to create a kinder, braver, more loving world for ALL youth.

Check out this awesome feature sharing Lauren’s service in My Valley News.

Advocate Lauren Suthers Awarded Grant for Free2Luv Volunteerism 2018-03-12T21:35:04+00:00


We had an amazing time participating in MLK Day of Service celebrating LUV, dreams, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with Seattle Parks & Recreation at South Park Community Center. It was a beautiful event filled with inspiration as youth united to recite powerful words by MLK, LoveSea The Poet shared her heart and slam poetry, and youth creatively expressed themselves through our Free2BeME Project sharing their dreams for their world and their futures.

Ten inspirational quotes from Dr. King surrounded the room and a middle schooler recited a moving story about Rosa Parks.

A big thank you to our awesome team of volunteers, our South Park family, and United Way of King County & their sponsors for the LUV & support.

DARE TO DREAM: MLK DAY OF SERVICE 2018-01-17T01:39:45+00:00

Bullied to Brave … The Story of Youth Empowerment Nonprofit Free2Luv

Have you ever had a life-defining moment? Mine came in 2011 with the sudden passing of my young mother from pancreatic cancer. I was faced with how short life can be and questioned whether I was fulfilling my life purpose. I kept hearing about youth feeling like they had nowhere to turn, hurting themselves, and even taking their own lives. My dream I had acquired at a very young age of being an advocate for youth, resurfaced.

With my mother’s loss of life and young people taking their lives because of not feeling accepted, I felt driven to reach as many young people as possible. Furthermore, to let them know their life matters and is worth living and to empower them to know others’ words or actions don’t define them. I have since made it my life’s mission to help kids feel safe, heard, and valued, regardless of their ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. I rolled up my sleeves and armed with love, passion, and determination, my family and I founded Free2Luv®. Free2Luv is a youth empowerment nonprofit inspiring hope in youth who are often marginalized, bullied, and afforded little opportunity to thrive and prosper, including LGBTQ youth.

Behind every issue, whether it’s bullying, self-harm or self-loathing, are low self-esteem and a lack of self-love. We wanted our organization name to be a word of empowerment. The name Free2Luv encompasses loving yourself first, loving others and being free to love whoever you desire.

From personal experience, I know the value of having one other person in your corner, fighting your fight with you and supporting you fully. It can be the thing that pulls you out of your circumstance and makes the difference for a prosperous life. Sometimes that difference is between living and dying. Other times it’s standing up for a stranger who you see being bullied instead of turning away in apathy. In addition to using our own voices to impact others, we mentor youth to raise their voices in compassion and love. That’s what truly sets us apart.

One of the cornerstones of our organization and one we are incredibly proud of is our youth advocacy/mentorship program. We assist youth in finding their authentic voice and expression, which in turn builds their self-esteem and confidence. What happens from there is magic. Advocates inspire other youth in their community as they share the importance of bullying prevention, spread kindness, and celebrate individuality. By providing youth continual support, we are growing leaders and game changers who are making a powerful and positive impact in their communities, inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting their peers. It’s a dynamic ripple effect of empowerment and connection.

There’s nothing like holding hands with young people who build confidence and engage in inclusive conversations. When youth learn to express themselves more fully, they share their hearts and are open-minded with their peers. It is the most rewarding and profound work we have done in our lives, and it is a gift to witness the growth of these beautiful individuals who are our future. Teaching leadership, innovation, and compassion is critical to our society’s future. When we raise authentic, confident, and empowered individuals, we are building a strong future for all youth. Therefore, we will continue to make this our life’s work and mission. Above all, we aspire to be leaders who inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.

Bullied to Brave … The Story of Youth Empowerment Nonprofit Free2Luv 2018-01-29T15:52:33+00:00

Cyberbullying: What You Need To Know If Your Being Cyberbullied

Ask yourself: Have you ever been a victim of cyberbullying, or have you ever cyberbullied someone?

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying or harassment that happens online, via text, on social media, and in apps. This is all away from your physical space. Since cyberbullying occurs in electronic form, you may not always know the person on the other end of that comment.

According to a study by the Cyberbullying Research Center, approximately 34 percent of the students have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes. What’s more, 12 percent admitted to cyberbullying. From hurtful comments to gossip and rumors, this is a behavior that has the power to impact the lives of people on both sides of the screen.

If you’ve felt hurt by the words of others online, or if you’ve hit send without thinking about the recipient of your message, keep reading.

Cyberbullying Impact

Are you being cyberbullied?

If you happen to be the victim of hurtful comments, actions, or gossip, remember you have the power to control how you react. While words can hurt, take a minute to think about who they are coming from and don’t let this person hold the power of your self-esteem and self-confidence over you. Block the person, log-off, call a friend, or find a community where you can feel safe and empowered.  

Here are five tips to help protect yourself from cyberbullying:

  • Reach out and let someone know what you are experiencing. There is always help.
  • Block the person. You have the power not to engage.
  • Report harassing comments, fake profiles, or inappropriate photos. Social media sites have ways of reporting harassing content. You have a right to feel safe in these spaces.
  • Never share your passwords, private photos, or personal data (such as address or phone number) online, not even with friends.
  • Remember if someone is bullying you, know that their actions are not about you. They may be suffering from low self-esteem, being bullied themselves, or acting out for attention.

Have you ever cyberbullied?

Maybe you haven’t been on the receiving end of cyberbullying, but have you ever spread a negative message about someone or a group online? If so, you’re engaging in the act of cyberbullying. Even if it is a “small” comment or you’re retweeting a rumor, it still has an impact.

Here are three ways to stop cyberbullying:

  • Think before you hit “send.” Even if you think something may not be hurtful, pause for a moment to consider how the person on the other end may feel after receiving it.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if someone was commenting on your looks, your sexuality, or your lifestyle? The answer is probably not great.
  • Log off. Spend some time offline and get involved with your school, community, or organization that you care about joining. It is all about finding something positive to enjoy in your free time.

Want to stand up to cyberbullying? Join the Free2Luv movement and use your voice to uplift and inspire. Change begins with each of us.

Cyberbullying: What You Need To Know If Your Being Cyberbullied 2018-02-14T23:29:44+00:00

Giving Tuesday – A Day Of Generosity – Nov 28TH

Giving Back feels good! Join us on Giving Tuesday a day of generosity, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday and give the gift of empowerment. We are passionate about bringing our arts and empowerment programming to underserved youth and with your generous support, can make a HUGE difference in the lives of youth in 2018. You can give early, too, because the entire month of November, all donations are being matched by a Free2Luv supporter. Thanks so much for your LUV and support!!

Giving Tuesday – A Day Of Generosity – Nov 28TH 2018-03-05T16:58:43+00:00

Bullied to Brave … Your Vote Can Help Us Empower Youth

Have you ever wondered how Free2Luv was born? We have an amazing opportunity to win a $10K grant to expand our empowerment initiatives and we need your support. Take a moment to read our Co-Founder Tonya Sandis’ #MyGivingStory. You can vote daily through Nov 30th and we’d appreciate you sharing to spread the word. Your support could make a big difference in the lives of the youth we serve. Thank you so much!

Bullied to Brave … Your Vote Can Help Us Empower Youth 2018-01-29T15:54:07+00:00
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