A ‘Positive’ Force for Women


A new nonprofit based in Jamaica is aspiring to be a positive influence in the lives of young women.

Sylvia Cothia founded Positive Women United earlier this year. The group held an event in September, which was focused on the mental health of women and featured Nicole Johnson of ThriveNYC as a guest speaker. Proceeds raised went to Houston Haitians United, a group based in Texas working to help Houstonians recover from Hurricane Harvey.

In March, they hosted an event at the Laurelton Library that gathered successful women in various fields, from finance to fashion, to discuss their journey.

Despite holding down a full-time job in the nursing field, Cothia felt the need to be a positive force in the local community, in part as a tribute to the strong female role models in her own life that made her the person she is today.

In September, she was featured as the “Person of the Week” on Spectrum News.

“There is a real lack of role models for females,” she said. “We are wearing many hats these days. We are mothers, we are heads of households, we are business owners.”

Forming a nonprofit has been an eye-opening experience for Cothia.

“Funding is the biggest obstacle, but so is finding board members, time management and dedication,” she said. “And the paperwork!”

Tamara St. Fleur is one of five members on the group’s board of directors . She met Cothia at a community event, and was instantly on board.

“It was inspiring to see someone as busy as Sylvia who still wanted to take the time and give back and make an impact,” she said.

It’s her first time serving on a nonprofit board, which she admits can be a bit stressful and hectic, but ultimately a rewarding experience.

“I really see my role as just trying to push the mission forward and get as many people excited and involved as possible,” St. Fleur said.

Cothia and her board are currently planning future events, including seminars and job readiness programs. They are also trying to connect with other groups with a similar mission through social media, word-of-mouth and community events and other grassroots efforts.

“We are currently focused on southeast Queens, but hope to expand to the rest of the borough and eventually the country,” Cothia said.

You can learn more about and connect with Sylvia Cothia and Positive Women United at positivewomenunited.org.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *