The Empowerment Center Strengths Showcase teaches children to love themselves

Tiffany Baker helps one camper present at the Strengths Summer Camp Showcase. (Halle Kowalewski photo)

Halle Kowalewski
The Empowerment Center hosted its yearly Strengths Summer Camp Showcase, June 28. The event brought the three-day Kids Strengths Camp to its conclusion with one final afternoon of celebration.
The Kids Strengths Camp, which was available to children ages nine to 17, helped children discover and celebrate their identity. Each child was given a strengths test which detailed their personality and identified their three greatest
attributes. The camp’s leaders then spent time getting to know each child and demonstrating why their individual qualities were remarkable.
“When we come in contact with a kid we want to make that kid’s life better than when they came in. We want to show them how they can make a difference in the world by being them,” Tiffany Baker, the founder of the Empowerment Center, said.
The camp is based on The Empowerment Center’s adult Strengths program, which operates similarly to a professional personality test. At her prior Strengths classes, Baker had always urged parents to apply what they learned toward their children, she said, so when asked to come up with a new program for children, it was the first thing that came to her mind.
The Kids Strengths program encourages parents to find the best way to communicate with their children. Those with children ages nine to 13 receive a parent report, which details the child’s strengths and how those strengths manifest in day-to-day life. The guide is meant to strengthen the relationship between family members and help them better communicate and relate to one another.

Four campers show off their strengths boards with Tiffany Baker and Chairman V. Manuel Perez. (Halle Kowalewski photo)

“Kids that have been hurt need that extra push of love and confidence. That’s why I think that this program in particular is good for them. They get to spend three days with people telling them ‘this is what makes you great,’” Baker said.
Baker said that the program, and The Empowerment Center itself, stemmed from her own childhood desire to find her identity. The Empowerment Center regularly works with children who grow up on the Pechanga reservation or in the foster system. Baker said that her first priority is always to show the children that she cares about them.
“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That’s my motto with the little kids. So, I start off with telling them why I’m talking to them. I’m an adult who, when I was a kid, needed a place like this. So, I decided I was going to be the difference that I needed. And once they hear that, it’s like ‘OK,’” Baker said. “I love them. It’s like all of them become my kids.”
Every child at camp was encouraged to use their strengths both for the betterment of themselves and others. Those students who ranked high in “presence” were encouraged to speak at the showcase and to engage with the audience.
Children who were “caring” were encouraged to look out for the other children. Those who were “competitive” were encouraged to turn cleanup time into an exciting game.
“We take kids and show them who they are, what makes them unique and just what's right about them. Especially in a world that says so many things are wrong. When a person knows how great they are, their life changes,” Baker said.
The Empowerment Center is located at 27262 Via Industria in Temecula. For more information, call (951) 514-2939 or visit

Halle Kowalewski can be reached by email at