Chaka Khan is breathing new meaning into her hit “I’m Every Woman” by changing lives, one at a time. The icon and her Chaka Khan Foundation is joining forces with the 2011 ESSENCE Music Festival (got tix?) and the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies along with Senior Senator Mary Landrieu, Congressman Cedric Richmond, Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu to help those in need. The collective will kick off a life and community-altering transformation process for 50 women in the Greater New Orleans area on June 4, providing structure for each woman to reach her goals with the help of community partners, agencies and mentors. “As mothers, as life givers and the first teachers of our children, it is important that women are empowered and have the confidence to know that they can change any situation,” says Chaka Khan, 10-time Grammy winner and Founder of The Chaka Khan Foundation. “I see this collaboration with ESSENCE and the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies as a powerful means to provide each of these women the resources to live into their God-given destiny.” “Improving the lives of women of color and that of their families has long been a driving force behind the ESSENCE brand,” says Michelle Ebanks, President of ESSENCE Communications, Inc. “This year’s collaboration with The Chaka Khan Foundation and the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies perfectly mirrors this mission and further expands upon our ESSENCE Empowerment Experience theme of ‘Transformation’ by allowing us to spotlight and honor deserving women, follow their progress and track their results that will change their lives forever.” The program will be span one year, boasting one-on-one counseling and mentorships for each woman to map out her goals (e.g. continuing education, job development, securing housing, etc.) followed by a VIP experience at the 17th annual ESSENCE Music Festival where the participants will meet Chaka Khan! There will also be a special graduation ceremony where the ladies will be honored for their achievements before paying their good experiences forward with a new group of women. “It is very important that institutions within a civil society take action to help survivors regain their resiliency and optimism after widespread disasters. Women in particular need such support for research shows that they are disproportionately traumatized during and after disasters,” said Dr. Denese Shervington, Founder & President of the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies (IWES). “I applaud ESSENCE and the Chaka Khan Foundation for embracing this role and helping to bring transformative healing to 50 such women from the Greater New Orleans community.”