I had the pleasure of watching the new movie A Wrinkle in Time… twice. There were many subliminal messages intertwined within the movie intentionally and for a great reason. The key takeaway I received was to believe in yourself–your whole self even your faults. As humans, we all struggle with our inner voice telling us we’re not good enough, we aren’t worthy, we aren’t pretty enough and the slew of other negative voices trying to keep us down and out. This movie taps into those voices and dares us to challenge our own negative self-talk. It dares us to see all the good within us and to channel that goodness towards saving the world, but ultimately saving our own selves!
At any given time here in America and even closer to home, in Philadelphia a woman and her child or a teen mom is faced with homelessness. It has been an epidemic in our society for far too long. On a grand scale social awareness, legislation, education, housing and resources are all critical matters needed to end homelessness, but what are some small, impactful actions that can be taken right now for displaced women living in shelters? Being able to alleviate a burden that we sometimes take for granted is providing toiletries for them so they can focus on reclaiming their independence and self sufficiency. As the founder of For Her Sake Foundation, Inc we are on a mission to support women and teen moms living in Philadelphia homeless shelters and safe havens by donating toiletries directly to them. Imagine not having enough money to buy something simple; yet critical as a toothbrush or pampers for your child? These are some of the challenges these women deal with on a daily basis in addition to all the other physical, emotional, mental and financial struggles going on simultaneously in their lives.
As a community, it’s our responsibility to help as much as we can the displaced who are often times forgotten. If it’s through volunteering at a local shelter, organizing a food or toiletry drive, writing to legislation, or by donating money, your support is highly appreciated and needed now more than ever. One of our greatest contributions to the world is our acts of kindness towards others.
Today, I woke up and I’m both grateful and elated for what lies ahead. Today, marks a new chapter among many in my book of life. My previous employer for the past twenty years offered me the chance to begin a new journey. Now, I’m a graduate student, on a mission to continue building meaningful relationships, and establish my professional brand. I’ve learned along the way that when certain opportunities present themselves, its best to embrace them with an open heart and mind. When I sat down to write this piece it felt almost surreal. To be moving on from a place and time that began when I was still so young and immature–not knowing much about the world and even less about myself or the possibilities for my life. Over the years of laughter, growth, and self-reflection what I know for sure is that I’m not the person I once was. I now stand unyielding in who I am and what I will become…
I had the pleasure of learning from and connecting with some awesome ladies from Girl Develop IT this past weekend. They are a non profit organization that empowers, teaches and connects women from all walks of life through tech. We learned HTML and CSS–two powerful languages needed to create and design beautiful websites. It felt good to sit among women from all backgrounds, but on similar journeys–learning, creating and fostering relationships for the greater good.
Not everyone’s mission is to become Web Developers or Designers, but I believe we all are determined to become better versions of ourselves. I personally took the course to learn the fundamentals of web development; while connecting with like-minded women. My goal is continue building up my confidence and skill set in order to empower other women to do the very same. Along the journey, who knows maybe one day I’ll facilitate a class and share my knowledge and experiences as an empowered woman in tech!
Don’t give up on the world just yet. There’s still people who give without expecting anything in return. Those who will give their last to see someone else content. Whether it be a meal, a few coins, or a listening ear. There’s still kindness in the world. Let’s not give up just yet! Despite what’s wrong with the world as we see it, there’s people that do good without others knowing it. That meal they could have easily thrown away, they gave it to the homeless man everyone passes by on the street. Those few dollars they planned to spend on a cup of coffee, they spent it instead on a meal to feed someone in need. Those shoes and coats they could have thrown away, they donated to those less fortunate. There’s still good people in the world who give without their name in the spotlight or awards hanging on their walls. Let’s not give up on the world just yet. There’s still so much more good for us all to do.
My story began back in 2006 when I found myself and three of my children at the doorstep of Peoples Emergency Center- a temporary housing shelter for women and their children in Philadelphia. During that point in my life, I needed a helping hand and was grateful they were there to extend the basic needs often times many of us take for granite. We only resided at PEC for six months, but during that time I was able to save money for a new home, get back on my feet, and try to regain a sense of normalcy for myself and children. Hardly anyone knew we were there. I got up every morning, took them to daycare and went off to work as usual, but during that time with urgency to move somewhere permanent we could call home. They were too small to be aware of their surroundings and until this day don’t remember we were there, but I try to instill in them the importance of gratitude and giving in charity. I always kept in the back of my mind the need to return there not as a resident, but as someone who understands that women who face homelessness deserve hope and a chance to take back their independence and self-sufficiency. Women aren’t homeless because they choose to be, but because they find themselves in situations beyond their control. Some are running from abusive relationships, some lost their jobs and the bills became too much of a burden to bare; while others are there because unfortunately homelessness has become an epidemic and vicious cycle in our society and the only way to break it is to institute resources like job training, education, social and economic counseling, and affordable housing for the under represented and often times the forgotten.
My non profit organization For Her Sake Foundation, Inc. was birthed from my experiences as a mother and woman who faced homelessness. The short term mission of For Her Sake is to gather monetary donations in order to purchase toiletries for women and children at shelters in Philadelphia. My long term mission is to actually have a shelter of my own that temporarily houses women until they are able to get back on their feet. This weekend with the generous donations from others, I was able to purchase toiletries for women and their kids at PEC. I am humbly grateful to all those who selfishly gave. What I know for sure, is that we all have a story inside us and more often than not, our stories can help change the trajectory of someone else’s life if we are willing to live authentically with purpose and passion!