“We launched Flourish in November. I volunteered with Light of the Village and helped their teens with career coaching and mentorship. I have a passion for helping girls and also volunteered with Eye Heart World that helps guide girls out of sex trafficking. I saw the importance of prevention and reaching kids at a younger age to give them a place of support and love. God has led me through this and we just opened our community space in Daphne. It is for girls ages 11 to 16. We have rooms for skills training, mentorship, and a kitchen. It is a place for teen girls to become who God wants them to be. We want to help them graduate high school and pursue a career or college.
I want to give girls in poverty a safe place. Talking to the school counselors, there is an issue with drug use because it is readily available. Even prescription pills from parents. Girls are still having identity issues. There are higher rates of suicide and girls are bullied by other girls through social media. Almost every story of prostitution and drug addiction starts when they were a teen.
We also want to teach healthy relationships with boys. We are getting involved with foster programs. We want to be a resource for foster parents because girls in foster care are at a big risk for sex trafficking. Bad relationships and running away from home make them targets.
Last year I overcame an eating disorder. It started when I was 12 years old — I was 90 pounds and on Weight Watchers wanting to be skinny. I was always on a diet. I hit rock bottom. I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror and didn’t want to live like that anymore. A mentor helped me through. I had to find my own freedom before I could help others the way I was called to do. It has been a year and a half since I have been on a scale. I became a certified life coach to help women find balance in their lives.
I started making candles in June because I was bored during COVID. I have made more than 1,000 candles and the money goes to Flourish and Konbit Haiti to help girls there. I hope to add bath products. I would like the girls to learn how to make products and make money from them.
There are so many needs for girls here, but there is also so much we can do. We need community partners to teach classes, mentors and be social advocates.
In 2007 I was a sophomore in college, a woman wrote in my journal, ‘the Holy Spirit is going to lead you to the right place. I see you having a ministry for women.’ There were times I didn’t follow God’s path, but he has been so faithful and brought me back around. It was crazy to open this center when everything was shutting down, but girls still need a place, so I stuck with it.”
This is where you can order candles and bath products or get involved: https://www.flourishal.com