Forgiving For Living, Inc. is a non-profit that has been around since 1999 with a mission to help teen girls from low to moderate-income communities overcome issues of low self-esteem caused by depression, abuse and/or abandonment. For the past eight years, we’ve held our annual “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Conference” where we bring together girls to give them tools to help them make healthy, wealthy and wise decisions that can change the trajectory of their lives. In addition to the conference, we teach life skills and offer mentoring through our Ambassador Program and workshops throughout the year. We would not be able to do this work without volunteers and support from our various sponsors. We believe if we don’t sow into the lives of our youth today, we can’t expect to reap much from them tomorrow.
Our 2019 conference was held this past Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club Watts/Willowbrook under the leadership of Calvin Lyons, CEO & President. Companies such as Comerica Bank, US Bank, CiT Bank, and Thrivent made it possible for all the girls to attend free of charge. We are also grateful for the support of Costco, the Los Angeles Sentinel, ALFC Food Bank and other community supporters for making the day a great success. Forgiving For Living, Inc., Board Members Bryan Barnes and Dr. Lauren Walton both taught classes that had a positive impact on the girls' lives. Dr. Walton spoke about understanding the signs of teenage suicide and Mr. Barnes shared how the choices you make today can have a big impact on where you land in the future. Denise Ovalle, AVP Corporate CRA CIT/OneWest Bank shared with the girls about financial literacy and understanding the power of money. Kerry Neal shared the basics of the “Urban Birds & Bees,” and Actress Christina Ford got the girls thinking and moving, teaching the importance of staying in shape both physically and mentally.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” Most of us make the decisions we make in life based on what we are exposed to or what others tell us we can do. I am a firm believer that people would do better if they knew better. We are trying to take as many negative scenarios out of the picture for the young ladies we serve. We want them to believe in themselves and know they can do anything they set their minds to do. Recently on social media, a little boy repeating a positive affirmation on his way to school went viral. His affirmation is, “I am smart, I am blessed, I can do anything.” The likelihood that he will grow up believing in himself is strong. We want to do the same thing for our girls.
Forgiving For Living’s Vision is to give young ladies hope and purpose through understanding the power and importance of forgiveness. We hope to build up their self-esteem, self-confidence and provide them with tools for a better and more productive life. All of us can play a role in the lives of young people (and all people for that matter) by sowing positive seeds into them, watering them with support and words of encouragement and pruning out the weeds of negativity whenever and wherever possible.
Remember, it is important for all of us to do our best to make healthy, wealthy and wise decisions. What we do affects more than just ourselves, it also affects those around us and future generations; positive or negative. We all make mistakes, but the question becomes do we go through them or grow through them? The choice is up to us.
Healing Without Hate: It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!