yanasister of the month

This month many of us will celebrate our past by seeing the movie "Hidden Figures," and YANASISTERS will sow into our future by supporting the non-profit of our YS of the month, Andrea Williams.  Read details of her story below, and consider supporting her non-profit by writing a letter to encourage a young woman and/or sending a monetary gift.  You can find more details at www.blazingbeauties.org.

Who are you?

I am a woman stitched together with prayers, goals, purpose, trial & error, passion, flaws, do overs, and good intentions. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, an aspiring wordsmith (www.beyondblazing.wordpress.com), orator, and a proud U.S Army veteran. I am a daily survivor of Lupus. I am a fighter. Finally, I am the Founder & CEO of Blazing Beauties which is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to mentoring, teaching, and empowering girls in the Fayetteville, NC area.

Tell us what inspired you to found Blazing Beauties?

We must take our girls back. Our girls are consumed with false standards of beauty. They are sexually objectified and degraded. With respect to the old African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child," if we want our society to be led by intelligent, hardworking, socially responsible adults, we must invest our best in our youth. As women, we have been where many of these young ladies are. Confused, unsure, low self esteem, and trying to get a grasp on life. Despite our failures or missteps, different people along the way saw our potential and encouraged us to be better and do better. Sometimes all it takes is for a person to show interest in you and your dreams, hold you accountable, and be a guiding light along your journey. That's what is important about mentoring. Our girls need all the support that they can get. In building them up, we also build ourselves up.

Did you always know your purpose was to help young girls?

No. But this has been my vision since 2008. It wasn't until a year and a half ago that I committed myself to seriously pursuing this purpose.

What's next on the horizon?

Blazing Beauties will host our 4th annual Pampered For Prom event. This is where we sponsor our girls to attend their senior prom and completely make them over from head to toe. Community members, far and near, have played an integral role in making this happen for our girls in the past. From dress and shoes donations to monetary donations, they contributed to several real life Cinderella stories. In July, Blazing Beauties will go to Washington, D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and other landmarks in that area.

What would you say to inspire others in their search for purpose?

Oftentimes we measure ourselves against the accomplishments and success of others. We minimize our own strides because we convince ourselves that they're not significant enough. Our insecurities and pasts scream loudly and discourage us. You may not look or speak the part. I am here to tell you that God can use anyone for His purpose. You are good enough. There is nothing in your past that disqualifies you from being happy, whole, or successful.