Huami Magazine Denver July/August 2024

Page 1

June/July 2024

Volume 2 Issue 1

Natural Flow of Life Acupuncture & Herbs

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God’s Promises Have A No Quit Clause

A Letter From The Editor

There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!

There is something that was spoken to me when I was a lot younger. It’s not that I am an old kind of guy; it was a while ago. Let’s leave it there. Anyhow, I was told that anything worth having would require work to obtain it. It was also shared that through the gaining process, I might encounter a few bumps and bruises, and it may even cost me some blood, sweat, and tears. All that I mentioned has been spot on or accurate in my life.

A Letter from the Editor

What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired today? What would you do?

My question is, do we really understand the definition of living a happy and fulfilled life? My interpretation of a happy life involves living a life that pleases God; it also involves love, peace, understanding my purpose, and fully grasping God’s promises.

The bible’s instructions for pleasing God is to seek Him first and acknowledge Him in all of my ways. So, accepting God as my personal Lord and Savior also means that I allow God’s love to fill my heart. When I say that I love God, it also means that I should love others, such as God loves me, and reflect His love for them. Most importantly, that should happen always.

I understand what my purpose is in life, and I accept it. To be honest, I asked for it, and it would be impossible for me to please God if I refused the assignment. I want to encourage anyone who may be thinking twice about what God has promised them. It’s OK to get tired on life’s journey; we are only human, and God has made provisions for this. It is called rest.

I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return acquire life.

The best advice ever given to me happened when someone told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also learned the difference between what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused with being arrogant.

So, when things are not happening the way we think they should, or if it may seem like all hope is lost, dig in a little more, and you may find that things will get better. What other choice do we have? God’s promises have a no quit clause, meaning His word is good, and will never fail. Even more, He doesn’t expect us to either. Keep pushing!

Make you tomorrow happen today, but most importantly make it count. Life is but a whisper and we must put ourselves in a position to hear what it is telling us.

4 4 November/December 2014 Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844 Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Writers Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Jeuron Dove Photographers Perfect Lenz Photography Shaw Photography Group Still Shots Photography Who Shotya Photography Layout Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication P.O. Box 20102 (336) 340-7844 On The Cover Photo by Shaw Photography Group
Howard Gaither Photography Todd Youngblood Photography Tamara Smith Terry L Watson Publisher Dorjae’ McClammey Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Sherry Rogers Hill Writer Monica Montgomery Writer Ashleigh Crawley Photographer Kayla Kaptures Photographer Katrena Wize Photographer General Inquiries Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC 2024 All Rights Reserved Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website (336)340-7844 General Inquiries

Dr. Chauweda Smith

She is the face of Total Life & Wellness Counseling LLC. She shares her story and offers insight to others. Learn more. Louisville, KY

Valaira Sa-Ra

She has mastered all aspects of film. theater, production, television, and more. Learn more about her story. Los Angeles, CA

Learn more about how his organization is shaping the lives of young me. YMOD Inc. Palm Beach, FL

5 JUNE/JULY 2024
CONTENTS Natural Flow of Life Acupuncture & Herbs Dr. Corey Brown 6 On The Cover Also Featured 14
Jacoby Waters
Becoming A Care Giver Terry L. Watson
24 26
Girs A.R.E./Boys C.A.N. Taja N. Cunningham
36 18
Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Noir Demi Martin Beautiful As You Are Tanisha “Tish” Frederick

Dr. Corey Brown

Natural Flow of Life Acupuncture & Herbs

Dr. Corey Brown is a distinguished Doctor of Natural Flow of Life Acupuncture and Herbs, an Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine based in Denver, Colorado. Born and raised in the vibrant city of New Orleans, Louisiana, he is the oldest of three siblings and comes from a strong cultural background that includes the rich musical heritage of Jazz and the flavors of Creole cuisine. Dr. Brown’s academic journey reflects his dedication to holistic healing and the integration of traditional and modern medical practices.

Dr. Brown began his academic career at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he studied Biology with a focus on pre-medical studies. Driven by a passion for helping others and a deep-seated interest in natural healing remedies, he sought an approach that aligned with his holistic vision of healthcare. This search led him to Colorado Chinese Medicine University, where he earned his Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. His commitment to his field culminated in the recent completion of his Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at the same institution, marking the pinnacle of his education in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Dr. Brown’s expertise is deeply rooted in the principles of Classic Chinese Medicine (CCM), and his advanced studies have encompassed seminal texts such as the “Huang Di Nei Jing” (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon) and the “Shang Han Lun” (Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders). These studies have provided him with a profound understanding of the interconnections between Chinese Medicine theory, the cosmos, and the environment, enriching his clinical practice.

“I began my acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice in June 2021. My journey into this field started years before, rooted in a lifelong passion for helping people and a deep interest in natural healing remedies. Growing up, I was fascinated by the healing effects of certain teas and herbs, and I spent countless hours researching and reading about the benefits of natural foods and teas. This passion for holistic healing was always present, but I struggled to see how it could fit within the framework of Western medicine, which typically focuses on treating symptoms rather than addressing the root causes of diseases,” he says.

Dr. Brown says his career path took a pivotal turn when a mentor, who is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, suggested he explore Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). “Initially hesitant, I began reading about the history and philosophy of Chinese medicine and its holistic approach, which resonated deeply with me. This newfound knowledge ignited a sense of purpose, and I realized that

Denver - June/July 2024 7
Watson - Photos Provided by Miss Money Shot

TCM was the approach I had always envisioned for my healing practice. Determined to pursue this path, I moved to Denver, Colorado, to enroll in a Master’s program in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Throughout my studies, I received numerous confirmations that I had chosen the right path. Each time a patient-reported improved or resolved symptoms, my excitement and passion for my work grew. Personally, I experienced significant relief from chronic health issues through acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, and dietary changes, further reinforcing my belief in the power of TCM. My journey culminated in the establishment of my practice in June 2021, where I now share my extensive knowledge of healing with my patients, focusing on treating and helping those who seek my expertise in holistic medicine.”

Beyond his professional achievements, Dr. Brown has a rich array of interests and hobbies that reflect his vibrant personality and diverse talents. Growing up in New Orleans, he was surrounded by music, with a grandmother who sang alongside local legends like Aaron Neville and Irma Thomas, and a father who performed at weddings. These early influences instilled in him a deep love for Jazz and Jazz standards. Dr. Brown practiced songs by iconic artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Lena Horne. Today, he continues to nurture his musical talents by singing several times a week on apps like Smule and StarMaker, connecting with people worldwide through the universal language of music.

In addition to his musical pursuits, Dr. Brown has dedicated 15 years to the study of Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance, acrobatics, and music. For the past eleven years, he has taught Capoeira to both adults and children, sharing the art’s rich history and dynamic movements. Capoeira has significantly shaped Dr. Brown’s character, fostering self-confidence, selfawareness, high self-esteem, a quest for wisdom, and perseverance. He sees a deep connection between the philosophies of Capoeira and Chinese medicine, enriching his understanding and practice of both disciplines.

Dr. Brown is also passionately committed to youth mentoring, driven by a lifelong desire to connect with and support young people. Recognizing a significant lack of quality mentorship for today’s youth, he has committed himself to filling this void. His goal has always been to mentor young people, helping them develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed. His mentoring efforts include teaching Capoeira classes, providing academic tutoring to ensure school success, and guiding youths through the transition into college. Through these activities, Dr. Brown has helped many young individuals develop confidence, perseverance, wisdom, and ambition. Denver - June/July 2024 8

Dr. Corey Brown’s multifaceted life as a healer, musician, martial artist, and mentor paints a picture of a compassionate and dedicated individual. His commitment to holistic healing, cultural heritage, and youth development makes him an inspiring figure who strives to make a positive impact on the world and enrich the lives of those around him.

Natural Flow of Life Acupuncture and Herbs offers a comprehensive range of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) services and products. They are designed to promote holistic healing and well-being, and include:

1. Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points along meridians to initiate a “Qi” response. Qi flows through all meridians and channels throughout our bodies, connecting with all organs. When Qi is impeded or misdirected, it can cause imbalances such as pain, weakness, and excessive energy in certain areas. Acupuncture helps redirect Qi correctly and moves stagnant Qi, restoring the natural flow and helping the body heal itself.

2. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Chinese herbs have been used for centuries to treat various acute and chronic ailments with minimal side effects. Herbal therapy complements acupuncture and other TCM modalities. Each herbal formula is tailored to the individual’s constitution and imbalance, ensuring personalized treatment. I source herbs from reputable companies adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) established by the US FDA and WHO.

3. Cupping: Cupping therapy treats acute injuries and chronic pain by creating a vacuum within cups placed on the skin, pulling fascia, muscles, and tissue apart. This technique releases adhesions, muscle tension, and pain, and helps balance yin and yang within the body, improving resistance to pathogens, blood flow, and pain reduction.

4. Gua Sha: Gua Sha involves scraping the skin with a smooth-edged instrument to produce temporary redness (“sha”), indicating stagnation of Qi and blood. This technique improves blood flow, circulation, and breaks adhesions, also eliciting an immune response by causing local inflammation and increasing the body’s defense mechanisms.


5. Moxibustion: Also known as “Moxa,” moxibustion involves burning dried Ai Ye (mugwort) close to the body to add warmth and new energy, promote circulation, and reduce swelling. It is beneficial for chronic weakness, infertility, immune system boosting, arthritis, digestive problems, gynecological issues, and turning breached babies.

6. Electrical Stimulation (E-Stim): E-Stim involves passing an electrical current through electrodes attached to acupuncture needles, providing therapeutic or anesthetic effects. It is commonly used for pain, impaired circulation, nervous disorders, connective tissue growth improvement, muscle atrophy, paralysis, and neuralgia.

7. Auricular Acupuncture: This technique reflects the whole body in the ear as a microsystem. Fine needles or ear seeds are inserted into various points on the ear, having a reflexive effect on different organs and stabilizing the body’s homeostatic functions. Auricular acupuncture is popular for treating various diseases, weight control, and withdrawal symptoms from smoking and substance abuse.

8. Tui Na Massage: Tui Na is a therapeutic or medical massage that uses rhythmic compression techniques along energy channels to harmonize Qi flow. Practitioners use fingers, hands, elbows, knees, or feet to apply pressure to specific locations, removing blockages and working deeply with the body’s positive energy.

9. TCM Nutritional Therapy: TCM nutrition principles date back over 5,000 years, focusing on balance and harmony. Foods such as Yin/ Yang, Hot/Cold, Five Elements, and Zang Fu are classified according to TCM theory and are used to promote nutrition and longevity.

In addition to these services, he offers topical herbal tinctures such as Dit Da Jow for traumatic injuries. This product marks the beginning of my upcoming herbal topical and tincture line, expanding the range of natural healing solutions available to his patients.

Dr. Browns shares his services are designed for anyone seeking a holistic approach to overall health and wellness. “I cater to individuals of all ages, including infants and children, aiming to address a wide array of ailments through the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These services alleviate Acute and Chronic Pain, Anxiety and Depression, Insomnia, Digestive Problems, Skin Rashes, Gynecological Issues, Menopausal Symptoms, Chronic illnesses in infants and children, and more. These services are ideal for anyone looking to improve their health and wellness through a natural, holistic approach that addresses both symptoms and underlying imbalances within the body. Whether you are dealing with physical pain, emotional distress, chronic conditions, or seeking to enhance your overall health, my practice provides personalized treatments tailored to your unique needs.

Dr. Brown shares that he loves helping people feel great. “Knowing that I am helping others move on with their lives with less pain, more balanced emotions, and relief from the symptoms of diseases is what makes my work so fulfilling.”

Dr. Browns says his next step is to grow his practice in several exciting ways. One of his primary goals is to increase the herbal collection in his practice, creating a complete herbal pharmacy where he can provide all of his patients’ herbal needs directly from his clinic. Additionally, he plans to introduce a topical line of products aimed at addressing various conditions such as eczema, pain management, alopecia, and other topical issues.

This passion for holistic healing was always present, but I struggled to see how it could fit within the framework of Western medicine, which typically focuses on treating symptoms rather than addressing the root causes of diseases.

Dr. Chauweda Smith Total Life Counseling & Wellness, LLC

Photos Provided by Dr. Chauweda Smith

Dr. Chauweda Smith of Louisville, KY, is a mother of two sons and two daughters, an entrepreneur, a licensed therapist of 14 years, and has worked in the social service field for 17 years. She is a trauma specialist and owner of Total Life Counseling & Wellness, LLC, a mental health agency. Dr. Smith is also a certified personal trainer, speaker, adjunct professor, and community advocate. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and exercising.

Total Life Counseling & Wellness, LLC provides community, office, and online mental health counseling. These services are available to children, adolescents, and adults from ages five and up, as well as people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Dr. Smith also provides clinical supervision to clinicians working toward their license.

After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s in Pan-African Studies, Dr. Smith started working at an orphanage. There, she quickly realized she wanted to help change the lives of the children she worked with and their families. “I wanted to be the mentor and trustworthy person to others, something that I didn’t have as a youth and as a young single mom. Growing up in the West End of Louisville, I had a lot of adversaries that I had to overcome. These struggles made me realize I wanted to help those with similar life experiences,” she says. “After working with families from all backgrounds and numerous agencies, I realized that health issues were a major part of the increase in mental health services, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. While in my doctorate program, I focused my research on holistic health and combined mental health with physical fitness and nutrition to provide true holistic health services.”

Dr. Smith says she enjoys providing multiple services to a variety of people while focusing on true holistic health. “I’ve had the ability to help change the quality of life for my client’s, both physically and mentally, by assisting them to improve their mental wellbeing. This is the most humbling aspect of my career. However, at times, I feel that I am not helping enough, and I tend to overwork myself. I don’t always set boundaries, but I must remember that I am doing enough. I must also remember to take care of myself so that I can help others. That has been one of the most challenging aspects of my career,” she says.

I wanted to be the mentor and trustworthy person to others, something that I didn’t have as a youth and as a young single mom.

Dr. Smith says her parents taught her how to be resilient and the true definition of hard work. “I watched my mother juggle multiple things effortlessly, even with children. My father had a strong business mind and was the first person I knew to be a successful entrepreneur. I gained valuable qualities from both.”

Dr. Smith shares she understands that every experience a person has comes with a lesson. Grasping that concept, she states she wouldn’t change anything about the way things have happened in her career thus far, except for learning how to ask for help while starting her business. She admits to learning that she doesn’t have to be a superwoman and that receiving help from other people is okay.

As the future unfolds, Dr. Smith plans to expand Total Life Counseling & Wellness, LLC to include both mental health offices, a fitness gym, and a mental/physical health app for online services. Her goal is to be able to help people on a national level. Additionally, she plans to continue to teach social work classes to undergraduate and graduate students. To learn more about Total Life Counseling & Wellness, LLC, please visit their website.

Denver - June/July 2024 13 h

Jacoby Waters Young Men of Distinction

In West Palm Beach, FL, the relevance of the adage “Reach One-Teach One” is on full display. In many communities across the country, the mere survival of black men has become precarious. Without a definite plan of action in place, these communities are left to find solutions that will continue the promise of a future for black men. This is where Jacoby Waters and his organization, Young Men of Distinction, come into play.

The Young Men of Distinction is a holistic mentoring program that addresses the social, emotional, and cultural needs of children ages 7-18. Members are trained and certified to become mentors, advocates, and role models for the youth within their communities. Members forge relationships that positively impact the youth through chapter-operated one-on-one and group mentoring efforts. Additionally, the program focuses on building essential skills needed to become productive, contributing citizens.

Led by Jacoby Waters as the Founder, CEO, and Executive Director, Young Men of Distinction began on May 3, 2019, with six young men. Today, in addition to the oneon-one mentoring, the program employs techniques developed using S.M.A.R.T. goals and utilizes the following mentoring relationship models: Group Mentoring, Tag Team Mentoring, and Peer to Peer Mentoring. “Our mission is to increase opportunities for adolescent boys to prosper through mentorship, motivation and guidance, helping them transition into

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Photos Provided by Jacoby Waters

young men with purpose and obtain a higher education,” Jacoby says. “Our vision is to create a mentoring culture where all male members of the community can be empowered, enabling young men to become better fathers, community leaders, husbands, students, employees, entrepreneurs, business owners, friends, and more.”

Jacoby is a native of Riviera Beach, FL. He is a father, son, brother, mentor, husband, and alumnus of Florida A&M University. He shares that his stepfather and grandfather provided him with knowledge and expertise, which aided in creating a strong foundation in his life. Jacoby also received great guidance from neighbors who helped to develop his morals and values. With a strong foundation and great guidance, Jacoby has achieved several goals and continues his journey toward his dream.

The Board of Directors for YMOD includes Santarvis Brown, Ed.D, J.D. (Leadership and Education Strategist), Lynn Cheramie (Cyber Security and IT Professional), Corrien ElmoreStratton (Executive Youth Development & Community Engagement Leader), JONATHAN GARY, SR. (Investor Business Owner & Author), and Patrick Richardson, BA, MPA (Business Development Manager).

The staff of YMOD are SONIA GILBERT (Executive Director), SOLOMON FLEMING (Junior Staff), and TYRELL WARRING (Junior Staff). Stephen Brooks serves as Web Developer & Tech Support.

What Jacoby says he loves most about what he does is mentoring young men and providing them with guidance and insight. Some of the challenges faced by YMOD include funding and staff support. Jacoby has overcome these challenges by continuing his efforts and securing funding through fundraising and other grants. Jacoby shares he is inspired by the foundation he was blessed with. Additionally, he draws inspiration from his four sons and the generation behind him, aiming to provide hope and fuel their imagination.

Jacoby advises someone who may follow in his footsteps to always stay strong and stay prayed up. To learn more about YMOD, please visit their website. Denver - June/July 2024 16
Our vision is to create a mentoring culture where all male members of the community can be empowered, enabling young men to become better fathers, community leaders, husbands, students, employees, entrepreneurs, business owners, friends, and more. 5725 Corporate Way,
Beach, FL 33407
225 NW 12th Ave, Boynton Beach, FL 33435 4701 10th Ave N, Greenacres, FL 33463

Beautiful As You Are

It has been said that you should never judge a book by its cover. In the case of Tanisha Frederick, this adage is sufficient. The Louisville, KY, resident has made it her life’s mission to serve at every opportunity given. Whether as a wife, mother, or community leader, she remains in a position to answer the call.

Tanisha is a mother of three young adults. She has also been married to her amazing husband, Idris, for 27 years. She shares people often ask what her educational achievements are. They are in disbelief when they learn she only has a high school education. More than anything, Tanisha is a go-getter. She is a certified life coach who focuses on working with teenagers and guiding them on a path of true selflove.

In 2014, she made the decision to launch the BAYA program, which stands for Beautiful As You Are, as a response to some tenuous life situations her young daughter had encountered.

Tanisha shares, “Our family had relocated several times and finally landed in New Albany, IN, outside Louisville. When she started her new school, she was bullied relentlessly and became a self-harmer. My daughter eventually tried to take her life because she didn’t see a way out. Unfortunately, we didn’t know at the time how to handle all her feelings and attempts to harm herself, so we decided to have her hospitalized for a period of time. While she was in the hospital, I felt lost and as if I had failed as a mother. One day, while sitting at my desk at work and crying my eyes out, the CEO of the company I worked for

My daughter eventually tried to take her life because she didn’t see a way out. Unfortunately, we didn’t know at the time how to handle all her feelings and attempts to harm herself, so we decided to have her hospitalized for a period of time.
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Photos Provided by Chanel Wells-Henderson

self-esteem love


walked by and asked why I was crying. I told him the story of my daughter and what was going on. He told me two things: Win the day and, stop worrying about what’s going to happen to my daughter in the future and just take it one day at a time. He also asked me what I was going to do about it. As soon as he left my desk, I grabbed some sticky notes and began writing plans for a girl’s group to help girls with issues similar to my daughter’s. I decided on “Beautiful As You Are” with the goal of serving girls who didn’t fit in or were overlooked and offering a safe space where they could simply be themselves. This is how it all began.”

The BAYA program has several parts. They teach from three volumes of curriculum that Tanisha has written, and she says each lesson is very interactive and hands-on and teaches girls the importance of loving themselves unconditionally and unapologetically. Each time a girl goes through one of BAYA’s workshops, they leave with something tangible. “They may forget what we talked about, but they will never forget the visual they created,” Tanisha says. “Our self-esteem building program is in 54 Louisville, KY, and Southern Indiana schools.” They also offer programming at a community center Tanisha created just for girls, The BAYA Center, which is located in Clarksville, IN. There, Tanisha and her team can really dig in and teach their core values: community, growth, hope, and resilience.

Additionally, they teach workshops like yoga, dance, art, and sewing. However, their foundation and primary focus is selfesteem-building workshops. Tanisha has also created several journals that accompany her program in the schools and at the BAYA Center: The Burn Journal, Wreck it Journal, and Affirmation Coloring Book and Journal. Tanisha’s footprint extends beyond her immediate community. She has spoken at conferences nationwide and taught educators and parents how to connect with teenagers and make a lasting impact. “Speaking is truly one of my favorite things to do because it allows me to get the word out about the BAYA program. It also allows me to help educators tear down the walls that many teenagers put up while dealing with adults,” Tanisha said.

Learning how to run a business from the ground up has been extremely challenging for Tanisha. She explains, “Before BAYA, I had worked in hospital insurance and collections for years. I didn’t have any experience that prepared me for what I am doing now. I had to take many business classes, attend leadership conferences, and watch and learn from many successful businesswomen. I have also purposely surrounded myself with successful business leaders who offer me advice and suggestions and have really helped me develop a strong business model. I always tell the BAYA girls, “You are who you hang around.” I want BAYA to become a sustainable organization that is here long after I’m gone, and I learned early on that the only way this is possible is to surround myself with people smarter than me who share the same passion for serving the community.” Denver - June/July 2024 20

When asked what she loves most about what she does, Tanisha shares it’s watching girls grow beyond their fears. “I enjoy seeing young ladies grow from feeling unseen or unheard to girls who stand tall and unconcerned about what others think of them. I love to see them become confident about themselves unapologetically. I also love creating new and exciting content and programming for the BAYA girls. Outcomes are everything. Our stats say that 98% of the girls surveyed share that BAYA has increased their self-esteem. This lets me know the program is doing what it was created to do.”

While having to endure the stresses of her daughter’s ordeal, Tanisha says she thanks her for allowing her to build the BAYA organization in response to her pain and struggles. “The curriculum was created from lessons I practiced with her and her friends. The feedback of my daughter and her friends has helped me develop an outstanding curriculum and program. Watching my daughter go from broken and not wanting to live to the woman she is today truly makes me proud and inspires me to keep going to help other girls just like her. All the tears and many struggles are all worth it.”

Looking ahead, Tanisha says her goal is to have a BAYA Center throughout the United States. She also hopes to have the BAYA program and curriculum offered in schools nationwide because she knows that it’s effective and the impact is real. Within her curriculum, she has written three volumes and is close to completing volume four. Her overall goal is to develop a package with seven volumes and 24 lessons in each book, each accompanied by a journal. “Schools across the country are already using our curriculum, and the feedback truly humbles me, especially knowing the impact this program is making.” Additionally, she says her personal goal is to develop a coaching business, “Self-Love Coaching with Ms. Tish”. It will be offered virtually and will allow Tanisha to reach more girls and their families. She currently has five clients, has partnered with several foster homes to provide coaching support for their girls, and is looking to expand.

To learn more about BAYA, please visit their website.



Learn More About My Experience of Being A Caregiver For My Mother

CHAPTER THREE: Somethings, Money Can’t Buy

As time began to pass, with my mother and I sharing my home, our daily routines began to take shape. “Good morning, mama,” I would greet her each day. “Good morning,” she would return. In the first few months after her having her stroke, Mom’s words were slightly delayed. As with most stroke patients, Aphasia had set in, and Mama would stutter a little. Sometimes, she couldn’t get the entire word out, but I knew what she meant. Sometimes Mama would put a lot of emphasis on “Good”, and sometimes it would be “Morning”. Because I consider myself to be sort of a comedian, I would agitate her a little when she didn’t say her words correctly. My agitation appeared to have worked because she continued to try. When she got the entire word out, she knew it, and the look on her face said it all. “I did that”. Those moments of achievement made us both happy. It was a small sign of hope that God blessed us to share, but many more would follow.

The evenings are very special to Mama and me. On most days, we may have just finished eating dinner and would watch one of our favorite shows together. It took some getting used to for me to see how Mama responded to watching Fred Sanford and Aunt Esther go at it. I had known my Mama to be quite reserved; now, she wasn’t holding back on her laughs. Mama would let them fly, and I could tell that she truly enjoyed watching television. It appeared to be therapeutic for her, and it allowed me to gather some data to share with her doctor about how attentive she was while watching.

During these TV-watching experiences, I would ask Mama some questions about her past, short and long-distance ones. My hopes were a little deflated as some of the things that mattered most to her, she couldn’t recall. Thank God, her lack of memory wouldn’t last forever.

One thing Mama has always been able to remember is the number of children she has and all of their names. She continues to be able to name us all, from the oldest to the youngest, in chronological order. She loves her children unconditionally. My Mama is the greatest person that I know.


I decided to share my experience as a full-time caregiver for my mother to consult, console, and inform other families who may be going through a similar situation. As a son, caring for my mother never feels like work; if so, it is a labor of love. Please continue to follow this message, Becoming A Caregiver, in Huami Magazine. I hope that sharing my experience will help others. From one caregiver to the next, God Bless You!


Taja N. Cunningham is not one to sit on the sidelines and just let things happen. In 2017, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native and current Gautier, MS, resident became aware that students performed well under certain conditions, such as, but not limited to, one-on-one field trips, expert advice, and real-world experiences. She also noticed limited opportunities, and students lacked the motivation and support to go beyond their communities. Taja says the decision was made to poll a select group of students and ask what they would like to see happen in their prospective neighborhoods. Several students responded and shared that there was little to do in their communities and assumed their options were limited. As a result, Taja met with the school administration and inquired about starting an after-school program. With the administration’s approval, Girls A.R.E./B.O.Y.S. Can was launched, and since 2017, it has steadily grown and gained recognition for its impact on youth development. In December 2020, the organization achieved 501(c)3 non-profit status, solidifying its commitment to the community.

Girls ARE & Boys CAN offer a diverse range of services and programs tailored to empower youth, cultivate leadership skills, and create a safe and supportive environment for growth and collaboration. These programs aim to address the unique needs of at-risk youth and inspire them to become ambitious, resilient, and noble individuals. Their comprehensive approach ensures that each participant receives the necessary tools and resources to flourish academically, socially, and personally.

Girls A.R.E. & Boys C.A.N. Ambitious Resilient Empowered Courageous Ardent Noble

One key area of focus for the program is Leadership Training Workshops. Taja says, “Our leadership training program equips youth with essential skills to become confident and effective leaders. Through workshops, interactive sessions, and mentorship, participants develop critical thinking, decision making, communication, and problem-solving abilities.” Another area is Educational Support and Tutoring. The support is designed to improve

Photos Provided by Taja

academic performance and enhance job-related skills. Tutoring, study groups, and access to educational resources help youth overcome academic challenges and reach their full potential. Additionally, there is Safe Space Creation, Community Engagement Initiatives, Empowering Speaker Events, Field Trips and Experiential Learning, Personal Development Workshops, Mentorship Programs, and College and Career Readiness, where they offer college and career readiness programs that prepare youth for postsecondary education and career opportunities. This includes assistance with college applications, resume writing, interview skills, and exposure to vocational training options.

Another area of focus is Arts and Expression programs, such as creative writing, visual arts, and performing arts workshops. These provide youth with creative outlets to express themselves and build self-expression skills. There are also Health and Wellness Initiatives in which the program promotes holistic well-being by organizing health and wellness programs that focus on physical fitness, mental health, and healthy lifestyle choices. “The combination of these services and programs fosters an inclusive and nurturing environment that empowers youth to become ambitious, resilient, empowered, courageous, and noble individuals. By participating in these initiatives, youth gain the tools and inspiration needed to transcend limitations, positively influence their communities, and embrace a brighter future full of opportunities,” says Taja.

In addition to teaching middle school full-time as a science educator, Taja serves as the Director of her organization. She has earned her B.S. in Microbiology, Master’s in Business Administration, and Master’s of Educational Leadership. Taja is also married to Douglas Cunningham, an Engineer, and is the mother of one son, Ezra.

Being able to successfully secure funds to provide services to youth and families in under-served communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast is quite an accomplishment. Amazingly, her efforts do not stop there. Taja’s interests include juvenile justice policies for at-risk youth; vulnerable, underserved populations, and community and economic development policies for impoverished areas. She spends countless hours assisting with efforts through the development of programs that will encourage positive engagement and behavioral changes, and avidly searches for opportunities to introduce and engage minority youth in both traditional and non-traditional opportunities. Her special interests include Denver - June/July 2024 28

grant writing at both state and federal levels, researching and analyzing policies that affect populations labeled “at-risk,” mentoring youth in urban and rural populations, developing STEM activities, writing curriculum, reading nonfiction, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

When asked what she loves most about what she does, Taja’s response is very clear. “I love the positive impact that Girls ARE & Boys CAN has had on its members. I understand there is a dire need to strengthen and expand resources for youth and their families.”

Taja shares that her life has been greatly impacted by her 108-year-old great-grandmother, Thelma Louise Caldwell. “She is the epitome of resilience. She is a powerful force and lights up any room that she enters. Hearing about the things that she has witnessed in her lifetime and how she overcame them encourages me to press on and seek solutions for any challenge that I face.” Taja also finds inspiration in witnessing young people challenge themselves daily and finding solutions to adversity. “Our young people have a lot to say if we simply listen.”

Looking ahead, one thing is certain: Taja will be on the frontlines serving members of her community. She also aspires to own a microschool or small incubator program for students who are labeled “at-risk.” To learn more about her program, please visit her website. h

Pictured below is Taja’s grandmother, Thelma Louise Caldwell, who is 108 years old.

MiVUE Productions

“I amjustenjoyingtherollercoaster rideofmyjourney.”

Photos Provided by Gervel Sampson

Valaria Sa-Ra finds inspiration in observing people who overcome challenges in their lives. Currently residing in Los Angeles, CA, the Bronx, NY, native of French West Indian descent, her name is spoken in various arenas, including film, modeling, acting, directing and producing. Valaria is the face and founder of MiVUE Productions, a small production company that offers a variety of services, such as producing commercials for small businesses, as well as short and feature films, documentaries, and talk shows.

MiVUE Production spawned out of frustration with unprofessional and chaotic sets, late start times, make-up artists who couldn’t get it right, and a lack of opportunities and representation. Valaria says, “I started MiVUE Production and vowed to run an organization that did the complete opposite of all the things I mentioned. Not only did I want to tell underrepresented stories, but I also wanted to run a set that was organized, on time, and pleasant to be on.” Additionally, her goal is to tell stories in a different way from the film industry formula that many are used to.”

Valaria shares, “I developed a passion and commitment to fashion and entertainment at a very early age. As an actress, model, and entrepreneur, my attraction and enthusiasm for the fashion and entertainment industry eventually grew into establishing MiVUE Productions.” Valaria made her directing debut, producing and directing the featured documentary, The Rhythm of Blue, which tells the stories of seven African American Women who battled depression and mental health such as Bipolarism. Additionally, she has directed several projects that I have been invited to direct. “As an artist and creative, I love to share my vision and creativity in a positive and inspiring life-affirming way.”

Scholastically, Valaria has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Business Management. She is a former model, and worked for companies such as PZI Jeans, Mizani, Creme of Nature, The World Natural Hair Show, Fro Fashion Week, The Bronner Bros Shows, The Black & White House, Jessica McClintock, Express, Limited, and many more. She has also appeared in Essence, Heart and Soul, and Elite Style Magazine. As an actress, Valaria performed in New York City Off-Broadway original stage plays and appeared in several commercials, web series, and short and featured films.

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“Weliveinasocietywhereeveryonewantstobe paidbigbucks.Igetit,butweallstartfromhumble beginnings.Findingindividualswhoarewillingto buildwithyouisrare.”

If she hadn’t already accomplished a great deal, Valaria has found time to pour into the lives of others as a founding member of the Black Girl Magic Creative Series. Valaria is a Board Member of The International Association of Women for the LA Chapter, a member of the Towne Street Theatre, and Film Fatales.

As with most professions, Valaria has faced her share of challenges. A major challenge she says for independent filmmakers is securing funding for projects. Short films can cost between $10,000 - $30,000; anything under a million dollars is considered a low-budget film. “Finding investors who believe in your project and vision is a task, and at times, filmmakers will fund their films in hopes their film will gain traction and obtain distribution on a streaming platform. One of the ways I have managed this is by funding my own films and finding a cast and crew willing to work on a low-budget project,” she says. Valaria has built a relationship with several people who are dependable and willing and want to work.

Observing the disconnection between her community and the film industry has been the one thing that has impacted Valaria’s career more than anything. She adds, “We live in a society where everyone wants to be paid big bucks. I get it, but we all start from humble beginnings. Finding individuals who are willing to build with you is rare. This observation has impacted the way I originally viewed this industry. I came in green and bushy-tailed but received a reality check about how the industry works behind the scenes.”

Despite the unfavorable experiences Valaria has endured, she remains optimistic about what is to come. She also credits her mother for encouraging and instilling in her defiance and mindset to accomplish anything she puts her mind to. She also finds inspiration in a late friend, Angela (Jersi) Baker, who battled Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer for over 20 years. “Angela inspired me to keep going despite all the challenges and difficulties that I might face.” Valaria adds that her husband inspires her to “Just Do It.” He says, “Don’t talk about it, put it into action.” Denver - June/July 2024 32

Her advice to others who may follow in her footsteps is to find a mentor in the industry and build a relationship with that person, study the craft of filmmaking, and take classes to learn about lighting, framing, writing, and the entire aspects of filmmaking. “Filmmaking is an art form. Anyone can pick up an iPhone and begin filming, but finding something that distinguishes you from other filmmakers will make you stand out.”

Looking ahead, Valaria has two projects that she’s working on bringing to the screen. She is producing and directing another featured documentary and another short film and is also working on getting mentored by a few Directors for television. Ultimately, her next level goal is directing a television episodic.


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Demi Noel Martin The daughter of Danny J. Martin and Jasmine Richardson
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