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DC-MD-VA ® U-CAN Global Multicultural Consultancy Group Jan./Feb. 2023 Volume 2 Issue 1

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My Dreams Are Windows To My Freedom

A Letter From The Editor

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

I am a self-proclaimed dreamer. Many of the things I possess or may be involved with, at some point, I probably dreamed about it. Being physically fit, I dreamed about losing all the weight I was carrying around while stuffing my face with food. Singing in the church choir, I dreamed about it, while practicing in my car over one of WOW Greatest Gospel productions.

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?

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?

In that same breath, my dreams have been filled with thoughts of hope and sometimes regret. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would. If I could reverse some of the experiences of my life, I would. If I had the ability to reach back into my past and open some of the doors that were shut and close some that I walked through, I would. One might ask me why, and my response is quite direct; I would if I could.

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.

Now, it’s not my intent to sound as if I do not appreciate the life God has blessed me with. My message is quite the opposite. I love my life and all that has helped to make it what it is. Still, I wish I could have avoided some unnecessary experiences. However, I am wise enough to know that everything has been necessary. It is all part of God’s plan for me.

Acknowledging and accepting where and how my life began instills a sense of reality into my heart. Dreaming of places where I wish I could be also encourages me to keep striving for that which is greater.

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.

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.

My message is simple. Life is but a whisper, and I refuse to get lost in the chaos and confusion. There is way too much for me to do, and if I never achieve all that I dream of, I will remain enthusiastic about what tomorrow promises. Tomorrow, if it comes, is provided by God. And when God blesses me with another day to live, He also blesses me with another day to dream and get to work.

Terry L. Watson

Terry L. Watson

www.huamimagazine.com

Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor

Writers Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Jeuron Dove

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4 4 HuamiMagazine.com November/December 2014 Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844
The Cover
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Terry L. Watson Writer Ellen Richardson Writer Dorjae’ McClammey Writer Still Shots Photography Photographer Santana B Photography Photographer Todd Youngblood Photographer Want To Advertise? Call 336-340-7844
In short words, I will typically act on something if I dare to dream about it. I have used the gift to dream while sinking in some of my lowest moments. I wanted more, and dreaming of something better made it almost feel like I was there. I learned that there is power in what we dream about.

Houston, TX

Also Featured

GMG Mack

The love and gift he has for music was realized a long time ago. Learn more about who he is, the face of GhosTown Music Group. New York, NY

Sonya Cooke

It doesn’t come down to how you start, it’s all about how you finish. Learn more about the founder of Girl Talk Inc. Indianapolis, IN

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The
U-Can Global Stephen Underwood
On
Cover
Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Juliana Jackson
Brillantly Spoken Kim B. Miller 36 30
In The Key of Dance LLC Nykisha Banks 18 26 22 08 12 Tasha Teaches Spanish LaTasha Moore Andre Notice
From homelessness to becoming one of the top busienss leaders in his community.
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U-CAN Global Multicultural Consultancy Group

He has obviously been called to serve.

Stephen Underwood of Washington, D.C. was born in Torrejon De’ Ardoz Madrid, Spain, to TSGT Bishop Dr. McKinley Underwood and Betty Jean Canada Underwood. By the time he was between the ages of five years of age, along with his siblings, he had lived on four major continents of the world.

Stephen received his formal education in Youngstown, OH. After his father took a pastoral job in Harlan County, KY, Stephen’s family transitioned there and he later graduated from Harlan High Independent School in 1988. He soon enlisted in the United States Navy and is a veteran of the Foreign War of the Desert Storm/Desert Shield and served in the Southwest Asian Pacific of Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Iraq, Philippines, Thailand, Hawaii, Hong Kong, China, and Australia. Once completing his military services, Stephen returned home to attend Lee College in Cleveland, TN, where he would meet his wife Misty.

Stephen later obtained his bachelor’s degree and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2014 from Stratford University. He then matriculated into his second-degree program with a Master’s in Spiritual Leadership and even acquired a third degree with a Master’s of Divinity.

Today, Stephen is the owner of U-CAN Global Multicultural Consultancy Group, L.L.C. His company provides High-Performing and High-Tech business consulting turn-key solutions for the corporate world at-large. They range from Global Human Rights Advocacy, Global Diplomacy Protocol & Etiquette, Global Business Consulting, Global Master Storytelling Designate, Global Master CQ (Cultural Quotient) Certified Advocate, Global ICQ Level-Up Mindset Certified, Global Virtual Event Planner Consultants, LHM Academia-LinkedIn Business Accelerator Certified, and Global Elite NLP Master Practitioner Consultant.

His products and services are designed for Professionals, Executives, and Business Owners who want to elevate stress, anxiety, and burnout in their daily lives. U-CAN assists its clients in finding help, hope, and healing while building inclusive corporate equity throughout organizations as well as individuals.

U-CAN Global Multicultural Consultancy Group, L.L.C was founded on January 17, 2007, after Stephen experienced a neardeath. That experience plays a role in why Stephen is committed to saving people from similar circumstances.

Stephen has done a lot. He has been inducted into the Worldwide Association of Notable Alumni for 2017 and 2018. In 2018, he was invited to speak at the BLACKCEO18 Conference in Herndon, VA, and invited to speak at the Comeback Champion Summit hosted by Che Brown as a keynote speaker. In 2018, he spoke on the continent of Africa at The Young CEOs Business Academy event hosted by Jubilant James.

Stephen says his life has been impacted by a number of people, including his mother, his father, author John Milton, Les Brown, Denise Waitley, Jim Rohn, Bob Proctor, Robert Kiyosaki, and many business friends and business coaches.

As he looks to the future, Stephen says his goal is to launch a for-profit NGO that can meet the needs of its parent company while investing in other sectors of the global economy. “We strongly desire to help assist homeless families because we know what it is like to be homeless. I would like to have something in place to build strong family structures within the globalized community. Our ultimate goal is to have a worldclass leadership development school that helps individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners address the ins and outs of business development,” he says.

To learn more about U-CAN Global Multicultural Consultancy Group, L.L.C., please visit their website.

Stephen Underwood

U-CAN Global Multicultural Consultancy Group, L.L.C. www.ucanresidual.com

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GhosTown Music Group

When it comes to music, he has got it.

New York native GMG Mack is the owner of GhosTown Music Group. His company offers services such as Original Music Production, Recording Studio Engineering, Songwriting, Sound Mixing and Mastering, Painting, and Graphic Design.

Mack, which he can be acknowledged by, was born to a musical family. His dad and uncles were musicians and played in their church, and were members of various Gospel and R&B bands. Mack is the oldest of two brothers and shares that he took great pride in education and creative arts throughout childhood. Mack wears many hats. He is a music Produce, Studio Engineer, Songwriter, Artist, Freelance Painter, Graphic Designer, and Shoe and Apparel Customizer. He is also a graduate of Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

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“I feel connected to people who appreciate my creativity and love being able to impact someone emotionally through art.”

“With my dad and uncles being musicians, I was always surrounded by music. We had a rehearsal space that was converted into a recording studio in my home,” he says. At a young age, Mack’s musical abilities became apparent. He composed and recorded his first original short song in Kindergarten for his classmates. He also began playing drums for his church choir at age nine and making beats at age 12. By 15, Mack was working in recording studios and engineering studio sessions. He founded GhosTown Music Group in 2014, designed his first pair of custom shoes in 2017, using pens and markers, and painted on his first pair in 2018.

Mack says he has an extremely strong emotional connection to music. “I love the reaction and responses from people when I create something they like. I feel connected to people who appreciate my creativity and love being able to impact someone emotionally through art.”

With GhosTown Music Group, Mack has faced some challenges. From partnerships that went sour to issues with cash flow, Mack has been able to persevere and remain dedicated to the end goal which is financial independence and generational wealth. Another challenge he has faced and is learning to take breaks, and staying disciplined.

Overall, Mack shares that he is thankful for his journey. As he looks to the future, he plans to release more music with artist and brother Troyce Dope. He also intends to engage in additional music collaborations with local and major artists. Regarding art, Mack has his eyes set on canvas and mural painting commissions, custom shoes, and clothing projects. He also looks forward to offering online custom shoes and music production courses.

To learn more about GhosTown Music Group, please visit their website.

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www.ghostownmg.com

Girl Talk Incorporated

Sonya Cooke is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is also the founder of a non-profit called Girl Talk Incorporated. Girl Talk is a lifeline for young girls in the Indianapolis area, ages ten to eighteen.

“Girl Talk Incorporated is a non-profit organization created to empower and motivate girls to be their best. We provide education and empowerment to young girls in ways that foster independence, build self-esteem, and give them the necessary tools to make good decisions,” Sonya explains.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Sonya’s inspiration for starting this organization is taken directly from her own life.

“I was a good kid. I was very athletic in school. I was on the track team, volleyball team, and cheerleading squad. I made decent grades and stayed out of trouble,” Sonya explains. “My story is that I didn’t have anyone to help answer the difficult life questions. I had to figure a lot of things out on my own. As a result, I made a lot of bad decisions.”

Sonya was the only daughter of eight children (her mother had two boys, her father had five boys), and her mother was emotionally unavailable. “My mother suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her first husband, and I believe that it made her disconnect. So me not receiving the affirmations needed to build me up left me exposed,” Sonya shares. “My upbringing was very religious, and although there are a lot of women in my family, none of them stepped in to give me the guidance I needed to navigate the firestorm of emotions and confusion that comes with being a teenager. They didn’t talk about periods, sex, or anything about your body.”

At age sixteen, Sonya gave birth to her first child. Her second child was born when she was seventeen—her third at eighteen and her fourth at twenty-one. “My first daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age two, and my second child, Justin, only lived twelve hours after birth,” Sonya shares. “And still no one snatched me up and said, ‘Let us get her some counseling or support.’ No one stepped in and said, ‘This is not okay. You are better than this! Let me help you get on the right path.’”

Sonya dropped out of high school in her junior year because her daughter needed full-time care. “I may have been a teenager, but I was still a mother. Since I was so young and my daughter needed extensive care and supervision, everyone told me to put her in a home. I said no. I was her mother and didn’t want her to be mistreated. She couldn’t speak for herself. As her mother, I was her voice and advocate.” It’s this passion that propels Girl Talk Incorporated. The organization doesn’t just give the girls a non-judgmental ear; it helps to provide them with a voice.

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“My story is that I didn’t have anyone to help answer the difficult life questions. I had to figure a lot of things out on my own. As a result, I made a lot of bad decisions.”

Sonya was twenty-two when her oldest daughter, Amanda, passed away. She was six. Again, Sonya wasn’t given the support needed to process the loss or the position found within. When she was twenty-six, Sonya was a single parent of two, struggling to make ends meet. With no high school diploma or GED, jobs that paid enough to care for her family were hard to come by.

“I didn’t have a role model per se, but I had started to envision the life I wanted. I saw myself as independent and well-put together. I wanted to show my children what was possible for them,” Sonya explains. Sonya saw herself as more than her current situation, but she didn’t know how to get past where she was. Then a door opened.

“A woman I knew from church told me the doctor’s office she worked for needed an admin. She asked me if I wanted a job. I was twenty-eight when I started. I worked that job a total of four years.”

In the twenty-two years Sonya worked in the healthcare field, she earned her GED and her undergraduate degree in business marketing. She has been licensed as a life coach and has a certification in human services.

“I just needed an opportunity. I needed someone willing to take a chance on me. That’s all any of us need, really,” Sonya explained. “Girl Talk Incorporated was birthed out of my wanting to provide for young ladies what was not provided for me. I don’t want them fumbling and stumbling through life, making mistake after mistake, because nobody was willing to have those uncomfortable conversations. As women and mothers, we have to guard our girls. The best way to do that is to inform them.” The preparation of young girls who are coming of age is something Sonya is very passionate about.

It was time to activate her passion, but Sonya needed to do a little research. “Having an organization like Girl Talk was something I always wanted to do. In 2015, I finally found myself in a position to do it,” Sonya explained. “I have nieces who were around that age of curiosity. So I sat down with them and some of their friends to have some simple conversations. We talked about school, boys, sex, and relationships. After that, I felt my idea aligned with our community’s needs.” With the support of her husband and armed with the data from her (family) focus group. Sonya launched Girl Talk Incorporated in April 2015. In July 2022, Sonya retired from her career in healthcare and began working with Girl Talk Inc. fulltime.

Girl Talk is focused on those tough but necessary conversations that inform, educate, and prepare young girls to be mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.

According to their website, “Girl Talk Inc. focuses on areas such as Health & Wellness, Confidence Building, Coping Skills, College Preparedness, and Sex Education…With these tools available to young girls, our goal is to equip them with life skills that will enable them to make good decisions and achieve their personal and professional goals.”

Now that you know Sonya’s why let’s talk about the how. Girl Talk Inc. has wellorganized mentoring programs that educate and support students ages ten to eighteen.

“The Girl Talk Inc. mentoring program is an 8-week program designed to meet the growing needs of our female youth. Through a staff of volunteers and advisors, we will hold weekly meetings to address various topics and offer strategies and tools to assist the girls in dealing with day-to-day issues. At the end of the program, the girls will participate in a graduation ceremony to celebrate their achievements with parents, caregivers, family, and friends,” Sonya explained.

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As a non-profit, Girl Talk Inc. relies heavily upon the gifts of its donors. “My husband is a huge financial supporter of Girl Talk Inc. I am so grateful to him and the other sponsors for their continued support of this vision. The great news is that we have received our first grant in 2022. Funding for our programs is essential to our effectiveness in the community.” In 2021, Girl Talk Inc. was honored with the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good in the community local television station WRTV Indianapolis.

As the organization grows, the impact of Sonya’s vision for empowering the young women of her community is being felt and acknowledged as an asset. But she’s not finished yet.

On November 19th, 2022, Girl Talk Inc. hosted Conversations for our Daughters: A Mother’s Love Unveiled.” This event was designed to empower mothers to be the light and guide in their children’s lives—especially their daughters.

“A Mothers Love Unveiled is a conversation that mothers and daughters will have regarding the experiences, traumas and triumphs that mothers have had that affect their daughter’s development, both good and bad. When we share the most intimate, private parts of our lives with our daughters, we give them a glimpse of who we really are. Being transparent about our experiences, our highs, and our lows open the door for our daughters to become more self-aware of who they are,” Sonya explains.

Sonya admits she is guilty of raising her children based on her traumas. “I knew what I had experienced, and I promised I would never allow my children to go through that,” she explained. “I had a baring stepfather, so I clashed at first when I married my husband. I had to learn that not all men were like my stepfather.”

Sonya says the future of Girl Talk Inc. is all about giving her students a holistic experience. They work with counselors and social services to get the girls what they need. Most importantly, she realizes that the girls need to be wellequipped, healed, and emotionally sound mothers ready to guide the next generation of women into their future.

“Our focus will always be to empower girls, but we understand that if we help the child then send them back to a toxic environment, it’s like putting water in a bucket with a hole in the bottom. We will have to keep starting over to combat the negative influences that can sometimes be found in the home,” Sonya said. “But by supporting the moms and encouraging them to seek help, find healthy relationships, and build supportive and trusting relationships with their daughters, we can help stop the cycle. It is always good for children to have an outside listening ear, but we want mothers to be the voice their daughters rely on most.”

The most crucial thing Sonya wants to convey to everyone reading this is, “Self-love is power. When you truly love yourself, everything around you changes for the good.”

www.girltalkincorporated.com h

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Her Love For Dance Makes The Difference

The only thing that has changed at Conyers, GA, based In the Key of Dance Studio, is they are better than before. Owner and founder Nykisha Banks continues to share her love for dance and people. Her creativity is running at full throttle, and her business and ability to connect with her village have positioned her company as one of the best in the country. In 2021, she became a member of the Rockdale County Chamber of Commerce and In The Key of Dance Studio won the Rockdale Newton Best of the Best 2022 award.

“Our goal is to be a studio based on technique and not recognized as a recreational program,” Nykishs says. Their motto is ‘Progress over Perfection’” Her students are constantly progressing, but she never wants them to feel like it has to be perfect.

Hailing from New Orleans, LA, Nykisha Banks has enlightened others with dance since the age of three. Now, with twenty years of experience in dance, it has become clear that answering her calling in life was the correct thing to do. She continues to push not only her students but herself as well. “I am doing everything I can, inside and outside the studio, to grow it and take it to unseen levels,” she says.

Growing a business can be tiresome and exhausting, and that is why Nykisha is also focusing more time on self-care. “I am pushing myself to see friends more and talk with them more often. I think that’s healthy, and if I’m healthy, then the studio can stay healthy,” she says.

Nykisha, who is also a published author, has enjoyed success in publishing also. Her latest production, “A Dancer’s Leap Into Accountability” has done very well. Even more, her nonprofit organization, In the Key of Dance Performing Arts Inc. continues to benefit from her book sales.

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Serving others is very important to Nykisha, and she has always made it a priority to give back to her community. In December of last year, In The Key of Dance Studio presented a Christmas production, and the proceeds were donated to an organization that helps kids with disabilities. Every kid that participated in the show gave another kid with some disability a Christmas gift. Nykisha continues to show that love begins with giving.

As the new year settles in, the demand for In The Key of Dance Studio is increasing. Nykisha has seen a rise in requests for them to perform, with the most recent being at the We3 Women’s Conference in Conyers. They have also performed at conferences, assisted living homes, and more.

Registration at In The Key of Dance Studio is held twice a year. Additionally, Nykisha conducts an annual summer camp, and she plans to convert it into a boot camp.

Her heart genuinely leans toward serving and Nykisha continues to give kids a comforting and positive environment to excel in. “I want them to feel like they have a voice in my studio because they do. Here, they can be kids, learn to dance, and be heard,” she says.

Presently, Nykisha is hard at work addressing the ongoing presence of Covid and new public health concerns in RSV. On a good note, she is able to manage a good challenge, which is high enrollment. These new demands could possible result with Nykisha hiring a second instructor.

Despite these new challenges, Nykisha’s inspiration has not changed. Her focus is to help her students become the best they can be. Looking ahead, In the Key of Dance plans to move into a much larger studio. Nykisha also wants to focus on structure and technique.

In closing, Nykisha encourages others who may aspire to follow a path similar to the one she has is to continue to educate themselves. “Stick to your guns, do not waiver, and stay consistent. If you’re not stern about your values, no one will respect or trust you, because inconsistency is not order.” To find out more about Nykisha Banks and her book, please visit her website.

www.inthekeyofdance.com h

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Notice Andre LLC

It all comes down to how badly someone want to succeed.

Andre Notice of Houston, TX, describes himself as a purpose-driven, hungry and inspirational businessman. He is also a friend, son, uncle and man who loves God. While making moves in the Houston area, Andre says his primary focus is to leave a stamp on the earth and leave a legacy.

Andre is the owner of Notice Andre LLC. Under that brand, Andre manages several entities, including Realtor, Coach, Investor, Purpose Coach, Author, and Speaker.

Andre says he first began with real estate in 2004. Now entering his 18th year as a licensed, top-producing realtor, he is setting his sights on helping others achieve their dreams. The road has sometimes been challenging for Andre. He has managed a few trials and storms along the way but has yet to lose sight of his purpose. He shares, “When I first began, I was met with failure and opposition. I have experienced homelessness along my journey, and I have even lived with friends and family while finding my way.” He remained determined, and his persistence eventually paid off. He began hosting home-buying seminars and engaged in speaking engagements. Soon the word quickly spread about the new face in real estate in his community.

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“When I first began, I was met with failure and opposition. I have experienced homelessness along my journey, and I have even lived with friends and family while finding my way.”

Through his coaching programs, Andre strives to show others how to spend the next phase of their lives in a manner that helps them to reach their fullest potential. “I show others how to feel alive,” he shares.

Andre’s commitment to excellence has been acknowledged by his peers, colleagues, and community members. “There was a period when I looked tirelessly for opportunities. With grace, things are working more in my favor, and I am experiencing an overflow.,” he says. Andre’s love for his community hasn’t changed either, as he still leads with passion and takes advantage of the opportunities he has to serve.

“I am truly living when I am growing, going and giving. This means when I am growing myself, giving my time, energy and experience, and going somewhere meaning and fulfilling a purpose. Most importantly, I understand that everything I do isn’t about me.”

The only thing Andre shares that he would have changed about how things have happened for him is to purchase a home sooner. Andre’s advice is clear for those who may follow in his footsteps or may experience some of the same challenges that he has.

DON’T GIVE UP! You’re not a failure when you fail. You’re a failure when you give up. These hard times are just a test. Pass the test and learn from it and remember to share what you’ve learned with others.”

In the future, Andrea says he plans to retire his mother soon. He also has some plans in store to expand all aspects of his business and obtain properties all around the world. By the looks and sounds of it, Andre is sure to accomplish everything he sets his eyes on.

To learn more about Andre Notice, please visit his website.

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www.noticeandre.com

Tasha Teaches Spanish

For Arkansas native LaTasha Moore, those words are a foundation on which she stands. She is a wife, mother, striving entrepreneur, and countrywoman at heart, hailing from the small southwestern town of Falcon.

LaTasha is a woman full of wisdom and credits being born to elderly parents giving her the advantage of seeing life differently at an early age. She believes that titles and accolades don’t mean anything if one’s character is not exemplary. She is also someone who has accomplished a great deal in life. Some things include closing in obtaining her Master of Arts in Spanish degree from the University of Central Arkansas. That feat complements her Masters in Public Health she acquired from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Arkansas State University. LaTasha has also lived and worked in Spain as an assistant English teacher through the North American Language and Culture Assistant program.

Currently, LaTasha is the face and founder of Tasha Teaches Spanish. Her company’s focus is to unite communities through language. “We know that learning the Spanish language shouldn’t be limited to school and college classrooms. People need Spanish education in a variety of settings for a variety of reasons, and we exist to meet that need,” she says.

LaTasha shares her company began on a God-fixed plan. “In 2018, I had just been laid off after only one year of teaching Spanish at an area charter school. Pregnant with my first child, I needed a source of income even though my thenpartner (now husband) had offered to handle the bulk of the finances. One day I received the divine thought to make a post on my personal Facebook page stating that I would teach and tutor Spanish lessons. By the end of the day, my post had over 100 likes and 40 shares. This made me realize there was a market and a need for my talents.”

Four years later, LaTasha’s business is running better than ever. She’s contracted six teachers, obtained an office space, and carries out various services and programs to serve her students and community. Some of her achievements since opening the doors of LaTasha Teaches Spanish are being the Winner of the 2020 BIG Pitch competition, Winner of the 2020 Entrepreneurs Unlimited pitch competition, Winner of the 2020 Little Rock Regional Emerging Minority Business of the Year Award, 2022 Little Rock Regional Minority Business of the Year finalist, and acceptance into the 3rd Cohort of the WEM Hub program sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. She is also the 2022 recipient of the Small Business Growth Fund grant.

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“We know that learning the Spanish language shouldn’t be limited to school and college classrooms. People need Spanish education in a variety of settings for a variety of reasons, and we exist to meet that need.”

Besides helping others become the best version of themselves, LaTasha loves her life’s calling. “I thoroughly enjoy helping people remove self-imposed barriers and fears when learning Spanish. I enjoy helping them realize that they don’t have to be worried about perfection when beginning their language-learning journey. I encourage my students to be serious about learning, study often, and be committed to reaching a high level of fluency. I am happy when they can connect with Spanish speakers in their communities, churches, at local festivals, etc.,” she says.

LaTasha says s he is inspired by the possibility of a more lingually diverse state. “The Pew Research Center puts Arkansas in the bottom five states for Spanish education. My brand, Tasha Teaches Spanish, exists to change that,” she shares. “When we think of new programs and services to offer, we keep in mind that we want to contribute to improving the Spanish language learning all over the state, not only in our area. This year we will begin to host our annual Spanish camp in different regions, and our long-term goal is to bring a Spanish language immersion school to Arkansas.”

Like many entrepreneurs, there was a time in business when LaTasha only made money through it. She shares that she did not work another job and had to rely on others for her financial wellbeing. “Humans are shaky. They are committed today and gone tomorrow. The high and low seasons of business often resulted in me being in financial binds,” she says. That was challenging for her, but she persevered.

While the journey has been unique and even challenging at times, LaTasha says there aren’t many things she would change about the way things have happened. “I would change our initial hiring practices and staff training. I was the only teacher from 2018-2020, and in 2021 we began contracting teachers to work for us. However, my hiring process was not thorough, and we ended up acquiring a few teachers that were not good fits for the role. Additionally, I failed to see the importance of frequent staff training throughout the year, and I wish I had started that sooner as well,” she says.

The future is looking bright and promising for Tasha Teaches Spanish. This year, there are plans to expand their Spanish summer camp to different regions in Arkansas. They also host community events such as trivia and movie nights, and in December 2023, they will carry out a Spanish Christmas children’s choir. Their long-term goal is to open a Spanish immersion school.

Please visit their website to learn more about Tasha Teaches Spanish.

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LaTasha Moore Tasha Teaches Spanish 870-949-9566 www.tashateachesspanish.com h

Brillantly Spoken

Speaking Life through Spoken Word

As children, we have all been asked that daunting question… “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If you had asked Kim, she might have said many things, but a Spoken Word Poet wasn’t it. Today she’s a published author, teacher, and mentor of poets young and not so young. Kim B. Miller is an award-winning spoken word poet and Prince Williams County’s first black poet laureate for 2020-2022. Kim B. Miller is a wife and mother of four who found her voice in poetry. Now, she’s inspiring others to do the same.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Roosevelt, New York, Kim’s childhood did not indicate who she would become.

“We lived in the projects of Bed-Sty, Brooklyn, New York. I was so young at the time that I don’t have many memories from then,” Kim shares. “I do remember that there was a chain-link fence in front of our building, and my parents constantly warned my sister, brother, and me not to jump over the fence. I was usually the hard-headed one, but my sister jumped the fence. She landed on her face, busted her mouth open, and knocked some teeth out. I remember having to run upstairs to get my mother. There was so much blood,” Kim recalls.

It’s usually rare and exciting or traumatic events that small children remember. In Kim’s case, it was the sight of her sister sprawled, bleeding and missing teeth, and the loss of her brother. “The other memory I have of that time was when my brother died,” Kim explains. “I was five years old, and I remember the long walk down the hallway towards the door where my mother stood screaming. I had never heard her scream like that before,” Kim shared. “I kept saying it’s okay, mommy. I didn’t know what she was screaming about, but I wanted her to feel better. Soon after that, we moved to Long Island.”

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With Kim’s artistic prowess, you would assume that her gift and love for poetry were cultivated at a young age. That couldn’t be further from the truth. “My parents were amazing people, but they weren’t artists. My father was a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Airforce, and my mother is a retired LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse),” Kim explained. “They were supportive, but I was never interested in being a poet. In fact, I didn’t read poetry before starting to write it.”

Growing up, Kim loved math, but not English. Spelling was her Achilles heel. “I was a wiz with math, but I was horrible at spelling as a kid. So, making a career as a poet, achieving Poet Laureate? No, not possible. It was the furthest thing from my mind,” Kim laughed.

After high school, Kim received a B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She majored in business and minored in retail management. Again, writing poetry was nowhere on her radar. Then divine inspiration hit. “I believe my gift and its timing came from Jesus, but I didn’t understand it then. I am a Christian, and I believe God is a poet,” Kim confesses. So, after hearing from God, she started writing. “I didn’t go to school for it. I didn’t research poetry or listen to poets like Nikki Giovanni or Maya Angelou. The only thing I recognized and appreciated as poetry were bible verses. So when God spoke, I started writing.”

The first time Kim shared her poetry, she decided to go big or go home. Kim took her faith in her new God-given talent to Harlem. “I went to a bookstore called Hueman Bookstore in Harlem. II felt like it was going to the Apollo for poetry at the time. Lots of people would have said, don’t do this! But this popped into my head, so I went for it,” Kim explained. “This wasn’t where you go up and read your poem and sit down. No, you received constructive feedback from the host. This isn’t the norm, but I thought it would be interesting.”

Having never experienced this kind of performance art, Kim was intrigued with the intimacy, and the connection the artist had with their audience. “Because it was a bookstore, and other things were going on, there was a lady behind me, and she talked to me the entire time I was up there,” she explained with a laugh. “She kept saying things like, ‘You betta tell ‘em, sis. You betta break that down.’ She actually made me laugh while at the same time helping me see that the things I was saying affected her. I connected with my audience, or at least that one person. That was encouraging to me.”

Fueled by the positive critiques she received from the host and the prodding of the audience, Kim fell in love with the Spoken Word artform.

A New Yorker at heart, Kim moved to Virginia in 1997 to give her family a fresh start. “My best friend moved down here first. She and I are virtually inseparable, so she started trying to convince me to move. At first, it was a hard no. She tried to entice me with the cost of living being so much lower here, but it could have been free at the time. I wasn’t moving!” Kim laughs, remembering how emphatic she was about not moving. After one visit, Kim was sold.

Continuing to explore the world of poetry as a spoken word artist, Kim did something else she thought she never would. She authored her first book. “In 2007, I wrote my first book called, ‘How to Love Your Kids, More Than You Hate That Man.’” As a divorcee with children, Kim encountered a lot of hurt and bitter women who were allowing their anger toward their ex’s to keep the fathers from their children.

“I would hear, he’s never gonna see these kids again, and bump him; they don’t need him anyway. I was like, hey, I get it. I didn’t want to see my exhusband at the time, but he still had kids, and they loved and had a relationship with their father. I wanted to let them know that their children aren’t pawns in their game of punishment,” she says.

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As an outspoken advocate for parental rights, Kim works to help families understand their new normal. “I tell people, it’s not just about you. It feels that way because you are the one that was hurt, cheated on, or whatever the case may be. But when it’s all said and done, you must put the children first,” Kim shared. Including ‘How to Love Your Kids, More Than You Hate That Man,’ Kim has written five books. Three are poetry and one limited edition journal. All of which can be found on her website.

After moving to Virginia, Kim pursued her renewed passion for poetry. She started to study poetry in different genres. Spoken word poetry was a natural fit. “I enjoy the engagement and authenticity of spoken word poetry,” Kim explains. As a spoken word artist, Kim always sought opportunities to practice and hone her craft. She started studying poetry and its different genres when she found the Spirits & Lyric Poetry Slam.

“I’d never done a poetry slam before, but I saw it, and I was like, okay, let me try that. What can I say? I had this feeling I should go for it. To my surprise, I hit the trifecta. They listened, they got it, they liked it,” Kim explained. There were preliminary levels Kim had to win to earn a place in the poetry slam. As she progressed through each level, she had to pinch herself.

“It finally came down to just one other woman and me, and I didn’t expect them to call my name. So, when they did, I didn’t react. It took a minute for it to sink in. I didn’t win the actual slam because the poets I was up against were serious and seasoned, but sharing the stage with those amazing artists was worth every moment.”

Kim has won several awards and garnered accolades and recognition. She is a speaker and facilitator and is well known for her haiku. She is often called on to mentor young students in the local school system. But the accomplishment she cherishes most is becoming Prince Williams County’s first Black Poet Laureate.

“When I joined the Prince William County’s Arts Council, I learned the county had a poet laureate. I later decided to submit my work in 2018, but I was not selected,” Kim sighs. “I will be honest and say I was beyond disappointed. I was plain salty. I decided I wouldn’t try it again.” Looking at the previous winners, Kim learned there hadn’t been a black winner. “I concluded that maybe they weren’t ready for a poet laureate who looked like me. Although the submission was blind, and the judges are not given any information about the poet because I write from my perspective as a black female, I wonder if my perspective was evident,” Kim explains.

For the first time, Kim decided she wouldn’t pursue the challenge. Then she heard that still, small voice that started her on this journey. The voice led her to the bookstore in Harlem and the poetry slam stage in Virginia. “With a made-up mind, I almost didn’t enter in 2020. I figured obedience had gotten me this far, so I wasn’t going to stop following God now. But at the last minute, I heard Jesus says, ‘Go ahead and do it.’ I entered and won,” she said.

Kim never believed this path was possible because she struggled with English and writing as a kid. She says to students, “Don’t let your current situation determine your future. I was a kid who couldn’t spell, and now I perform in front of schools and colleges. If I had allowed my limitations to stop me from becoming who I am today, I would be lost. Don’t let what you see now stop you from dreaming and pushing to make those dreams a reality.”

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I didn’t go to school for it. I didn’t research poetry or listen to poets like Nikki Giovanni or Maya Angelou. The only thing I recognized and appreciated as poetry were bible verses. So when God spoke, I started writing.”
www.kimbmiller.com “
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