Huami Magazine Greenville/Spartanburg May/june 2024

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2024 Vol. 5 Issue 6 A New Testimony Organization Natorsha Hammonds
May/June Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 2

It Will Only Get Better From Here

A Letter From The Editor

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

A Letter from the Editor

I recall a message I heard many years ago. I was at church, and the pastor shared with everyone present about the roles and abilities of a visionary. As I listened inquisitively, I learned that a good visionary is someone who can convey their visions and ideas to others. A visionary must also possess sound leadership skills, as these two attributes go hand in hand; what a visionary sees can only come to fruition by being comprehended by those under their direction.

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?

Like many other aspiring entrepreneurs, my journey began with a vision. Because I am unable to see what the end will be, each step of the journey is dependent upon my ability to see what is next. However, this journey began with a conversation with God, and every move that I make is done by faith, and moving by faith doesn’t always allow me to see what is next. Instead, I must align my vision with the reasons I even started and constantly remind myself that God has assigned this journey.

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.

There will always be ups and downs in life, regardless of what path we choose to take. God didn’t promise that our journeys would be easy, but He did give us an option to include Him. By including God, we have access to the greatest mentor and counselor, and even more, He is pleased when He is involved. Where do I turn now? What should I do next? Should I build, invest, or fall back? How can I accomplish all of that? God has the answer to all of our questions.

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.

As our assignments continue, we must continue to focus on God. Focusing on Him will eliminate the distractions that hinder and slow our progress. As we continue, we must read His word and pray without ceasing. While praying, we must not only ask God for what we need, but we must also speak with confidence and expectation.

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.

Remember, God has chosen us for a specific reason and purpose. What we do does not only impact us; Our calling is part of a strategic plan that God has devised for something greater. Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 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 Mykel Media Company, LLC (336) 340-7844 On The Cover
Photo by 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 Todd Youngblood Photographer Katrena Wize Photographer Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC 2024 All Rights Reserved Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website (336)340-7844 General

Erin Butler

Along with her college friends and co-founders, she has created a luxurious hair brand. Learn more about who she is and her hair journey.

St. Louis, MO

Latorra Garland

With the loss of her son due to cancer, she has started an organization dedicated to serving other

Dallas, TX

For those who are caring for loved ones, it can be a daunting task. Learn more about someone journey. Browns Summit, NC

Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 5 A New Testimony Natorsha Hammonds MAY/JUNE 2024 GREENVILLE/SPARTANBURG CONTENTS 6 On The Cover The Boston Dynasty Mike
A Love For Photography Dr. Tiffany Fuller & Jayden 12 36 Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Houston Gilmer 38 Land & Real Estate Investment Deanna Smith 18 30 24
families dealing
with childhood
10 A
Caregivers Story
Also Featured

A New Testimony Organization Natorsha Hammonds

Her life is a living testimony.

Natorsha Hammonds, also known as Danielle by many, enjoys being a mother. She has six children, with one being deceased, and is also the founder of a non-profit organization, A New Testimony, which focuses on building teens by offering mentorship and love and pushing them to be great. “We are an organization that believes in second chances for teens,” she says.

Dealing with the challenges of today requires problem-solvers who bring different perspectives and are willing to take risks. A New Testimony Organization LLC emerged out of a pursuit to inspire and support the community and a desire for actions to speak louder than words. Some programs and services offered by A New Testimony are Adult Programs, Majorette Dance Team, Cheerleading, Praise Dance, Mime Dance, Budgeting Classes, Job Placement and Training, Housing, Rehabilitation, and Speaking.

A former high school graduate, Natorsha now attends college and is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She shares that in 2017, God gave her a vision to launch her organization soon after her daughter was killed by her dad. “The vision was clear, and so was my calling. It was to help the youth and keep them on the right track,” she says. “My passion is dancing, mentoring, and helping kids grow into wonderful humans, and seeing the growth that takes place in them is what I love most about what I do.”

Natorsha shares a bible message that she lives by daily. It is Psalm 103. “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” (Psalm 103:2-4). She adds a note to her younger self that says, “I use that verse every day to get through my past, my present, and my future. I know that people aren’t perfect, and that’s why I fall short all the time. I always feel like if I had just found my faith and walked in my journey with God when I was young instead of trying to live up to my parents, expectations and living in the streets, the process would’ve been easier as far

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Photos Provided by Natorsha Hammonds

I know that people aren’t perfect, and that’s why I fall short all the time. I always feel like if I had just found my faith and walked in my journey with God when I was young instead of trying to live up to my parents, expectations and living in the streets, the process would’ve been easier as far as healing. Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 8

as healing. I’m so sorry and I hope that when you read this, you will forgive me and put in your heart to push past our circumstances. I love you, younger self. It got worse, of course. As I got older, my mom beat me, not believing me , and becoming jealous of me. Never congratulating me. Needless to say, I still don’t have a mother figure. Part of my older self still tries to find out where I messed up, how I messed up, and why I messed up. I taught myself how to love, and sometimes I still fail at it. I’m not gone lie; this world is lonely, and being the black sheep is very uncomfortable. If I could go back, I would do everything differently. Writing this is very hard because I never knew how bad my unforgiveness was. As of today I will go deep in my prayers and take this time to transition into the woman that God wants me to be and still grow from that little girl.”

Looking ahead, in addition to helping other individuals who may be affected by domestic violence, Natorsha shares she plans to open a community center and help youth learn their passion. For more about her organization, please visit their website.



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


TW0: Think Fast and Learn As You Go!

As a single man, a single, mature, grown man who had enjoyed living alone, I now found myself sharing my home with my mother. I know she never imagined it would come to this, as I had asked her on many occasions prior to her suffering an Ischemic Stroke to move in with me, but she always refused. That is just who she is, always holding on to her independence.

With the help of my brother, we began to care for Mom. All of her medications, we had to learn fast how to administer them. This included insulin injections. We also had to learn how to prepare her meals and wash her clothes. All of the things that an independent person does for themselves on a daily basis, my mother now needed assistance, and her children would be the ones to give it to her.

Seeing my mother in a disabled nature was truly heartbreaking. My mother is highly intelligent, and all of her children and friends were blessed to benefit from the therapeutic conversations with her. My mother was a great talker and an even better listener. Now, due to the savageness of the stroke, she was almost speechless and struggled to get words out. The inability to communicate effectively frustrated her, so much so that she would often burst into tears when she couldn’t express what she wanted to. Yes, it frustrated me also to see her in this condition, but I was determined to be a voicebox for her. I am her son, and having thousands of conversations with my mother would pay huge dividends. I had learned to know what my mother’s facial expressions meant, and I felt as if I understood how she thought. More than anything, I had the patience to work with her, and I was there for it.

As my mother now resided in my home, this meant that my other siblings, her friends, and other family members would have to come there to visit Mom. There was no shortage of visitors either, and Mom, in her sophisticated ways, would only allow visitors when she felt suitable and comfortable enough for them. If her hair wasn’t done, there were no visitors. If she wasn’t dressed well, no visitors. And getting dressed meant that someone, such as me, my brother, or another caregiver, would have to dress. We had to think fast and learn as we went along because my mother’s care and well-being hung in the balance.

On visitation days, Mom always seemed very excited, especially when she knew and approved of who was coming. It’s not that she had a problem with anyone; I learned that she had developed a level of isolation, and to be quite honest, she didn’t really care to talk to a lot of people, only a small and select few, many of whom she had been in contact with in the months and days before the stroke. What amazed me more than anything was how her friends would respond to seeing my mother’s new level of dependency. Before, she was always doing for others: cooking, cleaning, giving, talking, and listening. That was who she was. Now, she sat silently, with a modest stare, a little confused, a little embarrassed maybe, scared, but remarkably, still in control of what she wanted from others. Though she was slowed a little, and her new deficits confined her to the recliner or wheelchair, she continued to dawn a look of sassiness on her face. I knew my mother was OK, and I was determined to do all that I could to help her adjust. h

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!


The Boston Dynasty Invades Virginia

What is the most up-and-coming city in Virginia that’s a stone’s throw away from North Carolina? You are correct if you said the City of Danville, VA. Founded in 1793, Danville is perhaps best known for its role in the Civil War, when it was an important railroad stop for the Confederacy and became the last Confederate capital after Richmond fell to the North. Today, the City of Danville includes all cultures, bolstering a sense of community and belonging.

The residents of Danville are inclusive and neighborly, optimistic and forward-thinking, and enthusiastic and supportive. Even more, they are genuine and down-to-earth people who believe the City of Danville is the perfect place to raise their families. Maintaining its small-town feel, Danville is steadily progressing with futuristic plans to ensure its economic growth and has all the amenities of any major city. Companies such as Tyson Foods, Morgan Olson, Goodyear Tire Rubber Company, Buitoni Foods, formerly Nestle, and Caesars Casino see the potential of this rising community.

One person who believes in Danville is Mike Boston, Sr. of the infamous Boston’s House of Jazz in Greensboro, NC. He believes the City of Danville is the best place to establish his new restaurant, Boston’s Bourbon Street Bistro and Bar, located at 680 Lynn Street in Danville, VA.

Mr. Boston said, “Boston’s new restaurant will open in late 2024. It has a nice New Orleans feel. I believe it will pair well with all of the new things that are happening in the River District. We came in at the right time because the city is undergoing a redevelopment project and is courting new businesses to move into that area. Traditionally, I understand that that particular area has had a high crime rate in the past, but they have done a good job cleaning it up. The restaurant is located in a remodeled warehouse. We have about 7,000 square feet to work with, which is great. The square footage allows us to design and decorate the restaurant with that New Orleans French Quarter type of feel. The menu has a Cajun influence, too, with peas and rice, jambalaya, shrimp and grits, gumbo, oysters, Po’boys sandwiches, and other things. The restaurant will be open from Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, and we’ll also have some late evening hours from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. to accommodate the casino clientele. The late nights will include live entertainment and feature some favorite major artists. I also plan to have a jazz brunch every Saturday and a gospel brunch every Sunday. The cool thing about the gospel brunch is that we will feature one of the local pastors, along with his first lady and praise team, to sing during the brunch and feed them. My wife and I support church ministries because they do great jobs supporting the community. My son, Tirant, and I have been attending Bible Way regularly, so we know firsthand how vital the Christian community is to Danville. The one thing that people may not know about me is that I am a Christian. I’m not without sin, but I have a strong relationship with the Holy Ghost. I bet many people will be surprised to read that about me. I love the Lord. Always have and always will.” The Bible says in Matthew 7:1-5, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”

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Photos Provided by Alphonso Abbott

The Boston dynasty understands that keeping up with futuristic growth is important for any dynasty’s success. With that idea in mind, Mr. Boston has been asked to write his life story of success. The title of his book is From Sunset to Sunrise. The title comes from him growing up in the Sunset Community in Reidsville, NC. He traveled to Africa and immersed himself in his thoughts while fully reflecting on his humble beginnings and his rise in acquiring generational wealth for his children. Just a hint of what’s to come in his book is the recent discovery of a daughter, Sharmeen Dalton-Robles, who he never knew existed.

Mr. Boston shares, “I’m excited about this book because it will show who I am as a man. I have my faults, but I’ve always lived up to them. My book will discuss my life and how I became the man I am today. It’s also going to highlight a daughter I never knew I had. Can you believe it? I have a 49-year-old daughter that I could never love on, protect, and spoil,” he shares.

Mr. Boston says it all happened because his son, Mike Jr., enjoys history. He has traced both sides of Mr. Boston’s mother and father’s family back to the slave ships, and he’s even trying to go back further than that. “A week after North Carolina A&T State University’s homecoming (GHOE), my son calls me and says, ‘Dad, I found a woman on who has a 94% chance of being my sister. Do you want to meet her?’ Of course, I was taken aback by the news, so I told him to check it out. So, I talked with the young lady and found out who her mother was. I met her while traveling with a band; you can take it from there. So, Michael Jr. orchestrates a DNA test. She found the sister facility in her town in DC, so we scheduled the DNA test on the same day. When the results came in, in the words of Maury Povich, ‘It has been determined that - - you are the father!’ I am her father, and she is my firstborn daughter. I was blown away. So, we met, and she looks just like me, it’s unbelievable. Our first meeting was organic, and I’m glad she didn’t hold any animosity against me because she knew I was unaware of her existence,” Mr. Boston explains. Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 14

To think that she’s been looking for him all of her life breaks his heart, Mr. Boston shares. What’s ironic about this whole thing is that she graduated from NC A&T State University, actually ventured many of his establishments, and came to Greensboro every homecoming. “We were around one another but never met, so meeting now is a miracle. I had a coming-out party to introduce her as my daughter.” She’s a part of the Boston dynasty now.” Mr. Boston shares that meeting his firstborn doesn’t diminish any love from his other children. They have all connected with one another, and it’s like she’s always been there.

You may wonder what other surprises Mr. Boston has for the world. He has several ventures already in the works. These ventures are sure to strengthen his desire for a generational legacy. He shares, “I’m a risk taker, and that’s who I am, and that’s who I will always be. Taking risks has gotten me to where I am today. I need to provide for my family, so taking risks is necessary. I have a legacy that my grandchildren and, hopefully, my great-grandchildren can build from. My sons, Mike Jr., Clarence, and Tiant, are busy in Charlotte and Atlanta with HippinHops. They also own two funeral homes in the Atlanta area. Triant has been my legs in Danville, helping to open Boston’s Bourbon Street Bistro and Bar, and Aisha has her hands busy with expanding Father of the Bride. I must include Sharmeen in the dynasty because she’s my child, too. I’m 70 years old and getting older, so I’m passing on many things I’ve been doing to my children,” he says.

Mike Boston says the Boston Dynasty is not just about his family; it’s also about letting the world know that African Americans know how to do business. “We’re still one of the very few freestanding breweries in the world. Another thing I like about this opportunity in the City of Danville is that I can open an additional restaurant, except this one will serve soul food. Expanding in Danville is phenomenal because everybody’s trying to get there. The potential for opportunity and growth are endless.”

In conclusion, Mr. Boston wants to share an important nugget that all successful business owners must learn. “You can’t be afraid to take risks.” Mr. Boston also believes that applauding the success of others is also a requirement. “When I was coming up, the older guys, the heavy hitters from back in the day, for whatever reason, took an interest in me. One of them told me never to be jealous of anyone else’s success and to not beat others down, and I’ve always remembered that advice and lived by it.”

Private and Celebrity Chef Irving Williams, is the menu consultant for Boston’s Bourbon Street Bar & Bistro

Solutions For Property & Land Investment

Whether you are buying or selling, Deanna has a home for you!

Within the last two decades, the rise of real estate investment, specifically home flipping, made its way throughout the country. Home flipping, as defined by the website www., is a real estate investment strategy where an investor purchases a property to sell it for a profit rather than use it. Investors who flip properties concentrate on buying and reselling one or a group of properties. Many investors attempt to generate a steady flow of income by engaging in frequent flips. House Flipping reached its peak in the late to early 2020’s, but in 2023, this trend began to experience a decline.

According to data taken from Attom Data, a leading curator of land, property, and real estate data, 308,922 single-family homes and condos in the United States were flipped in 2023. That was down 29.3 percent from 436,807 in 2022 – the largest annual drop since 2008. The report further reveals that as the number of homes flipped by investors declined, so did flips as a portion of all home sales, from 8.6 percent in 2022 to 8.1 percent last year.

As a response to the downturn in House Flipping, Real Estate Expert Deanna Smith has continued to diversify her portfolio to offer both buyers and sellers more opportunities to grow their money.

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Deanna is a native New Yorker. She is an American Real Estate agent, Title Agent and holds the title of CEO for multiple companies. Additionally, she is the mother of six and one of six siblings and is best known for her commitment to serving others and assisting them with improving their quality of life by creating opportunities for growth.

One of Deanna’s companies is Exclusive Realty LLC. In her role as CEO, she helps her clients with buying or selling a home, learning what their property is worth, searching for new and existing properties, and much more. “With unparalleled industry knowledge, experience, and local expertise, I’m the Charlotte Real Estate expert you’ve been looking for. Whether you’re buying or selling, I can help you get the best deal,” she says. Additionally, she offers International Real Estate services.

Deanna is also the owner of Exclusive Title LLC and Exclusive Lending. This arm of her empire focuses on providing real estate title insurance for commercial and residential purchases and refinances. They also have the resources, experience, and connections to deliver results. Underwritten by several national underwriters, Exclusive Title Agency gives customers peace of mind knowing that an experienced and financially stable company backs their insurance policy.Deanna shares, “Our primary mission is to protect a family’s most valued asset, their home. By offering a range of title insurance products, we can help protect property owners from adverse claims and issues that might affect title ownership. We believe that protecting real estate from defects in title is critical to protecting a buyer’s investment. We also believe in building relationships, one homeowner, realtor, and person at a time.”

As a means of enhancing the lives of members of her surrounding community, Deanna launched Home Owners Pursuing Education, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping individuals obtain affordable housing. There are plans to offer classes to educate individuals on how to flip land. The expected time of the classes will begin in August 2024. Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 20 704-907-3422 704-907-3422
Our primary mission is to protect a family’s most valued asset, their home. By offering a range of title insurance products, we can help protect property owners from adverse claims and issues that might affect title ownership.

Fast Forward to 2024, and Deanna has her hands involved with even more. In addition to providing her clients with Real Estate Investment resources, she now offers assistance for investors interested in land flipping. Much like home flipping, land flipping involves an investment with the expectation of a return. “Land flipping involves purchasing lands at a discount to sell them later for a profit. In North Carolina, there is a 90-day waiting period that must be satisfied before any transactions can take place,” Deanna says. “Location is everything. Being able to find where it is available and doing your own research is very important as well. Going down to City Hall and keeping up with development has proven to give investors an edge.”

To date, four clients have benefited from Deanna’s land-flipping services. She pointed out a particular plot of land on West Boulevard in Charlotte that was very lucrative. “I purchased that plot of land for $150,000 and was able to sell it for over $600,000,” she says.

Those who are interested in learning more about the real estate and land investment opportunities that Deanna offers, as well as her nonprofit organization, should contact her directly or visit her website.

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Ardor Hair Co

After years of wearing various hair extension brands and facing numerous issues with quality, consistency, and customer service, a trio of women decided to seek the best quality hair on the market and help solve this same issue for other women. They dedicated a year to discovery, research, and testing in hopes of understanding the hair industry and hair extension products. As a result of their study, a new company was born; Adror Hair Co.

It was in 2022 when St. Louis, MO, resident Erin Butler, along with co-founders and college friends Jerdona Caston and Mo’Shai Gibbs, combined their wits and talents to form Ardor Hair Co. Erin shares, “We weren’t focused on the façade, and that is still true today. What you see is what you get. Pure, quality, and premium hair. Ardor Hair Co. is more than a luxury hair extensions company; it’s a lifestyle and a community. We are devoted to educating and empowering women of color, especially black women, to love and wear their hair with confidence.”

Erin describes herself as a driven, innovative, and diversely experienced entrepreneur and a marketing and project management professional. In 2009, Erin received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Sales from Southern University and A&M College, located in Baton Rouge, LA. In 2018, she received her Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. She enjoys sharing her life with her husband, Michael, and being a mother to two beautiful and amazing daughters, Kimber and Karis. She also loves a great bottle of wine, spending time with her village, and reading. Erin is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

For a great portion of Erin’s life, hair has played a significant role. She grew up in a salon, and her aunt owned a reputable salon in St. Louis for over 30 years. Her grandmother worked there, as did Erin’s mother. Erin followed suit and worked there, too. Firsthand, she saw the importance of the hair community and how much one’s hair impacts it. “My aunt’s grind as an entrepreneur, her support of women, and the safe space she provided were a huge inspiration for Ardor Hair Co.,” Erin said.

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Photos Provided by Erin Butler

As a business owner, Erin says her primary focus is providing sound and consistent customer service and being present and involved in the community. “We have a variety of customers with different needs. Some have experienced hair loss due to alopecia or post-partum. Some struggle with maintaining their hair or finding their look, and while others love hair extensions. I love being able to serve them, and it warms my heart to receive text messages, emails, and reviews from women who trust and love our products and continue to support us.”

Erin shares her life has been impacted by some amazing women. “First and foremost, my mother, Kimberly Jones, has had the biggest impact on my life. She consistently motivated and pushed me to think outside the box and take risks. I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2009 when I was a senior in college, and although she’s no longer physically present with me, every day, I hear her voice and feel her spirit, which is a constant motivator. One of the last things my mother said to me was, ‘You’ll be fine, I taught you everything.’ And she was absolutely right. There’s so much she instilled in me to help me keep going. She was a creative individual and entrepreneur as well. My mother loved fashion and empowering other women through beauty and fashion. What I do is for her.”

I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2009 when I was a senior in college, and although she’s no longer physically present with me, every day, I hear her voice and feel her spirit, which is a constant motivator.

Having a background in business has been helpful for Erin. However, she has faced some challenges that have required her to dig deeper within. Such challenges are funding, staying on top of competitive headwinds, market changes, and maintaining balance. She shares, “As an entrepreneur, it’s essential to have individuals and connections you can talk to and consult with. Having a support system of individuals who aren’t afraid to share learnings and resources is so valuable. I love learning, and I’m a forever student. I regularly research my business landscape to stay on top of market trends.”

Erin’s advice for others who may face a journey similar to hers is clear. She says, “Go for it! Why not? While doing so, give yourself grace. Some days, you won’t have the energy, and some days, you will feel like giving up. Those are the times when you should remember what sparked the fire inside you and keep pushing. Also, remember to make great connections, be vulnerable, and remain open to learning.”

Looking ahead, Erin hopes to continue to build Ardor Hair Co. and increase its product line. Personally, Erin has been in a transition phase. She adds, “Out of transition, new things come to life, and old ideas resurface. One thing that’s been on my heart is to write a children’s book focused on loss and grief resulting from losing a loved one to cancer.” One thing is for sure: Ardor Hair Co. will continue to impact the hair care industry.

28 h

Jacob Way Children’s Cancer Charity Latorra Garland

Life as they knew it would change in a matter of seventy-seven days.

It was May of 2022, and Latorra Garland’s son Jacob began to experience pain in his knee. Overall, Jacob was a healthy thirteen-year-old kid, so when he was diagnosed with bone cancer, the Garlands were sort of caught by surprise. Despite their efforts, Jacob lost his battle with Cancer after just 77 days of fighting. Latorra says as they watched their son endure pain and extended hospital stays during cancer treatment, those 77 days were the most challenging days of their lives. Jacob immediately went from being a healthy, happy child to being sad and full of uncertainty. “To watch my son in so much pain really took a toll on me mentally and physically. The hardest part was not knowing what the outcome would be and trying to stay strong for Jacob. To this day I hold onto the memories we made during his last days, and I am thankful for the best times we got to spend with each other.”

In response to losing her son, Latorra made the decision to launch a foundation in his memory, Jacob Way Children’s Cancer Charity. It was in Arlington, TX, and the year was 2022. “Following our own firsthand experience with childhood cancer and witnessing the financial and emotional struggles that families encounter inspired us to establish the Jacob Way Organization. We were not prepared to handle the emotional and financial stress that came with our son’s diagnosis. We wanted to give back to society by providing the families of children battling Cancer with financial support and mental health services. In doing so, we help families fill the financial gap so they can focus on their child’s healing and care plan. Even more, we are committed to this work because we are aware of the burdens that can arise from an unexpected childhood cancer diagnosis,” she says.

We were not prepared to handle the emotional and financial stress that came with our son’s diagnosis.  We wanted to give back to society by providing the families of children battling Cancer with financial support and mental health services.
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Jacob Way Organization supports the families of children battling Cancer and aims to address the well-being of families by incorporating a range of Mental Health Resources and Financial Support Services tailored to support the unique, diverse community of families dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis. Their three core services are the Pediatric Cancer Relief Fund, Caring Hearts Initiative, and Serenity Support Network.

The Pediatric Cancer Relief Fund provides financial relief and support for medications, transportation, mortgages, rent, utilities, hospital stays, and other related costs. The goal is to ease the financial stress on families, allowing them to focus on their child’s wellbeing without the added worry of overwhelming household expenses. The Caring Hearts Initiative addresses the emotional well-being of families and provides mental health resources, care packages, emotional support, and tools for self-care that will contribute to mental health awareness within the context of childhood cancer. With the Serenity Support Network, Jacob Way supports grieving families by relieving the financial burdens associated with honoring their child’s life and arranging a respectful farewell.

Currently residing in Dallas, TX, Latorra is a wife and mother of two beautiful children. Latorra was raised in Memphis, TN, and is the oldest of seven children and a leader by nature. “I love all things Southern Cooking and Old-Fashioned Desserts. My love led to me publishing my first Dessert Cookbook, “Mama’s Banana Pudding’, she shares. Latorra has a degree in Health Care Administration and has worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years. As the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Jacob Way Organization, she remains dedicated to making a positive impact in her community and for families of children battling Cancer. “Whether it’s through healthcare initiatives, family support, or other philanthropic endeavors, I am dedicated to making a difference in the community and inspiring others to follow their purpose.” Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 32

Understandably, Latorra is mostly inspired by her son, Jacob. She shares, “He was a fighter and a believer. He was the strongest person I knew. Because of his fight with Cancer, I know that I can do anything with God’s help. God does not leave your side through trying times. Losing my son really took a lot from me, and there are some bad days, but I know God has never left my side, and He’s always with me. Grief and loss are hard to deal with, especially when it’s your child. I am still here because of God’s promise to me, and I am forever grateful for that. I just want to do whatever God’s purpose is for my life and be reunited with my son in heaven. My purpose is to be a helping hand to those families that are battling Childhood Cancer and leave a legacy in honor of Jacob. I must stay focused on God because I know He will help me get through anything.”

As a new organization, Jacob Way has faced funding challenges due to limited resources, lack of a track record, and competition for funding. They also have limited fundraising expertise, uncertain revenue streams, and an overreliance on a single funding source, all of which are different hurdles to cross. Yet, Latorra is defiant. She has faced these by developing a fundraising plan and building relationships with donors and partners. She has also expanded their reach and diversified the organization’s revenue streams.

While she has plans to do a lot with Jacob Way, moving forward, Latorra is planning to provide immediate financial assistance for food, bills, and other household expenses. She also plans to offer mental health support through workshops, raise awareness for childhood cancer through campaigns and engage in community partnerships, and expand one of their key initiatives to raise awareness within the African American community about the critical importance of blood donation and how it can significantly impact the lives of those in need, including children fighting Cancer.

To learn more about the Jacob Way Organization, please visit their website. h

Greenville/Spartanburg - May/June 2024 35 336-303-9814 FB-LadyE_Specs IG-lady_especs Exclusive Specs for Men and Women

Mother and Son..... Sharing A Love For Photography Tiffany and Jayden

Together, they share a bond that is strengthened each day by unconditional love and guidance. Jayden Allen-Michael Fuller and Dr. Tiffany Michelle Fuller have more in common than just mother and son. Many years ago, Dr. Fuller birthed her photography business, TMFPhotography, incorporating her unique style and flavor into every image she captured. Fast forward to 2024, her protege, Jayden, has established himself as an aspiring lensman and, by doing so, accepts the inherent gift that began with his mother. It’s common to see this duo working on a photography set together. They seem to move in concert, as Tiffany leads by experience only, and Jayden compliments her with his unique creativity. In 2024, his mom bought him a 360 Photo Booth. In no time, Jayden grasped full operation of the new device and has since managed that sector of their business, naming his part as Jf360.

At just ten years old, he matured really quickly. With JF360, Jayden focuses on giving people waiting in line for many of their other services some time to have fun while they wait. After his first event, he knew how to run the software and the 360 himself. He has added props and extra lighting and has also learned customer service. Full of wisdom, Jayden is sure to do nothing for free and charges $150 per hour for all events.

Jayden has grown up knowing a lot about North Carolina A&T State University, mainly due to his mother teaching at the Historically Black College and University for twenty-four years. He attended the Child Development Lab on Campus and now attends Aggie Academy for Elementary school. Jayden has also attended summer programs at NC A&T, football and basketball games, and homecomings there (G.H.O.E.) and participated in the homecoming parades. He met the Chancellor and the Provost and asked them if they knew his mom. Additionally, Jayden is a member of the Swim Team and swims at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.


Dr. Tiffany Fuller is a proud Aggie and graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. She acquired a Bachelor of Science in 1998 and a Master of Science in 1999. While in school, she was awarded a scholarship in academics and athletics and played softball for four years. After completing both degrees, she began teaching for the Lincoln County School system at just 22 years old. After two years of teaching, she enrolled in an Exercise and Sport Science doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

At UNC-G, Dr. Fuller is also an Associate Professor and teaches at the John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences and the Department of Kinesiology. As an Associate Professor, she teaches, advises, provides service to the university, and prepares research. Her research interest is on physical activity levels among youth and adults. She also teaches about the barriers of exercise among women. Even more, Dr. Fuller is the Secretary of the Faculty Senate and oversees Student Success in the Department of Kinesiology, which has over 700 students.

In 2002, she began teaching and working on her Ph.D at the same time. She earned tenure in 2016 and Poste Tenure in 2021. Presently, Dr. Fuller has been teaching in the state of North Carolina for 24 years. She still enjoys teaching and has taught courses at both the Graduate Level and Undergraduate level.

Now, with Jayden onboard, TMFPHOTOGRAPHY specializes in Wedding Photography. However, they still take pictures at many events, including family reunions, graduations, sporting events, and portraits. Since its inception in 2006, Dr. Fuller has captured a plethora of likes through her lens. She has also captured a few celebrities, such as Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Hudson, Robin Thicke, Keith Sweat, Mike Epps, and Fantasia Barrino. Carl Anthony Pane II, Tasha Smith, Rain Pryor, and Huggy Bear.

Dr. Fuller says she was thinking about how she could get her son involved with her photography business. He was always with her, and knowing that kids will mimic what they see their parents do, she decided to get him involved by buying him a 360 Photo Booth. “It took us a while to get things fully operational. I thought of it as a project and turned it into a business.” Jayden’s first event was in Charlotte, and he is excited about being booked this summer in Jekyll Island, GA, and South Carolina.

As a mom, Dr. Fuller shares she desires to teach her son how to run a business, manage money, and buy things that will make him money. “We have to teach and educate our kids about everything, including managing money,” she says.

As their future unfolds, Dr. Fuller and Jayden are preparing to enhance the products and services their company offers. Jayden is heading to middle school next year; he will continue to swim and, of course, run his business. For Dr. Fuller, it will be her 25th year teaching at NC A&T SU. Retirement is still a few years out, but when it happens, she plans to run her business full-time.

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We have to teach and educate our kids about everything, including managing money.
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Houston Gilmer The son of Houston and Larissa Gilmer
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