Huami Magazine Houston Jan./Feb. 2023

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® Jan./Feb. 2023 Vol. 1 Issue 12 HOUSTON
Notice Andre LLC

My Dreams Are Windows To My Freedom

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.

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.

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.

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 Publisher

Terry L. Watson Writer

Monica Montgomery Writer

Joy Rogers Writer Dorjea’ McClammey Writer

Tamara Smith

Bernard Smith Photographer Todd Youngblood Photographer

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Terry L. Watson

Jermaine J. Williams

Learn how he is using his own personal triumphs as a foundation to help and serve others in his community.

Pensacola, FL

Darrell Woodard

This young engineer is making waves at NASA and in his community as an entrepreneur. Huntsville, AL

She is committed to helping others in her community. Learn more about how this career business woman. Louisville, KY

5 Notice Andre LLC Andre Notice JAN./FEB. 2023 HOUSTON EDITION CONTENTS 6 Also
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Monnai McDowell
Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Juliana Jackson
Spoken Kim B. Miller Girl Talk Incorporated Sonya Cooke Tasha Teaches Spanish LaTasha Moore 36 26 32 10
Brillantly

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. www.noticeandre.com h

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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

Darrell Woodard Woodard Decking & Fencing

Darrell Woodard of Huntsville, Alabama, is a gogetter. At just 33 years of age, he has accomplished a great deal. He is a father and an impressive businessman.

Darrell graduated from Alabama A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. While in college, he was accepted into the Pathways Program at NASA. A semester before his graduation date, NASA had already offered Darrell an entry-level engineering position that he graciously accepted. He has worked as an electrical designer for NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville for over ten years. He has been involved with various projects at the International Space Station.

Darrell’s two-year-old daughter Layla, he says, is the light of his life. “She melts my heart, and everything I do is to secure a better life for her.” He grew up in a stable home with both parents, Victoria and Darrell, two brothers, Darion and Charles, and one sister Beonka. “I watched my dad work his way up from being a janitor to becoming an operating room technician at Huntsville Hospital. My dad has always inspired me to understand and trust the process of anything in life. I believe I obtained my work ethic from my mom. She was self-employed and ran a home cleaning business while working as the store manager at Bruster’s Real Ice-cream. My parents have always stressed the importance of helping others, and I think that played a major role in helping shape the man I am today.”

In addition to his commitment to NASA, Darrell is also the owner of Woodard Decking & Fencing. Launched in 2018, his company specializes in building top-quality privacy fences at affordable prices. They also can construct decks of any style and recently started offering rod iron, aluminum, chain link, and vinyl fencing. Darrell’s services are offered at the commercial and residential levels.

Woodard Decking & Fencing’s motto is “WE TREAT YOUR YARD AS IF IT WERE OUR OWN”. Darrell says he had no real intentions of starting a business; it just happened. I bought my first home in August 2017 and became interested in adding a privacy fence allowing my dog to roam freely in the backyard. I called a few companies and obtained a few quotes

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for comparison purposes. The quotes intrigued me, mainly because I saw the bulk of the cost was labor on most of the quotes. I started watching YouTube videos on how to build a fence and soon realized that this was something I could do. I built the fence with the assistance of my dad and brother, and it wasn’t perfect by a long shot, but I was satisfied. I learned some do’s and don’ts that I had missed in the videos. Occasionally, I do ride by my old home to see that fence, and it serves as a reminder where it all started. As of today, my company has built over 150 fences in the north Alabama area and as far as Nolensville, TX.”

The experience that Darrell’s company offers is a personable one, and he says it separates him from others in the industry. “As the owner, I prioritize communicating with every customer who decides to go with my company. I personally lay eyes on every project my staff builds, ensuring that it is built to my standards. I take much pride in doing great work consistently. It brings me joy to see the smiling faces of my customers as we are doing the final walk-through to verify they are pleased with the job completed, and that’s what I love most,” he says.

God placed some very impactful people in Darrell’s life, and he is appreciative of that. While growing up, he had two neighbors who were both engineers, Charles Gamble and Lawanna Harris, both of whom were well respected at Marshall Space Flight Center. Darrell credits them with guiding him on a career path early into his childhood. He also credits his uncle James White for introducing him to electronics. His uncle taught him how to install car audio systems at age 13. He also acknowledges several teachers and coaches he encountered while growing up for having a positive impact on his life and future.

Darrell says, “The future truly inspires me. Watching my beautiful daughter grow up daily, and watching my business grow, inspires me to keep going, keep pushing, and keep striving to defy the odds. Creating generational wealth is what inspires me.” If he could rewrite his business journey, Darrell says he would have started his business much sooner. Yet, he believes in God’s timing, and I understand that without purchasing his first home, the interest wouldn’t have ever occurred.

Darrell advises other aspiring entrepreneurs to be patient, study, and diligently work on their craft. He also advises surrounding yourself with good people and always treat others how you would like to be treated. “Surround yourself with people who see your vision, surround yourself with people who support your vision, and always remember the people who helped you along the way, and never stop believing in yourself.”

Looking towards the future, Darrell says his goal is to continue building his brand according to God’s plan. To learn more about Woodard Decking & Fencing, please contact him directly.

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“As the owner, I prioritize communicating with every customer who decides to go with my company. I personally lay eyes on every project my staff builds, ensuring that it is built to my standards. I take much pride in doing great work consistently.” Darrell Woodard Woodard Decking & Fencing 256-652-9234 h

Project Community Center

With a population of nearly 630,000, Louisville, KY, is regarded as the biggest city in the bluegrass state. Of that number, African Americans make up 28%, invoking a presence full of culture, history, and promise. One of Louisville’s prominent residents has made it their lifes’ journey to give back and create opportunities for others.

Quintina Monnai McDowell is the founder of Project Community Center Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring urban projects from the West End and the East End of Louisville together using an intergenerational approach to become the center of success for everyone. To accomplish this, the organization uses the following principles; Creative and Performing Arts, Health and Wellness, Education and Leadership, and Services for families and Military Veterans.

Monnai was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She’s a mother of four children and a two-time business owner. She has a passion for children and health and wellness. Additionally, she has two degrees, one in Business Administration and one in Human Resources. Monnai enjoys meeting new people, spending time with family, and connecting with others.

Another thing Monnai enjoys is sharing her testimony of how she began her traditional lifestyle journey. “I’ve had some challenges along my journey, but I’ve overcome many of them. I’ve been married and divorced. I’ve been at my lowest, and I’ve mentally quit on myself. I felt like I lost just to only realize that it was a test of my faith, and that I had to lose to win. One thing I am proud of is that I never physically gave up. I’ve always been a fighter at heart and I love hard. I’d rather blame myself than blame anyone else. I don’t have any regrets in my life. Everything happened according to God’s will, not mine. I thank God everyday for what He has already done, what He’s doing now, what He’s about to do.”

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Some of the services offered by the Project Community Center are Business Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy Mentoring, Belize Cultural Dance, and Health & Wellness. “We have implemented a health and wellness program through our nonprofit. It helps to educate children about health and wellness and how to build a healthy immune system. We also provide a transitional lifestyle program that prepares them as they mature and make lifestyle decisions and choices,” Monnai says.

One other business Monnai has produced is Sea Moss by J. Cortez. Like her nonprofit, this brand came to life in 2020. She says, “For three years I kept running from the dream that kept chasing me. I finally prayed to God and I ask “what is your dream for me?” Then it was revealed. One day, I was talking to my brother on the phone, telling him I want to start my own nonprofit. Not realizing that I was manifesting my vision. Then I wrote it down. Thereafter, I started it with three children. Soon I had 63 children. The next year came and I had 150 children. All these blessings without a permanent location to call our own. While we still don’t have a permanent location to call our own, we plan on having 300 plus children during our free summer camp this year. We’re excited and can’t wait to see what God does,” she says.

It is evident that Monnai is walking in her calling, and while walking purposefully, she has acquired a greater appreciation of love for others. “I love engaging and educating everyone about health and wellness and connecting with others spiritually. I am a huge giver and love to see everyone become successful. I love all my children, and my passion involves them. I’ve always believed that if I could help or change one person, I could change or help many,” she shares.

Like most business owners, Monnai has faced some challenge along the way. She says, “One challenge I’ve faced in business is “trust”. It’s hard for me to trust anyone. I had to learn how to overcome that obstacle in my life, especially in business. I was listening to a motivational clip from DMX and he explained trust. “Trust a person to be who they show you they are. Trust a snake to bite you, trust a thief to steal from you, and trust a liar to lie to you”. I wanted trust, but I had to also show that I could be trustworthy. I’m a very loyal person, so when trust is betrayed, it’s hard to trust again. In business, I had to learn how to trust without implementing emotion. What I mean by that is, removing my feelings from my business by separating the two. Business is business, it’s not personal. This could be a challenge for givers because you’ll always have to watch out for the takers.”

As life continues for Monnai, she plans to continue serving the Louisville community with great products and services via her brands. She also plans to continue to be a blessing to others and expand her organization in other states. “My passion is worldwide. I’m not saved to sit. I am saved to serve. Therefore, whatever path God has for me, that’s the path I’m taking,” she says.

visit their websites to learn more about the Project Community Center and Sea Moss by J. Cortez.

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Please
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For three years I kept running from the dream that kept chasing me. I finally prayed to God and I ask “what is your dream for me?” Then it was revealed.”
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Jay & Jah Films LLC

The easiest way to reach someone at their level is to know what it’s like to be there.

Pensacola, FL, native and resident Jermaine J. Williams is a man full of culture, experience, and determination. He is also someone who has clawed his way from the pits of despair and found a new footing in life by way of helping and serving others.

Jermaine is a Documentary Filmmaker, Author, Executive Producer, and advocate for positive mental health and social change. He owns Jay & Jah Films LLC, a production company producing substance-filled television and film content. His company is currently in talks with a few television networks for Rescue Addiction. This production follows Jermaine as he and his team enter crises to save those faced with addiction. It also works to educate their family/friends to help provide a breakthrough moment for all parties involved. “Our production company’s first project, the documentary “I Had To Change: The Story Of Jermaine J. Williams,” paved the way for Rescue Addiction by winning four awards worldwide in various film festivals,” he says.

In addition to managing his production company, Jermaine works as a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist with the State of Florida. This commitment pulls at Jermaine’s heartstrings because he can relate to the challenges of those he serves. He shares his testimony in an effort to help others understand his purpose.

“It was a Sunday morning, on November 29, 2015. I’ll never forget that date or day. I was on the heels of an all-night binge of cocaine and alcohol. After failed rehab stints years earlier, I had grown tired of having no control over something that had controlled me. I thought of a plan to die by suicide and was ready to execute it. But my only concern was my family finding my lifeless body in my room. So I regrouped my thoughts and exercised my faith in God. Even under the influence of substances, God began to show me that He had had enough of the punishment with which I had afflicted myself. I made it downstairs just in time to catch my family before they departed for church. I told them I had had enough, and I was done. I joined hands with my aunt, mother, and grandmother and

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began to pray in complete surrender. I had been invited by a friend to church the Friday before, and I then called and told him I would like to take him up on the invitation. During praise and worship, I sat and sulked, while the rest of the congregation was standing and singing. At that time, I heard a faint but mighty voice say, “If you want to be done with this forever, you have to praise me like you never did before. I jumped to my feet during three consecutive songs and began to lift my hands in complete surrender. I was crying, foaming at the mouth, speaking in tongues with no regard for who was watching me. That was big for me because up until that moment, I had been concerned with how I was perceived. I struggled with a cocaine and alcohol addiction for thirteen years. It was the most challenging fight of my life. That day was seven years ago, and I’ve had no desire for drugs and alcohol and have enjoyed sobriety ever since,” Jermaine shared.

After reaching sobriety, Jermaine realized he had a unique story, and I wanted to tell that story to inspire others. He says from a teenager to early adulthood, he produced music. Along the way, he became a community activist who built a rapport in the political arena with an uncanny ability to speak out for those in his community. He has done this by coordinating campaigns, rallies, and more. Jermaine also wrote a religious thriller, “My Brother, The Devil, & Me.” He has also produced the documentary “I Had To Change: The Story Of Jermaine J. Williams”.

Various life experiences have inspired Jermaine. His father died when he was six years old. A drunk driver took Jermaine says, took his father away from me. Shortly after that, his aunt introduced him to the lifes’ work of Malcolm X, and Malcolm X, Jermaine says, became a father from the grave to him.

Jermaine shares he believes it is essential to help others because everyone will need help with something at one point or another. “I must pay it forward because I know what it feels like to receive support or go without it. It’s a matter of what feeling we want to leave with others. I hope it’s not the latter,” he says.

Jermaine’s work as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist with Here Tomorrow, a nonprofit based in Jacksonville, FL, is what he loves most about what he does. “At Here Tomorrow, I take calls for 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and serve as a peer counselor to individuals who suffer from addiction and mental diagnoses. I also facilitate support groups,” he says.

As he looks towards the future, Jermaine says his goal is to engage in transition talks with television networks and finalize contracts for Rescue Addiction. “We are very, very close to that. The pilot episode is completed and receiving rave reviews from industry insiders,” Jermaine says. In addition to the novel he is working on, which includes a feature film segment, Jermaine has four other completed scripts in line. He also plans to lobby the DCF managing entity of his home county of Escambia, to advocate for mental health funding for Pensacola and surrounding areas. Something he will never cease doing is working to break the stigma surrounding mental health in the African American community.

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My Brother, The Devil, & Me (Novel) is available on Amazon.

I Had To Change: The Story Of Jermaine J. Williams is available on YouTube.

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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.”

www.kimbmiller.com
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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.”

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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Cooke
“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.”

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Cutest Baby

please send
The daughter of Brianna Jackson Granddaughter of Ed & Raquel Browning Great Granddaughter of Annie Browning & Lisa
To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature,
a detailed email to huami.cutestbaby@gmail.com
MAGAZINE
Juliana Marie Jackson

Fusion of Scents & Harmony for the Body

A
www.SymoniousFusion.com
Handmade Soaps Body Scrubs Body Butters and more.....

An Eight Week Course of Education

Week 1 - Introduction of all material over eight weeks. They are adapting with family and friends with a newborn. What are the challenges faced, and how can I overcome them? Healthy Parenting and Relationships (Partnership with Family and Consumer Sciences Professionals). Members will use the whole session to share their experiences and struggles associated with adjusting with pregnancy.

Goal: Members will gain an understanding of their peers and the struggles they each face. Members will begin to assess the challenges associated with parenting with family and friends.

Outcome: Members will begin to develop a relationship with their peers, thus establishing a bond and connecting with one another. Understanding healthy relationships (Family, Partners, and Friendships).

Week 2 - Staying Positive Coping Skills (Mom and Baby)

This session will include role-play, video clips, and class activities to complete about parenting.

Goal: Members will develop coping skills to assist with managing emotions and challenges faced.

Outcome: Members will be more equipped to manage their behavior positively and change their mindset to positive thinking and speaking.

Week 3 - Money Matters (Budgeting, Savings, Credit)

This class will build on the “Budgeting Skills” class. It will also include worksheets and important literature on budgeting and saving money.

Goal: Members will obtain skills to manage money and food stamps.

Outcome: Members will develop budgeting skills, thus reducing the amount of dependence on others. Members will become aware of shopping tips, utilizations of coupons, and resources to help save and budget funds.

Week 4 - Computer Literacy/Interview Prep

Members will participate in role-play and hands-on learning. Staff will cover interview skills and resources related to interview clothing. Staff will require all members to practice skills learned and discussed on the computer.

Goal: Members will become knowledgeable of soft computer skills and learn essential interviewing tips.

Outcome: Members will develop or refresh their computer skills, which are needed to navigate computers and the web. Members will gain the necessary skills as it relates to interviewing preparation.

Week 5 - Parenting and Breastfeeding Speaker

A WIC speaker will cover the entire class.

Goal: Members will learn the benefits of breastfeeding and healthy eating.

Objective: Members will take advantage of the learned material and start the process of familiarizing themselves with breastfeeding and other options.

Week 6 - Career and College Readiness (Partnership with Community College and Trade Schools). The speaker for this class will be from a Professional Job/School.

Goal: Educate single moms eligible to work on how to apply for jobs and submit school applications. Teach singles how to write a resume. Somebody will also give College Prep information.

Outcome: Members will be ready for job training interviews.

Week 7 - ADL’s (Activity of Daily Living)

This class will cover Basic ADL’s of caring for self and infant. Self Care and Postpartum Depression.

Goal: Members will learn the importance of personal self-care needs associated with parenting.

Outcome: Members will implement newly learned skills and establish improved self-care to assist with parenting needs. They will also learn about the effectiveness of reducing stress levels during mommy time.

Week 8 - Safe Sex/Pregnancy Prevention

A Health Provider will come in and speak on: Prevention of Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Birth Control methods and safe sex options.

Goal: Members will learn about the statistics of teen moms. Members will learn about STD’s and the risk of unprotected sex.

Outcome: Members will become more familiar with and aware of risks associated with unprotected sex and pregnancy prevention.

Review/Survey / Where am I now? / Graduation

The first thirty minutes of class will consist of completing a survey of learned material and the usefulness of the course. Staff will use this time to review any material or resources needed. The remaining hour and a half of class will be used for Graduation and to celebrate the completion of the course.

Goal: Members will gain a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Outcome: Members recognize the importance of parenting. They will have a different outlook on life as a single parent with the information they learned over the eight weeks. They will learn how to be better parents to their children.

www.levelupptg.com

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We Had Fun!

November 19, 2022