I had an epiphany about the importance of Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus from when I was younger on December 6, 2023. Despite being an engineer, I often wondered why I needed those subjects. But guess what? The answer hit me during a workshop I hosted at Families Moving Forward (FMF) called Empowerment Unleashed. FMF is a 30-90 day homeless service provider in Durham, dedicated to helping families find their way home. I had the incredible opportunity to facilitate and keynote this event. I brought speakers and volunteers together from Durham County Library System, Shaw University, Sistah’s Who Care, The Rules of a Big Boss LLC, and, of course, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina with a mission of empowering FMF’s clients through inspirational talks, fellowship, and mock interviews.
Representing Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Tenisha Harper delivered a compelling speech titled “Looking Forward to Growth,” sharing her personal journey, setbacks, triumphs, and military experience. The audience resonated with her story, applauding her as they found parallels in their own journeys as women and mothers.
Kaleisha Counsel, representing Sistah’s Who Care, delivered a heartwarming speech on overcoming rejection and homelessness. She shared her journey from living in a shelter to founding her own non-profit and becoming a Revenue Integrity Analyst. The audience applauded her and were inspired by her message to let rejections fuel their determination.
Loria Glenn, also from Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, played a crucial role in delivering an engaging speech on interview preparation tips. Her contribution became even more significant as we conducted mock interviews with attendees after lunch. Despite personal matters preventing her from attending in person, Alexis Smith, also from Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, participated virtually throughout the entire workshop. Alexis even teamed up with Loria for a joint face-to-face interview with one of the candidates. Talk about dedication!
Durham County Library’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) not only advances the library's mission but also supports the community. They partnered with us to facilitate mock interviews, and Tammy Baggett, Durham County Library Director, shared her personal story of overcoming obstacles, including institutionalized racism. Laughter, snapping fingers, and nods followed her speech. Lakeisha Farmer, Durham County Library Human Resource Director, concluded with a moving speech about the possibilities, echoing the sign in FMF’s Community Room that declares nothing is impossible.
During a show of hands, attendees confirmed feeling inspired and empowered. Post-event surveys revealed that Empowerment Unleashed exceeded expectations. One attendee expressed a desire for more insights into virtual interviews, acknowledging Alexis's valuable contribution.
And so on yesterday, I realized that those math classes from my past were crucial in that they allowed me to serve as an intersection between nodes in helping me bring this incredible team together. Huge thanks to everyone named and unnamed above for helping me to make it happen. I or rather we are excited about delivering more workshops to FMF in 2024 and beyond. I also urge those of you that are reading this to consider joining the movement. Your doing so could make a world of difference in your very own backyard wherever that may be.