I know I’ve shared this before, but today – on International Women’s Day – it felt oh so fitting to share it again. See, around here at YOAM, we only exist because of the relentless persistence and vivid dreaming of women and all those who gathered around them to make YOAM what it is today.
Once upon a time, there was a woman named Katrina – and she blew and she stormed, and she became a hurricane of massive destruction. She displaced a woman named Caroline, who moved away from her home outside New Orleans, Louisiana to a town outside Baltimore, Maryland. There, she met some women, Hannah and Katie, who introduced her to Anne, who introduced her to Jessica and Brittany.
These women all returned to New Orleans, where they saw everything Katrina had left behind. These women knew one trip would never be enough to make a dent, to return the area to livability. These women knew more had to be done, and they knew they were the ones to do it. These women started Youth On A Mission in a half-dry-walled bathroom in Slidell, Louisiana.
Unhindered by time, YOAM continued forward, changing leadership, changing sponsoring organization, changing shape, but always knowing where it started. Over time, YOAM came to a place where it felt appropriate to rest, to take a break; so it did.
But another woman by the name of Irma came through, and she was followed by Maria. And as the Gulf Coast was tormented by them, yet again, the time came for YOAM to sleep no more, and so it was awakened and returned to those warm waters to begin the cleanup after these storms. This time, however, the scope of where YOAM was headed was not enough to be defined as a program of another organization. No, because YOAM had so much more to do and needed to take its destiny into its own hands.
So today, on International Women’s Day, it is my extreme pleasure to announce to each and every one of you that Youth On A Mission has filed for Incorporation with the intention of receiving Non-Profit status in the state of Tennessee. We are eager to share this next chapter with you and look forward to working together to equip and empower young people to leadership for the purposes of providing services to people in need, responding to natural disasters, and advocating for social justice. Keep checking in, because we’ll be unveiling exactly how you get to shape that in the coming weeks.
Love and Peace,
President, Youth On A Mission