Wendy Gladney (File photo)

This past week we saw “Black Girl Magic” come alive in such a beautiful way.  The world witnessed the first woman of color to be sworn in as Vice President and we also witnessed the first National Youth Poet Laureate by the name of Amanda Gorman who made history speaking at the Inauguration for the 46th President of the United States.  This young Wordsmith and Change-maker is a cum laude graduate from Harvard University and hails locally from right here in Southern California.  She has been dubbed the next Maya Angelou.

This coming Saturday, Forgiving For Living, Inc., (FFL) is holding our 9th Annual Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Conference virtually for young ladies between 10 – 18 years of age.  This year we will cover familiar topics such as financial literacy, understanding the power of possibilities and making healthy choices.  This year, with the fallout of the pandemic, we will also discuss navigating COVID-19 in 2021 and pursuing healthy relationships.  It is our desire to help our girls make wise decisions now that will have a positive impact on their futures. Girls of color are filled with grace, poise, and confidence.  It is our job to help them uncover these qualities to reach their full potential.  We believe we have the next Amanda Gorman in our midst.

This year’s conference is provided free due to the support of Comerica Bank and The California Wellness Foundation.  It is our desire to provide information that will be shared to as many young ladies as possible. Award winning photographer and FFL Board Secretary, Sabra Marie will serve as the Moderator.  Dr. Lauren Walton, leading Psychiatrist and Addictive Medicine Specialist and Vice President of FFL will speak about Suicide Prevention. Jennifer Smith, MFT from Positive Results Center, Inc., will talk to the girls about Overcoming Depression and Grief.  Brittani Johnson, Youth Coordinator from Forgotten Children, Inc (FCI) will share tips on how to prevent and protect oneself from STD’s and HIV in a time when both are on the rise. Attorney Charlene L. Usher, Founder and Managing Partner from Usher Law Group, P.C., will share from her personal experiences how the young ladies can realize the Power of Possibilities; and finally, Lucy Babiryan, VP Small Business Banking Specialist from Comerica Bank will teach Financial Literacy to help the girls make sound financial decisions and prepare for their future.

Over this past year we have experienced a light that exposes the socio-economic and racial issues that continue to divide our country. If we desire to help bridge this divide, we must invest in our youth now.  If we want to break negative cycles and make this world a better place for everyone, we must provide those who have been left behind the opportunities they deserve. It is up to us and we can make a difference.

I would like to challenge the women who may read this article to make 2021 a year like none other.  Go out of your way to identify a young lady that would benefit from your mentorship.  Commit to helping her reach her potential if only she had someone that gave her a little time, a little wisdom and possibly some resources she does not have at her disposal.  You might be surprised that as you help make her understand her magic, you may just realize your own.

Healing Without Hate:  It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author, and speaker. You can hear her every Wednesday on Instagram Live at 12 noon PST @wendygladney