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*Story written by LaTasha Hudson

Every great story begins with “Once Upon A Time…” Well here we go…

Once Upon a Time, there was a young, African American girl trying to navigate her way through a life of what if’s. She lived in one of the “worst” neighborhoods on record on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis. (What if she didn’t move away?) She really didn’t have aspirations to go to college because her family had shown her that hard work pays off, even if you didn’t have a degree, so why should she leave her friends and family when she could work at the Post Office, Chrysler, or Allison’s. But her mom had stated that she wouldn’t be working at one of the local manufacturing companies and she would be the first to go to college in her immediate family. (What if her mom hadn’t been so influential?) Due to the amazing influence of her mother, a strong, smart, and bold woman, she proceeded to ol’ IU in pursuant of a Bachelor’s degree. But the journey didn’t stop there, she went on to earn her Master’s in Business Administration as well because she was motivated to succeed…yet along the journey she met many, many amazing men and women and she knew it was her PURPOSE to give back to others. (What if she didn’t have a foundation of love and support?)

It’s been 10 years since I found my family at Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis…in 2006, I found out about this sweet little gem. As I was trying to ensure that donors in the community were aware of agencies that addressed the needs of others, I fell in love with the mission of Girls Inc. I became one of the first volunteers that had the opportunity to embark on the agency’s new journey, so I had a first look at the new program outreach model. In 2007, I was nominated by the agency as their Volunteer of the Year. Who would’ve thunk it that I would begin a very rewarding career in 2009 at the agency. (What if I hadn’t applied and thought I wasn’t good enough even with my previous accomplishments?)

In January of 2009, I started working at Girls Inc. as the first Volunteer Partnership Coordinator, it was a newly created position for the agency to increase volunteerism and revamp the volunteer management system. In just 2 short years, we created a new model and knocked the strategic goals out of the park…we engaged many companies and organizations with our mission and connected them to our girls with dynamite curricula addressing the challenges girls face today. (What if I hadn’t gained the confidence to speak in front of others and become the silent voice for our girls?)

And then I was asked to take on the most rewarding and exciting adventure in my career…

In August of 2011, I was promoted to Director of Programs. At the end of 2010, we delivered 210 programs via 65 program partners and served 2,622 girls…by the beginning of 2014, we had served a record number of 4,322 girls, delivered 434 programs and had developed relationships with 97 program partners. In 2014, we exceeded our registration goal of 7,500 by 204 girls. WOW! In the last 6 years, Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis has been in the Top 5 affiliates having been ranked #1, #3, and #5 (3 times).  (What if I hadn’t learned that integrity is much better than a reputation? What if I hadn’t learned to put the girls needs first every day?)

Then it was time to switch gears and serve the agency as the Vice President of Development and Public Relations. From September 2016 to present, I’ve worn this hat with style and grace, and we were just getting warmed up. Thank you to everyone who Stood Up for Girls, and contributed to making our Touchstone event a HUGE success. In my current position, I had the opportunity to meet with funders and donors to tell the story of our girls, how the programs impact them, but most importantly, how the girls have changed my life. I once wore their shoes, sometimes they were shiny and new and sometimes the backpack I carried called life caused my shoes to be torn and worn; in those times, of weariness, I recall my past and I think about the what if’s and I am reminded of the What Could Be! (What if she hadn’t found her purpose? Would she still feel free to seek the impossible and driven to accomplish the unimaginable?)

Although, my season as a staff member of Girls Inc. has come to an end (What if just for now?)…I can appreciate everything I’ve learned, every life that I have touched, and all the staff members that have made me laugh and every girl that has said “thank you, Ms. LaTasha, for being here.”

A sincere adieu to everyone that has crossed my path this season as I continue my story. Just remember these words when you think about me, “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say ‘because of you, I didn’t give up!” (What if she hadn’t even tried?)

2 Comments

  • Dear Latasha,
    You are an amazing person! I am so thankful that I had to opportunity to meet you and get to know you. You definitely have been an inspiration for me as I navigate the world of working for a non-profit! I wish you the best and please do not loose touch.
    Warmest regards,
    Julie

  • April says:

    Well done you good and faithful servant!!! I look forward to seeing what you do next.

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