I remember it very vividly: sitting on my futon in my college dorm at Old Dominion University in September 2010, racking my brain trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life after graduation. (A conversation I’m sure many of my fellow Millennials have had with ourselves and peers.) And then it came to me in the wee hours of the morning on September 10th, 2010: to start a nonprofit organization that would develop self-confidence and leadership skills in inner city girls while providing them with travel and enrichment opportunities.
“Okay, so what am I supposed to do with this?” I thought to myself. I knew nothing about nonprofits, and truthfully, that’s not even what I wanted to come up with when I was thinking what I should do with the rest of my life. Either way I added it to my vision board and forgot about it…or so I thought.
Several months had passed, and as I was preparing for graduation, that vision began to weigh even heavier on my heart.
I knew that it wouldn’t hurt to write goals, create objectives and choose a logo for the organization that I had envisioned. I asked for help from my sisters, had a logo created in back to the back burner it went. To make a seemingly long story short, I finally decided to stop making excuses and just do it. After all I had absolutely nothing to lose and just 11 short months after graduating, I received my approval and A Bigger Picture, Inc. was officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the DC area!
Over those 11 months, I made the decision to really step out on faith with the vision I had. I took every excuse and did something about it. The first excuse I had was not knowing anything about starting a nonprofit. (Thank goodness for that amazing invention called the Internet!) I began to teach myself what I would need to know, I even went to work for two nonprofits to learn the ends and outs. I went to every workshop or networking event possible over a 4-6 month span, and soaked up everything I could. It was then that I really saw the universe make things happen on my behalf. My brother mentioned to a friend the work we were doing and two months later, we had our first partnership and a seed grant to get started.
I say all of that to say this: if there’s a dream weighing on your heart, I encourage you to step out on faith and “do something”. Because I did something, I’ve been able to directly affect over 275 young girls in the Washington, D.C. area through my nonprofit A Bigger Picture, Inc. We’re currently partnered with three schools in the area and provide a long-term development program for their 8th grade girls. Our overarching goal is to develop confident, responsible and well-rounded young women. We do this through providing a year-long curriculum that combines education, enrichment, community service and travel. In 2014, I did something else about that vision: I received and launched our annual conference, which is a free one-day development and encouragement event that hosts over 100 girls. Another thing I’m also working on is expanding our traveling program. Every year, we take the girls on a 3-day trip from D.C. to New York City. By 2017, I want to be able to provide them with the opportunity to travel to London.
It’s amazing to look back and see the impact we’ve had and to think what would have happened if I didn’t believe enough in myself and the dream to do something.
I really write this to anyone that was feeling the way I was feeling back in 2010. Maybe you have a dream, but you’ve written it off as something you will do later. While timing is everything, I want you to examine why you want to do it later. Make one move, tell someone, start on your logo, pick out the name for your business and put it in the universe and watch it conspire on your behalf.
Here’s to your success!
About The Author:
Chanel Evans is the founder of A Bigger Picture, Inc. A graduate of Old Dominion University, She currently works for Romark Laboratories as a Specialty Pharmaceutical Territory Manager. Chanel is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. You can learn more about A Bigger Picture on their website, or by following them on Facebook and Twitter.