My name is Tasha VanMarter and I am 37 years old. I come from a poor family in a low-income neighborhood. Unlike many of my childhood friends, thankfully, I had a good family. In 2010, my sister and I created Joyful Journeys Community Enrichment. The inspiration for this organization took root as we were growing up witnessing firsthand some of the atrocities our young friends were experiencing. As we grew into mature adults, it became apparent that not all kids begin life with the same resources and support to compete and survive. Many of our friends had drug and alcohol addicted parents that never played the part of a supporting role model. These children lacked guidance, leadership, protection, support, and most of all love. Many of our childhood friends who lived in these circumstances became involved in crime, dropped out of school and began using substances themselves. Several of these same kids have now been murdered, committed suicide, or are currently incarcerated. Today, these problems for children still exist, creating an extreme need for programs like Joyful Journeys, which is designed to help further the education and emotional development of children. Now, eight years after it first began, our organization is providing tutoring assistance, leadership opportunities, art, music, sports and culinary programs. Joyful Journeys focuses on teaching children to give back to the community and helps them realize their ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships. After working directly with the children of our community, we became aware of the challenges facing their parents. With this new insight, we have implemented several different programs educating and empowering adults to completely transform their lives. Joyful Journeys now provide basic need and emergency items like food, clothing, household items, school supplies and hygiene products. However, giving someone a food basket only feeds them for the week. It does not address the actual issue and only solves an immediate need. Joyful Journeys fights the battle upstream by providing employable skills training, budgeting, health and nutrition training and community involvement opportunities. This allows for the understanding of personal accountability with finances, wellness, emotional control, community service and decision-making while embracing their full potential and value as human beings.