Today we’d like to introduce you to Alesha Briggs.
Alesha, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The development of GYO was not easy but it was very insightful. It all started when the idea of helping youth (i.e., foster and underprivileged youth) in the community came to me after my first semester of graduate school. After meeting with my mentor Jeb Middlebrook at Cal State University Dominguez Hills, he challenged me to create my very first nonprofit proposal. After months of chatting about my ideas, I finally had somebody to hold me accountable for them. It was that moment that changed my life forever! Before I knew it, I had deadlines set in place, pending nonprofit e-online classes to complete, and lots of research to do! I felt overwhelmed, nervous, and afraid. I questioned my abilities. I wondered how could a first generational graduate woman from South LA who was never even taught anything about nonprofits create one, let alone operate one. Well, I soon learned the impossible was very much possible!
Before I knew it, my proposal was complete, my last semester was coming to an end, and it was time to get to work! With very little confidence, uncertainty and no money, I dove in and began to plan my first fundraiser. It was a Shoe Drive Fundraiser, which allowed nonprofits to earn funding while helping families in underdeveloped countries become micro-enterprises by giving them a hand up, not a handout. I was so excited. To my surprise, the fundraiser was successful. It was after that moment people became interested in learning about GYO. Now, to date we have collected thousands of shoes even recently completing our 4th Annual Shoe Drive Fundraiser, serviced over 300 youth through our educational program, events, and summer program. Never in my wildest dreams did I know my idea would create opportunities for youth all over LA county.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Although the development of Giving Youth Opportunities has been a wonderful journey, it has been far from easy. Like many entrepreneurs there is a lot to learn when running a business. I have dealt with funding issues, staffing issues, program development restraints, and more! However, through it all I never gave up!
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
Giving Youth Opportunities is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that supports underprivileged youth in reaching their full potential. For that reason our organization is centered on the whole-child approach, where we believe that each child should be nurtured, engaged, challenged, and provided healthy and safe environments. Throughout the year, we conduct monthly educational sessions for high school students who are transitioning out of school, to help them develop an exit plan. We help youth transition into college, entrepreneurship, trades, and more. We even assist them with college applications, scholarship applications, jobs, volunteer hours, mentorship, and internships. In addition, we host an array of free educational based annual events in the community every year.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe in luck or coincidences. I believe we all have a life purpose and in order to achieve that goal we must tap into our inner-beings and enjoy the good and bad experiences.
- FREE-Educational Services for youth ages 12-18 years old.
- FREE-Events & Activities in Inglewood, Los Angles, and Compton.
- Summer Program-$25 weekly/share of cost per child
- Website: www.wearegyo.org
- Phone: 310.987.9979
- Email: alesha.briggs@wearegyo,org
- Instagram: @wearegyo
- Facebook: @wearegyo
Alesha Briggs, Founder/Executive Director