Today we’d like to introduce you to Tawanna Craig.
Tawanna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Authentically Me Is Birth. I knew I wanted to someday tell my story. I prayed and asked God to give me something. “It’s Not Your Fault” – As a victim of Sexual Abuse, I did not learn this until I was 22 Years Old. My abuse happened when I was 8 Years Old. I was told not to tell anyone. Eventually I was made to believe, I must have wanted it because I did not tell. The lies predators make you believe. Survivor – Tawanna L. Craig
Some victims are never told, their bodies belong to them and no one has a right to it without their permission. I decided to Fight!!! Fight for “MY” Dreams. Fight for “MY” Visions. Fight for “MY” Purpose. Through this process, I decided, I want to help other young girls/ladies to do the same. I wanted it to be different. But what does different look like? “I” wanted to be different. I wanted to be “Authentic”. Authentically Me.
So, I researched, and I prayed, and I asked God, “What would you have for me to do?” When I started on this journey, we had just begun Life Groups at my Church. The Life Group is about S.H.A.P.E. Spiritual Gift, Heartbeat, Ability, Personality and Experience. This study came at a great time when I was seeking God as to what direction to go. My Spiritual Gifts are, Leadership, Exhortation, Teaching and Administration. I have come to realize that my Heartbeat is for Sexually Abuse and the Plight of Young Ladies. I have a need, a passion to let them know they are Loved, Needed, Valued and Authentic. They are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. If you continue with me, you will find out why I have this passion. The Birth of Authentically Me.
I wanted it to mean something. Something that speaks to who I am. How I feel and what others may want to convey but do not know how. I wanted it to be authentic. Lightbulb!!! In Psalm 139:14, God said, “You are Fearfully and Wonderfully made”. I am Authentic.
What does Authentically Me mean? There is no one else like ME. There is no one else like YOU. Au-then-tic: I Am 1. Undisputed, genuine, real, bona fide, and true.
Priscilla Shire’s wrote in her book, “The Resolution of Women” (The life you’re renovating has far too much God-given potential for you to plant its roots in something so menial. Dig deep and lean into the truth – the truth of who you are and what He’s created you to offer the world -and then orbit your life around that steadfast knowledge.) It was time for me to dig deep and figure out who Tawanna is.
I have been so many things to so many people. Daughter, Sister, Friend, Wife, Mother, Sista@Heart, Bestie, Aunt, Tia… Did any of these make me Authentically Me, or did all, of these make me Authentically Me? The answer is, yes. I am all, of the above, Authentically.
The Bible said, “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jerimiah 1:5)
God chose Me. God set me apart. God appointed Me. He did that so that I could serve Him Authentically.
I have tried over the years to be like so many other people. I tried dressing like them, talking like them, acting like them. I even wanted to speak and teach like them. Ha! How authentic was that?
Then one day, I had MY God Moment. It was not an Aha Moment. It was a God Moment. He said, Tawanna, I created you in my image and I do not create mess. You have work to do, that only you can do. I allowed you to go through what you went through so that your testimony can help others.
It is time for you to be Authentically You and share with the world, The T Lynn Experience.
When the idea came to me to start Authentically Me, my mission was to Empower Young Girls to Pursue their Dreams, Visions and Purpose. That has not changed. As this journey continues, I’ve come to realize that, besides myself (the adult me) there are Moms of these young ladies that need to be Empowered to pursue their Dreams, Visions and Purpose, and by doing that, they will Empower them to do the same. This appeared on my Facebook page. A Note about Tawanna – Facebook Test
She makes broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walks with the universe on her shoulders and makes it look like a pair of wings. She is a whirlwind of crazy chaos, but she is so damn passionate, that she is worth it. She loves life and it loves her right back. She belongs to no man or land. She is hers before she is anybody else’s. She Is Authentic Be Blessed and let us be Authentic Together.
Has it been a smooth road?
By no means, has the road been smooth. As a nonprofit organization, funds are limited. Trying to find resources to fund the programs that have been created for the participants, and securing a location, has been a challenge.
My dream is to secure a location to hold classes for the young girls who participate in programs, created by Authentically Me. The “LME Academy” (Little Miss Entrepreneur) and the “I Am Authentically Me Academy and Mentorship Program” are two programs created so far.
The goal is to have the programs completely funded, as to not have the participants parents come out of pocket.
Please tell us about the organization
I am the Founder and CEO of Authentically Me, a Non-Profit/501(c)3 Organization. Our Mission is to Empower young girls to pursue their Dreams, Vision and Purpose. We believe, if you do not know what your purpose is, follow your passion and it will lead you to your purpose.
We are honored to have donated Backpacks to McKinley Elementary School in South LA, two years straight. We were also able to sponsor the uniforms for the Dance Squad at Crozier Middle School in Inglewood, CA, which enabled them to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr., Parade.
The creation of the LME Academy is one of our proudest creations. We believe this platform, will enable young girls to get a jump start in pursuing their Dreams, Vision and Purpose. A curriculum has been created and classes will be taught by Professionals and Volunteers in their field.
The LME Academy was birth from an observation of the young girls living the Inner City of Los Angeles. I believe these young girls knew they had a desire to do something with their skills and abilities. However, they did not have an outlet to channel their vision. There were no resources or family members with the experience or anyone else to teach them. Although there were the Boys and Girls Club in some areas, they were few and far between.
LME will be an Eight Week Course, which will instruct the students on developing their entrepreneur skills, by building their brand, but most importantly, building their “Self-Esteem”.
- Introduction to Entrepreneurship
- Building your Business /Brand
- Smart Money Management
- Giving Back
- Choosing your Style for Photo Shoot
- Photo Shoot
Prior to COVID19 we were in the process of researching locations to hold the classes. In the meantime, we have decided to hold virtual classes. We will open the classes up to ten girls and classes will be held via Zoom. I believe, this will set us apart in the industry in a time of Social Distancing.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What do I like best about of the city LA. If I thought about it, I guess it would be the diversity as well as the different pockets that create their own culture. Leimert Park, Culver City, China Town, Korea Town to name a few. I also like there is the opportunity to pursue your own dreams, you must allow yourself to believe in your dreams and know they can be accomplished. People say Los Angeles is the land of opportunity.
If I had to choose something that I liked the least about the city of LA, I would have to say the traffic.
- Website: www.authenticallyme.org
- Phone: 323.482.2750
- Email: Tawanna@authenticallyme.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/authenticallyme__
- Facebook: www.facebook.con/authenticallymeinc