A Letter to Our Fathers

"Hey dads or brothers or uncles or other important people that are males and are strong in our lives. Thanks for being here. It means the world. You've probably seen us go from diapers, to being tots, to being cute little girls, to now being growing and evolving young women. I know you might not want to face it, but we're getting up there, and we don't plan on just stopping anywhere, we are shooting for beyond the stars.

I remember a few times when I put my dad through a lot but I know all of my life he's made me grind and I will always appreciate it. He just didn't play games... and I respect that. Beautiful, young women like us shouldn't play games because we're better than that. 

Having a male figure in our lives is so critical and important in this world right now and for what you all have to offer.... A thanks just wouldn't be enough. 

My relationship with my dad is really strong, we've been together since I was born, so our bond will always be eternal. It has been knocked off of its pedestal by me, by him, but it always ends climbing back to where it belongs and sometimes it takes a lot of time for it to climb back where it belongs, but he and I wouldn't allow it to do anything different. It can only remain climbing and if it has to climb forever and not get back to where it was, so be it. But it won't remain inactive. I am his shadow. I follow him. I watch him. I take on his traits; most of the time it's unintentional though. We even have the same handwriting. My dad is my biggest hero and no one can take his place. And dad, you have tried to teach me and train me all my life and I am sorry for the unexpected bumps in the road because sometimes not only were you not expecting it, I wasn't either. But I won't hold onto the past if you won't. You mean a lot to me. 

Girls, we have these men in our lives, they're here. No one will take their place, some may try, but it's up to you to make sure that that doesn't happen. They're giving their all or all that they have, and we are going to repay them with nothing but love and respect. I don't have to use big words and lots of persuasive sayings to get my point across because we are all smarter than that. Love and respect that's all. Love covers care, having each others back and seeing each other for what you really are and accepting it. Respect covers boundaries, it covers lines that you can and cannot cross, it covers how you treat each other and what you know about each other and how you choose to handle those things that you know. 

Some girls don't have dads, some girls don't even have male figures in their life. These are the girls that some people think of as going through life without having a female and male point of view, they don't know how to deal with boys, they have to be strong because they have no dad, they have no brother but that's not true. Not even half of the time. If there is anyone here that does not have a male figure in their life or has one, but it is either their uncle, or brother or godfather or even their dad that they just do not see a lot of, I think that you're going to be just fine. God has given you what you need. You will be just fine. 

We have these guys, they are here, let's cherish them, let's make something to remember. Even if it feels awkward, just do it anyways, it won't hurt. these are people that can teach you things, they want the best for you, sometimes they can be annoying... but they aren't going anywhere so don't push them, keep them around because you could be one of the lucky ones. Some people out here in this world, they don't have anything. I'm talking mom dad, aunt uncle, grandma grandpa, brother sister, they have nothing. God has carved a path for each and everyone of us and I'm sure each path is different. 

So as we take on these hard courses of the next few years of our lives, we have to take these guys with us, because I'm very certain that after we make this huge transition, things are going to be detected, unexpected, and maybe even a little hectic."

Aiyana T. 
Age 14 
You just read "A Letter to Our Fathers", a speech delivered by Aiyana, a newly inducted member of The Flourishing Blossoms Society for Girls, Inc. Last Saturday, we had our closing ceremony, where each of the girls was fully inducted as an official Blossom Girl.

It was Carissa, our co-founder, who first came up with the idea to have a Father-Daughter Ball instead of just a closing ceremony. 

"But what if they don't have a dad?" I first asked. This was about three years ago.  

"They can go with a brother or uncle. Every girl needs to identify a father-figure in her life. They are about to go to high school. This will be the time when they need male perspective more than ever. And this is their ceremony that symbolizes the end of childhood. Their fathers should be there to witness this. Just think about it." 

I didn't need to think about it though. Carissa was absolutely right. And it's funny because every year, when I tell the Blossoms that we are having a father-daughter ball, there are always two or three girls that object, in the same way that I initially did. I find myself giving them the same exact lecture that Carissa gave me. 

The 2014 Father-Daughter was nothing short of beautiful. Each girl presented a piece of art, dance, or writing that displayed what they gained from being a member of the program. At the end, I crowned each girl with a handmade floral crown that was adorned with 7 daisies. We decided to put 7 to symbolize the number of completion. It was a proud moment for us all. 

And I'm so blessed to have been able to dance with my father as well. 

I love that man! 

On behalf of the Flourishing Blossoms Society for Girls, Inc., I have to give a big thanks to everyone who supported us this year. Above is Ms. Janee Thames and Ms. Tieka Evans. Both of you were a great help with our girls, thank you so much. 

Here is Nichae with one of our Blossom mentors, Ms. Kirsten Beverly, the Vice President of FUTURE of Morgan State University. 

Here is Timyja and Mrs. Gena Proctor, accepting an award of appreciate to Southwest Baltimore Charter School. 

And my grand, setting up our center pieces. 

I can't wait to see the work these girls do in the next 5, 10, and 20 years. Their potential is endless. I have no doubt that they will make everyone who is in their lives beyond proud. 

POLY, CITY, Baltimore School for the Arts, and MERVO is the next stop for my Blossoms ... But they've already chosen Spelman, Harvard, Hopkins, UCLA, and Juilliard as their colleges. At 14, they have set goals and objectives that women twice their age haven't figured out yet. This is why I always say #Baltimoreisbeautiful because they don't just give me hope for the future, I can rest assured and confident that things will change. They are, indefinitely, the leaders of change that the world so desperately needs!

Love always, always, 
Ms. Clay