2020 Is Personal
I’ve sat here thinking of what can I write, how can I reintroduce myself and my passion YANA to the world? And only one thought came to mind – this is personal. YANA is personal. So, it only makes sense that I start our first blog of 2020 with getting personal because after all this journey is not just about myself or YANA, its for every person that has experienced parental incarceration in their lives.
When I started YANA in September 2018, I started with guns blazing. I’d just left my position at one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies and I was ready to take on the world; to change the world. I spent countless hours creating the foundation for YANA and once I was ready to approach my target audience, I connected with every elementary and middle school within the surrounding 6 independent school districts. I was excited and eager until…the follow up emails, calls, visits yielded little to no interest in incorporating our curriculum into schools. While YANA was well-received and deemed as a much-needed concept for children of incarcerated parents, the enthusiasm from educational systems for YANA in their schools was less than stellar; many schools were just not ready to invest in our curriculum (including the free sessions offered). So instead of looking at it as a part of business, I became a bit disappointed and discouraged in the process.
After taking some much needed time to pray, deal with my fears, and really reflect on how I needed to move forward; I decided to incorporate a new approach to ensure that we will reach children of incarcerated parents independent of any one particular source of students. In addition to a new approach, I am excited to introduce Beeyond Their Walls, our nonprofit arm of YANA whose purpose is to educate and empower caregivers/parents and the community at large (in addition to children of incarcerated parents) on how to circumvent the negative effects of parental incarceration. Many have often mistaken YANA as a nonprofit and have wanted to donate to our cause; however now that Beeyond Their Walls is our official nonprofit designated as a 501(c)(3), all donations will be tax deductible.
I am extremely excited about where this year will take us and the number of children that we will impact. We have so many things in store for YANA to include workbooks and Saturday programming. Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram @4__yana as well as subscribe to this website for the latest on YANA!