BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:
Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc.Newark, New Jersey
ABOUT THE BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc.'s mission is to grant every girl in the City of Newark a chance to live, love and laugh through our fundamental workshops on Leadership & Career Development, Education, Health & Wellness, Civic Engagement and Pre-Bullying Prevention Workshops.
Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc.'s vision is to make a difference in the lives of girls by removing some of the obstacles that may stand in their way, so that they can become respectable, successful, productive and happy ladies.
THE STORY:My name is Allison “The Youthpreneur” James, and I am Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. Giving back to the community in which I was born and raised has always been important to me. I am one of eight children, born to the late Mr. Spencer L. James Sr. and Mrs. Zanna E. Hadley-James. When I was 17 years of age, I lost my father due to a violent stabbing. The death of my father left my mother a widow and responsible for raising her eight children on her own. When I was 26 years old, my mother lost a longtime battle with diabetes. Not having parents forced me and my siblings to rely on one another for strength and direction. I grew up in the Stella Wright Housing Projects of Newark, NJ.
I faced personal struggles and obstacles as a teen and young adult. After my fiance was shot and killed, I was determined to turn my life’s lemons into lemonade. I worked to develop skills that would enable me to change my circumstances. I used the adversities that I overcame as a catalyst of inspiration to young girls within my community. Fueled with the burning desire to make a difference in the lives of the “Allisons” of the world, came the emergence of Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. I believe that a little love, a helping hand, and guidance from someone who can relate to their real-life struggles, will make all the difference in a young girl’s life.
Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. was founded on a philosophy that with the proper tools, resources, leadership, and love, girls living in the inner city of Newark can beat the odds. The organization seeks to give all girls a chance to live, love, and laugh.
I was educated in the Newark Public School system and graduated from Central High School. I have an Associate’s Degree in Human and Social Services (with honors). Currently, I am pursuing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology at Rutgers University of Newark. At Rutgers, I serve on the Executive Board Social Work Student Organization as the Vice-President.
I love my husband Andre Frison and God. At Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, I am a Deaconess and serve as Outreach Affairs Liaison, Women’s Ministry, Missionary Team Member and Church Finance Team.
In 2013, I spearheaded another community outreach initiative called Bags of Hope. During the winter months, I alone, distribute bags to Newark residents with the intention of spreading hope into the crime infested, poverty stricken city streets.
Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc. has been featured in many news articles, magazines (Ebony is one of them), received a Proclamation from Mayor Ras J. Baraka and the City of Newark declaring September 16th as Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc. Day in the city of Newark and Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church - Mission Outreach Community Award.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS / ACCOLADES / AWARDS:I have recently been honored with 3 Resolutions from Newark Municipal Council, Joint Legislative (Assemblywoman Tucker, Senator Rice & Assemblyman Caputo) as well as The Essex County Board of Freeholders’ for my dedication to keeping Newark girls safe.
I was also honored by The Rutgers University Newark Women’s History Steering Committee as one of their “No More Hidden Figures: Honoring and Recognizing the SHEROES Among Us” honorees.
I have also received the below awards:
Bennett College Northern New Jersey Alumni Associates - Black Girl Magic Award 2017
Rutgers University Newark Appreciation for Outstanding Service Award by Social Work Dept. 2017
Unified Vailsburg Services Organization – Community Service Award 2017
Prudential Center & New Jersey Devil Newark’s Cornerstone Finalist 2017
Newark Mentoring Movement – Movement in Newark Future Youth Award 2017
Horizon & Dee Marshall - Win, Rock, Rule Women Empowerment LeadHER Award 2017
The State of New Jersey Senate Resolution Honoree by Senator Rice 2017
Girls on The Rise – Girls Empowerment Award 2016
Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church – Women Empowerment Award 2016
Newark Circle of Sister – Mentorship Award 2015
New Vision Tabernacle CME Church WOW Ministry - Women in Ministry Award 2015
Central High School Alumni Associates - Merit for Mentorship & Community Service Award 2013
RULES/PRINCIPLES:My goals; I can't talk about. However, my most important principle I live by is my favorite quote: “Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful” - Annette Funicello.
I tell myself every chance I get to remember that we all make mistakes; but it should not keep me from living a wonderful life.
OUTLOOK:I'm married to Andre Frison, we are foster parents of a beautiful 11 year old girl. I have 6 sisters and 3 brothers. We purchased our first home in the city that we were both raised in born - Newark, NJ. My hobbies are spending time with my family and love ones, traveling and giving back to my community.
CONTACT INFORMATION:Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc.
P.O. Box 668
Newark, NJ 07101