It’s taken me quite some time to visualize a way to express the feelings of gratitude ignited in me after the 2nd Annual Doris Denise Jackson DReamergency Walk, held Saturday November 30, 2019 from 10:00am to around 1:00pm at Anita Favors Thompson Plaza at Lake Anita in my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida. This was a free event for all attendees. Our village truly showed up and made a memory we will all cherish forever. First and foremost, Thank you to each and everyone of you.
During the planning process, which lasted a few months prior to the event, the staff with the City of Tallahassee helped me long distance to locate the perfect venue. Unfortunally, I wouldn’t be able to see the spot until the day of since I live in New York so I prayed hard… I mean hard. At this point, I was walking in blindsided. Basically, I had to plan my ideas in my head until the day before the event. It had to be perfect for the kids in attendance. Inspiration and fun were at the top of my priority list.
The months leading up to the event we introduced the Doris Denise Jackson Scholarship Foundation which provides scholarships to disadvantaged DReamers, youth leaders and community activist, future professionals including doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and much more. Our mission is simple: Inspire kid DReamers in disadvantaged and underserved communities. Our scholarship committee including myself, my fiance’ (IG: @foreignblaxx), and my cousin Greg, deliberated through 22 applicants from all over the country including the following locations:
- Tallahassee, Florida (8)
- Owings Mills, Maryland
- Washington, D.C. (2)
- Merillville, Indiana
- Crawforville, Florida
- Michigan City, Indiana
- Siler City, North Carolina
- Jackson, Mississippi
- Humble, Texas
- Troy, Alabama
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Belleville, Illinois
- Omaha, Nebraska
- Austin, Texas
We numbered essays submitted by applicants and 5 lucky Scholars became the Inaugural Doris Denise Jackson Scholarship Recipients 2019 representing Tallahassee, Florida and Belleville, Illinois.
First and foremost thank all of our applicants for taking the time to apply, keep applying yourself until doors begin to open, you all can be anything you want to be in this life. To our DDJ Scholars, you all have a very bright future. Keep shining and never be afraid to assert your knowledge. Keep growing and learning until you reach the highest potential of your life. Never waste time. We the village are so very proud of you.
Elijah your smile brightens up the room. Keep getting Honor Roll and making your mom proud future doctor. Hard to believe your mom and I were childhood BFF’s from Nims Middle School to the hallways of Rickards High School. You’re in great hands kid, keep saying your affirmations and rising King.
Kiana your a breathe of fresh air, so poised, graceful, and a Queen. You are a leader, keep shining and being beautifully you. I am so excited you want to be a future doctor. The sky is the limit with your amazing support system.
Janai thank you for being such a beautiful, glowing spirit. Your smile is contagious. I am so glad we connected. Keep being a leader and boss Queen, you’re going to make a difference in the world.
Mikayla you’re a true Queen. Your strength and wisdom is encouraging. Thank God I met your mother, I can tell her inspiring energy dwells inside you. Keep being strong minded, gorgeous, and aiming for those Big DReams. I am with you, DReam BIG or go home.
LaNiyah, where do I begin, every since I saw your mom first post you, I knew you were special. Congratulations of your continued success in college. Thank you for making an impact in the community and showing other Queens that knowledge is power, dignity is respect, and all things are possible. I was super excited to read your story. Keep spreading your butterfly, the village is proud.
DReamergency Walkers we are highly excited of our DDJ Scholars.
Meet Our Doris Denise Jackson Scholars
With an initial endowment of $1250, I was able to award $250 each towards the Scholarship Fund to began seeding back into the community. It’s very imperative to not only help children visualize their potential, but also inspire them to DReam bigger than their eyes can see. Our environment and quality of life can flourish if we take the time to invest in our youth, help them reach their goals. Although that amount may not be much, it’s the perfect setup towards a goal that helps kids in communities like the ones I remember on the route to my dreams. And I know, every dose of inspiration matters.
The night before was calm but chaotic at the same time. Foreign Blaxx and I, stayed up until around 4:30am loading supplies into the car, rehearsing our lines for the event, tidying up the house, reviewing the budget, thinking of last minute strategies, and confirming literally every detail. By 6:30am we’d gotten enough rest to head over to the venue.
Immediately I began blowing up balloons for the arch and decor. In order to stay on budget I decided to design the arch and save a ton of money. But it did come with a price. By the time help came, my aunt Linda, the twins Omari and Omarion, and Greg aka “Duke,” my fingers were bleeding.
Thank goodness for the electric balloon pump and helium tanks we ordered. They save tons of time and made our last minute balloon pumping assembly line come to life. My aunt pump 4 red, followed by 4 black, and 4 white to create a distinct pattern, with the white ones being a tad bit smaller than the red and black to give a unique design. Foreign Blaxx rans last minute errands gathering items ice, filling up the bases for the arch with water, and a few other major tasks. My cousin Duke and I finished the design and up went the arch and balloon design. The location was actually perfect. Before we even began early morning walkers and runners along Cascades Trail on FAMU Way waved as they jogged under our arch. Teamwork makes the dream work.
My long timefriend Gracie arrived a little before the event and began chalking the concrete with positive affirmations. In the meantime I chalked the names of our DDJ scholars in the sidewalk as the time ticked away.
The day before I had a difficult time finding the location so I knew that would be an issue on the day of the event but every eventually found it and promptly at 9:00am the butterflies escalated and folks began to show up. Guest were greeted with light breakfast of fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges), granola bars, and orange juice. I was super nervous. This was my first time doing a public motivational speech since… seems like forever. We had around 73 people registered and that can be intimidating but we stayed up all night and planned for months for his day, The 2nd Annual Doris Denise Jackson DReamergency Walk.
Our t-shirt vendors DnB Custom Drip arrived promptly with the shirts and I immediately got dressed on site, no time for makeup or hair. Just straight to business. Working with Bianca, co-CEO of the company was a pleasure. The shirts came out amazing and they got the point across, 9-1-1 our DReams are an emergency! Period. They photographer of Sand n Photos arrived and captured great details of the event.
My aunt, picture lady, had her camera in tow. She was also in charge of registration and passing out t-shirts, she did a fabulous job! Together we were able to have memories for years to come of great day.
Thank God for my cousin Evelyn as well, she showed up and realized we needed a microphone. The rental shop had already loaned it out before we could reserve it, unfortunately. Never hesitating she offered to go back home to get her mic and speaker. God always makes everything work out in the end. The mic made a huge difference.
Foreign Blaxx was such a great host, he kept the crowd entertained and made the event flow flawlessly. I personally want to thank him for his dedication behind the scene and the day off. Without you none of this would be possible. I wanted to sleep so bad but you kept me focused. It really paid off. I love you and appreciate you beyond words.
He introduced the itinerary, welcomed the DReamergency Walkers, and introduced me for a prayer. I believe prayer is the best way to start any event. Positivity and peace are released when you pray. Next the DReamergency Walkers repeated the “DReamergency Walk Pledge”:
Today I make a stand for my DReams. Today I vow to follow my DReams and never allow anything or anyone to delay the process. I am my own competition. I have faith that everything I can imagine will come true with hard work, patience, dedication, persistence, and drive. I am strong. There is no one better to be than myself. Today I am a leader. Today I forgive myself for all my mistakes. Even if life is hard, I will continue fighting to make my DReams come true. My challenges help me grow. I have the power to make my DReams come true. I am a part of the village.
Immediately after, we cut the ribbon welcoming our village to the 2nd Annual and the kids in attendance participated in our signature DReam Hunt in which they search for eggs around the grass and concrete bench type seating area. Each egg filled with $1 up to $5 was sure to spark excitement to the tiny toddlers, children, tweens, and teens. Next was the World’s 1st 1K #MotivationaWalk dedicated to inspiring kids to DREAM!!!! In my head I was having so much fun, it was literally an entire blast.
Our village march down Cascades Trail as I chanted affirmations to hopefully motivate others, especially the youth to aim for higher knowledge and wisdom at all times. We wanted to make sure that each child felt that nothing, after this day, would be impossible. We also desired to spark a light in the village that makes each of us responsible to making sure we protect the youth, acknowledge their goals and dreams, and treat them with love.
After the walk I delivered a speech titled “We are the Village.” As I discussed the importance of building strong support systems and solid foundations in our family and community, it was my goal to boost the morale of everyone in attendance. Together we can accomplish much more than we ever could alone, especially when it comes to protecting the village.
The Scholarship recipients remained the highlight of the event. During the Scholarship Ceremony each of our recipients, Elijah Lawson, Kiana Williams, Janai Davis, and LaNiyah Lee participated in a white dove balloon release before accepting their award.
Towards the end of the event, my uncle (Jeff’s Computers in Tallahassee, Florida) arrived with subs. Thank to Tammerell for making sure lunch was served without an issue. It sure made for a perfect ending to our event. Once again, it takes a village. If I left anyone out I still thank you in the spirit. We paired the subs with chips, drinks for a light lunch. As I took pictures with all the guest, family, and friends it was hard to believe the 2nd Annual Doris Denise Jackson DReamergency Walk was over.
It was great meeting Latarsher, a friend I met through social media, my aunt, cousins, sister in law Torie and nephew Kaliph, the scholarship recipients family, childhood friends, supporters recruited by my aunt, and long term sisters Gracie, Shawanna and her family.
It was fun walking with the village for a cause greater ourselves.
The importance of planting seeds reaches further than we can see.
Through our foundation and with future walks we hope to travel to other disadvantaged communities to host walks and giveback to kids fighting to keep their dreams alive. But we can’t do it alone.
Do you desire to giveback to a cause that directly impacts the youth in disadvantaged and underserved communities? Do you have a passion to make a difference in the world by planting a seed that helps future professional leaders flourish into roses out of concrete? Help us increase scholarship funding and grow this event by becoming a Virtual DReamergency Walker or Scholarship Donor Today.
Thank you to all the donors, vendors, DReamergency Walkers, and members of the village for supporting our cause. To my village of family and friends, I love you all. We are on to the next one. November 28, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida! Stay tuned. Be sure to follow us on all social media platforms (Instagram: @dreamergencywalk)
We accept donations year round for our organization The Doris Denise Jackson Foundation Inc.
If you have questions or would like to learn more or volunteer email us at @firstname.lastname@example.org