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A hobby is something that someone does in her free time that brings her joy or pleasure. Usually, people have hobbies for their own fun, but how amazing is it when that person’s hobby helps those in need or helps the community as a whole?
After my parents passed away, I turned to one of my hobbies–writing. I started my blog as a passion project to pass the time and put my mind in a better place. But after several compliments, I decided to pursue it further. I am thankful for the community of women who have expressed to me the improvements they have made in their lives due to engaging with my content.
Managing my blog and social community has opened my eyes to the number of everyday people doing extraordinary things to inspire change in their communities, simply doing something they are passionate about.
LaToya Anderson is one of those people. She has taken her hobby of mentoring and educating young girls and turned it into something meaningful that positively impacts her community.
LaToya Anderson, Founder of Girls Aspiring with a Purpose
Passion is defined as having a strong feeling or emotion. It is a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards someone or something. Passion is exactly what drove LaToya Anderson to found GAP– Girls Aspiring With a Purpose.
A Birmingham (AL) native, Anderson has a deep love for her community. She grew up in the Birmingham area, graduated from Woodlawn High School, went to college at Alabama A&M University, and returned to the Birmingham area to pursue a career as an educator. Over the years, Anderson’s passion for mentoring children, especially young girls, extended beyond the classroom. In 2013, GAP (Girls Aspiring with a Purpose) was born.
What is Girls Apsiring with a Purpose?
Girls Aspiring With a Purpose is a mentoring group designed to teach life skills while developing and advocating positive character and self-discipline to girls ages 9-16. Participants get the opportunity to engage in workshops, empowerment sessions, small group outings, social etiquette sessions, and more.
Anderson, an elementary school counselor, is intentional about the experiences that she curates for GAP. The girls recently went on a shopping trip to purchase non-perishable food items, fruit, and hygiene products that they packaged and delivered to homeless people in their area. They also participate in self-image, self-esteem, and drug awareness workshops.
Another project that Anderson is very proud of is GAP’s partnership with the Alabama Power Service Organization. For Earth Day, the Alabama Power Service Organization revitalized a rooftop garden at the Lovelady Center in Eastlake. GAP painted murals for this project.
Not only does GAP focus on community service, but they also get the opportunity to work with mentors for college prep and planning and explore career options and paths.
Anderson also makes sure to host fun bonding activities for the girls as well. They have periodic outings like their recent summer fun outing where the girls played fun games and other bonding activities.
Anderson’s passion for mentoring young girls started off as a hobby but influenced her vision for Girls Aspiring with a Purpose. Something she loves dearly and is so passionate about has become a catalyst for inspiring real change in her community. Anderson’s hobby has, indeed, inspired change in a community.
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