By: DIVINE Staff Blogger Tiffoni Mitchell
DIVINE: Tell our readers about yourself and LaTrice Ryan Ministries
LaTrice: I have been in the ministry for fourteen years. God has anointed me to be a voice for women who are suffering in silence and wounded; to empower hurting women. I believe that hurt women hurt women but healed women heal women.
DIVINE: What is the upcoming Pretty in Pink Event?
LaTrice: It is an empowerment event for young girls ages twelve to seventeen. This is our third annual Pretty in Pink event.
DIVINE: What inspired you to do this?
LaTrice: We host a lot of our community outreaches throughout the year around the city of Memphis and the Mid-South area. At the last outreach, we distributed a lot of school supplies and different things like that. At the end of that event, I called my team together and told them that from then on instead of handing out,we have to give our people a hands up.
DIVINE: What can the attendees look forward to at the Pretty in Pink event on Saturday?
LaTrice: We are going to do girly things like the free bra sizing and fittings and bring the bras to the young ladies but at the same time we are going to discuss depression and self- esteem. We are going to talk about domestic violence, breast cancer awareness and things that directly affect the urban young teenage girl. We are going to discuss the importance of them having a healthy self-image and let them know that they do not have to be on various social media outlets being scantily clad but they can have respect for themselves and be respected as a young lady and respected for their mind and not devalue themselves. In addition to having the bra fittings of the brand new bras and all the give-a-ways we will have a campus tour of the University of Memphis.
DIVINE: How can people donate bras for Pretty in Pink?
LaTrice: They can go to www.latriceryan.com and click on the Pretty in Pink tab for information regarding bra donations.
DIVINE: What is the purpose of the change of location?
LaTrice: In previous years Pretty in Pink has been held at a church but this year we wanted to give the girls the college experience. For me, when I was younger what inspired me to want go to college was watching School Daze and A Different World. However, this generation of youth don’t have to many shows like that. So I think it is up to us as community leaders and ministry leaders, moms, dads, mentors and role models to be able to provide a positive influence, positive role model and setting for our girls. Letting them know that they don’t have to be Nikki Minaj, they don’t have to devalue themselves. We will definitely be addressing real life issues. Again, we are targeting girls between the ages of twelve to seventeen; sixth to twelfth grade. The most impressionable years for a young woman.
DIVINE: Who are the speakers for the day?
LaTrice: We have Summer Owens, President and CEO of the S.O. What! Foundation. Also, Brandy Flynn who’s a Mental Health Specialist will talk to the girls about depression and suicide. We really wanted to reach out to a Mental Health Specialist to let our young people and even our culture know that counseling does not mean crazy. A person can receive counseling without being labeled as crazy. A representative from Christ Community Health Center will address early detection of breast cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
Every time you log onto social media the first thing you click on is a fight between two girls pulling each other’s hair out. That’s the first thing that you see so it’s a need, it’s a great need.
DIVINE: What inspires you to spearhead outreaches such as Pretty in Pink?
LaTrice: First of all, there is such a great need. I have this mantra that I tell my team all of the time, “We may not be able to do everything but we can do something.” So, it is a great need. Our girls are crying out for attention which is why they act out negatively. They act out sometimes because they need that attention for various reasons. The family dynamics are different from what it was twenty years ago when I was a teenager. The family dynamic is so much different. Children now are latch key kids. They were latch key then too but society is so different. A lot of times dad may be there he may not; it may be a strong mother. It may be two strong mothers or two strong dads, who knows. The family dynamics are so different now. What inspired us to do this is the need in the community, the cry of the community. Every time you log onto social media the first thing you click on is a fight between two girls pulling each other’s hair out. That’s the first thing that you see so it’s a need, it’s a great need. When you turn on the news you hear about the Kroger attack. There were girls in that Kroger attack that were fighting too, that point em,’ out knock em’ out. So it’s a great need.
DIVINE: What has been the community’s response to Pretty in Pink?
LaTrice: It is overwhelming….overwhelming! The first year we did this we had about a hundred girls. This year so far we have nearly two hundred girls that are already registered. Our space is limited being that we are having it at the University of Memphis so we have a limited amount that we are able to accept but, whomever comes, we will make room for them.
DIVINE: Who are you partnered with for this event?
DIVINE: As a teenager who were your mentors?
LaTrice: I had a mentor in the sixth grade that I will never forget. Her name was Dr. Willie Mae Willet and she was my sixth grade teacher at Orleans Elementary School in South Memphis. Another teacher that I can remember from my elementary school was Mrs. Mary Macklin. I went to the Army straight out of high school so my JROTC instructor First Sgt. Shot was a mentor as well. My mother was the greatest inspiration and influence in in my life. It’s true what the studies have shown that parents are the biggest influence in a child’s life. My mother Renee Wilkins is the biggest influence in my life. I saw my mother work hard. My grandmother, that whole giving back element, I guess I picked that up from her. She was the type of woman that would feed the entire neighborhood. She would have my brothers and me delivering dinner plates to people all around the neighborhood on Sunday. Those two women are the biggest influence and inspiration in my life. Along with the teachers that I mentioned. I have been blessed to have strong woman in my life.
My mom and grandmother growing up were my inspiration but my inspiration now would have to be my loving husband Derek right now. He inspires me to go even harder for God. He believes in me and he believes in us and what God has given us as a couple and also as a ministry. He believes in it and he is definitely my biggest inspiration.
DIVINE: What are some things they instilled in you?
LaTrice: They enforced being a lady. After I reached the age that I did not wear pony tails anymore I always had my hair pressed and combed and wore my little mushroom. They taught me about wearing the proper undergarments and how a lady does not leave the house wearing bedroom slippers and a bonnet on her head. Every time we left the house we were properly dressed. Those are a few of the things that they instilled in me and I have instilled in my daughters.
I believe that when we get back to the core of the family and put God back in the family we will see a change in this generation.
DIVINE: What are some of the major problems that you see our youth are facing in Memphis?
LaTrice: It is a lack of guidance and a lack of direction. The Bible says, “My people perish for the lack of knowledge.” Knowledge is also direction and I believe that a lot of times with the youth there is a lack of guidance and a lack of direction because the family structure and family goals have been changed. It all relates back to the family. It all goes back to the family. When we were younger and growing up we had strong women like our grandmothers, we had our grandfathers and our parents. They were all there. But now the family dynamic is so different. It so different that grandmothers may be as young as thirty eight. There are grandmothers that are my age. They are like, “Hey, I’m young and I want to live my life.” So the family dynamic is so different. I believe that when we get back to the core of the family and put God back in the family we will see a change in this generation. We have got to put Jesus in the family and not exclude him any longer. We have excluded Jesus long enough. We need to include Jesus back into the family and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in raising our children. I may have to put my life on hold to raise my children but that is the sacrifice we may have to make as parents in rearing our children. It’s not the teacher’s responsibility; it’s not the principal’s responsibility. It is our responsibility as parents to make sure, to insure our children’s success. God gave those children to us and it is our responsibility to make sure that they are reading and that they are eating proper meals. That we are at home cooking for them not putting all of that junk in them. It is a whole conglomerate of things. We’ve got to go back to the basics. A B & C! It’s the ABC’S. We have to go back to the ABC’S — Act right; Believing in yourself and Change. We can do all the talking in the world but if we don’t implement what we have been discussing, it means nothing. It calls for action on the part of the parents. We have to stop being our daughter’s friend. I have a 24, a 19, & a 15 year old and I am not their friend. One has already graduated from college, one is in her second year of college and one is a tenth grader. We are the same with our sons; we are not our children’s friends. We cannot be their friends; we have enough friends we have to be mommas and daddies. We have to be leaders. As parents we have to guide our girls in the right way. We cannot allow them to get a belly ring at sixteen and expect them to act like a lady. Again, it’s all about the ABC’s. They have to be taught to cover themselves up and not allow their bodies to be misrepresented and to carry themselves as ladies. That is why I believe in having events like Pretty in Pink to expose the young girls, broaden their horizon and not limit them. It is free and open to the public. We want to be able to empower and encourage young girls. Bring them; no problem is too bad for us. We have girls that can help them.
DIVINE: In addition to Pretty in Pink what other outreaches are you involved in?
LaTrice: Every Mother’s Day, we host The Live Through It Empowerment Breakfast. It is free and open to the public. This breakfast is for those mothers who have experienced the loss of a child. I really feel like those mothers are often times overlooked during Mother’s Day. We focus on so many other mothers. Even when a woman’s child has passed on she is still a mother. Often times they will have that void that they have to totally live through. So we have The Live Through Empowerment Breakfast on the Saturday before Mother’s Day for those mothers who have experienced the loss of a child. We have counselors, support groups, inspirational singing, inspirational messages, prayer and we just shower them. They receive nice goodie bags; last year we gave away a massage and a pamper day at the spa. We really wrap our arms around those mothers to let them know that we have not forgotten their pain.
Also, we have Unshakable Faith which is our spiritual meeting that is held in July. Each year five hundred to seven hundred women come together. We have a night of worship on Friday and that is when I deliver the message. On Saturday, we have a luncheon which is really intimate but is all about strategy and how to get a woman to the next level. This year we declared or motto as, “No Woman Left Behind,” so for Pretty in Pink it is only right that we say, “No Girl Left Behind.” All of the outreaches are through LaTrice Ryan Ministries.
I am a divorcee and a survivor of domestic violence, sexual violence and mental abuse. But I am a survivor and overcomer.
DIVINE: Here at DIVINE we like to inspire and encourage our readers to be all that God has called them to be. Will you share some words of encouragement?
LaTrice: Obstacles are only opportunities for God to show how great and mighty He is. No matter what the obstacle is in their life it is not the end. Sometimes we have to stop, regroup, rethink and get back in the game. But, let absolutely nothing stop you. I am a divorcee and a survivor of domestic violence, sexual violence and mental abuse. But I am a survivor and overcomer. If God can do it for me he can do it for anyone. So never ever look at an obstacle as an end. It is never the end. It is not over until you win! Do not accept defeat. I want to encourage everyone to never accept defeat. Sometimes you have to regroup, refocus and that is okay. Regroup, refocus get back into the game and change the game.
Regroup, refocus get back into the game and change the game.
LaTrice Ryan Ministries is a non-profit organization registered in Tennessee. The ministry was designed to enhance individuals by delivering quality resources: spiritual, psychological, educational, financial, and physiological, which will improve the daily lives of individuals and their family members. With humility and generosity of spirit.
Connect with LaTrice Ryan:
The web: www.latricewryan.com
Follow on Facebook: Latrice Ryan
Instagram: LaTrice Ryan