J’sai has been with Girls Inc. of Huntsville for six years. She describes herself as motivated, thoughtful, and hardworking. She said the biggest thing she learned during her experience in the program was the [mission], “Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold, I take that with me everywhere I go, and remember it in everything I do”
“This program is important in our community because some people use programs like Girls Inc. as a safe place,” she stated, “For example, if someone feels like they don’t have any friends or anyone to talk to, they could come to Girls Inc. where they have plenty of friends. They could also develop their self-confidence, and learn to become a better person.”
Her time with Girls Inc. of Huntsville has allowed her to find new interests for her to explore. Her most impactful memory was when someone visited our summer camp program to teach the girls how to braid hair. J’sai said excitedly, “I already knew how to do a basic braid, but she taught me how to braid to the scalp. When I got home, I kept practicing on my dolls and on my own head. Then I started doing my own braids. I feel like this is part of the reason I became interested in doing hair.”
She’s currently a freshman at Oakwood Adventist Academy High School in Huntsville, AL. After graduating, she plans to serve in the Air Force for 4 years before going to Cosmetology School. After she learned how to braid hair at Girls Inc., she was inspired to get her cosmetology license so she can express herself through work all while doing something she enjoys.
When asked who she looks up to, J’sai mentions Malala Yousofzai, “Malala fought for justice, and she never gave up. She got shot when she was only 15 and she survived and continued to speak out on how important education is. Her hard work paid off, and she was only 17 when she became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala’s story inspires me to keep pushing.” She expressed how she learned, through Malala’s story, that life is going to throw you numerous challenges. She knows that people are just not going to like you or want to see you be successful. J’sai affirms that the voices of discouragement and the challenges should motivate you and inspire you to keep moving forward so you can prove those people wrong.
The main message she wants to send to girls locally and abroad is to uplift each other, bring each other up instead of tearing others down. “It’s a lot going on in the world right now and I feel like we all just need words of encouragement, and positivity right now.”