Giving back and spreading L.O.V.E.
For families living in the inner cities of the nation, many if not all of us are heartbroken upon receiving news of a recent arrest or shootings that continue to claim so many young and precious lives, every day. While the faces of our children, brothers and sisters are depicted on television screens and Internets sites as victims and/or criminals, there are thousands if not millions of people from these same exact families that make it their point to spread love, hope and inspiration throughout our communities.
These stories of empowerment deserve more attention. In Oakland Ca., we have seen numerous examples of what it means to roll up your sleeves and get involved in the extensive community building taking place every day, most often, right under our noses. Sadly, the publicity of this process often overshadows the personal tales of passion and triumph. To me it feels good to know that with so much going on in the world today, we can look around us and find people with many new and insightful ways to give back to our communities. I wanted to know what giving back looks like to some of the people I know from around town. So I spoke to Nikkole Ballard, founder/CEO of L.O.V.E. to L.O.V.E, and I want to share some of our conversation with you.
So, I see that L.O.V.E. to L.O.V.E. is an acronym. What does it stand for? L.O.V.E. to L.O.V.E. stands for Let Our Voice Encourage to Lead Oppression and Violence to an End. We’re a violence prevention nonprofit organization, where we mentor individuals to be in a state of psychological and emotional well-being, lessening their violent behavior.
What is your mission? It is to uplift and encourage ALL to overcome oppression and violence; to promote compassion and respectful engagement among the human race; to embrace love.
How long ago did you first envision this organization and what made you want to do this type of work? Well, L.O.V.E. to L.O.V.E. was founded in 2012. I always knew I would do something for the community and about 3 years ago is I when I knew I wanted to start a nonprofit. This has been my passion and the more I keep going the more I find my way. Our community has suffered a lot. As time goes on, I just saw things getting worse. I believe in the community and in our youth, but if we as parents and community members don’t unite, this will be a failed mission. It takes a tribe to raise a child…
So what type of activities are you doing? What kind of results are they having? We outreach to the community about who we are and what we’re doing and have received a lot of support from the community. First on our agenda is our program called L.O.V.E., which stands for Lets Overcome Violence in Education. It’s an anti-bullying program designed for middle schools, working with youth 11-14. Bullying is an early form of aggressive-violent behavior, which can lead to criminal behavior as an adult. Our programs focuses on changing the way one thinks, cognitive restructuring, leading them to be more empathetic individuals. Our goal is to pilot the program this coming school year, 2013-2014.Looking towards working with schools in (Oakland) districts 5, 6, and 7.
“Our community has suffered a lot. As time goes on, I just saw things getting worse.”
So you are trying to help a lot of different groups. How exactly do you think your program helps? A lot of Individuals are depressed or having Anxiety or have an addiction, or are engaging in activities that are going to lead to that. So we want to prevent that or treat that. Especially because people of color don’t often seek healing, we create programs where they can heal. We also walk through the streets of Oakland, approaching the public. I want to have a safe community! I want people to get a sense of love among them because sometimes traumatic events do occur and we want to ensure that hurt people do not continue to hurt people.
What do you tell people who are trying to get help? I direct them to the correct resource; therefore they continue to get the things they need to sustain their life.
“I believe in the community and in our youth, but if we as parents and community members don’t unite, this will be a failed mission.”
Can people volunteer with your organization? For people who believe in our mission, there are many ways to pitch in. We’re looking for people who have psychology and/or social work backgrounds to help design programs. If you have a friend or a sister or an aunt and they want to support they can, we have fundraisers that folks can take to work with them and sell See’s candy and scented candles. We participate in food drives and clothing drives that’s year round. So we need people to help cook to go out and feed the homeless and to let folks know that there is love in the community.
What is the overall message that you want people to have? I want everyone to have a healthy state of mind; therefore they make positive decisions in life.
So are you online or and social media? Our website is http://www.justlovetolove.org, our Facebook is under Nikkole Ballard – L.O.V.E. to L.O.V.E., our Twitter is @justlovetolove Thank you for the support loved ones……and remember to LOVE to LOVE!
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