WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A mother-daughter duo in West Palm Beach is on a mission to help high school students become successful young women.
You don't have to sit down long with mother and daughter Tracey and Amaris Graham to tell they are related.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Inspiring South Florida
Amaris is the eldest of Tracey’s two daughters, and Graham said she is the inspiration behind the Ladies of Futurity (LOF) organization.
"She struck me," said Tracey of her daughter, Amaris. "At the time she was a teenager, and I just saw there were various things that she as a teenager needed, and possibly other girls in the community would need that same thing."
The Grahams' nonprofit and brainchild is fueled by faith, specifically the scripture Proverbs 31:25: "Strength and honor are her clothing, she rejoices over her future."
The Grahams have a lot to rejoice about.
LOF helps roughly 35 young ladies each year and works to mentor, motivate and inspire them through community service, the pursuit of higher education and fostering leadership skills.
Amaris describes some of the skills successful participants are able to achieve.
"To be able to walk into a board room and let everybody know, 'yes, I am a woman, and I am a double minority. However, I am able to do exactly what you’re asking me to do and more."
Nakaiyah Alexander is an alum of the organization and one of their many success stories.
Alexander said she has come a long way.
"There’s a lot of girls that come into this organization very shy, and I was that girl, that ninth grader that didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t know how to introduce myself to people," Alexander said.
Now, an active college freshman, Alexander said one of the things she values the most from Ladies of Futurity is the feeling of family.
"It’s like they’re another mom for me, so they do instill different things in me to help me become that lady who can be the Kamala Harris of the world or be whoever it is that I wanted and how to get there,” Alexander said.
Ladies of Futurity parent Triesta Hatten agrees the group is like a family.
"It takes a village, and I believe the LOF was part of my daughter’s village," Hatten said.
While participants and parents think the world of them, it’s clear the Grahams think the same of each other and the ladies they work with.
When speaking about her mom and cofounder, Amaris is grateful.
"She could've focused on her, and she could have continued to focus on me, my sister and her family; however, she took the time to be a mother to more than 35 girls per year. That, nobody can sit and say they're not proud of."
They are helping raise girls into strong women above and beyond glass ceilings.