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Being Happy Despite All of The Sadness

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

I feel we are all constantly evolving and changing. We are learning from our experiences and moving forward. Recently, I had to sit in my emotions and allow them to flow. Often it seems that pushing feelings to the side to continue moving forward is the right thing to do. You know, wanting to keep everything flowing and doing what I am supposed to do. But, I have found that giving myself grace and time has made me more productive and focused. I have learned that sometimes you need to scream, cry and eat a pint of ice cream. Do you ever feel that way? Like you just want to dig a hole and cry in it? Well, I say let yourself. That does not mean we get to live in the hole, only that we need a layover in the hole to truly understand where we are and where we stand. I know having immense feelings, emotions, empathy and a giant heart is an advantage to leading others, but if I don’t take care of myself and learn what to express and what to withhold, it will all come spilling out and bubble to the surface.

As leaders, we are faced with living by example. As business owners, parents, and community members we try to put our best foot forward. But what if our vulnerability is what the world needs to see instead? At our last two meetings with the Northern Calvert and the Charles County Women’s Networking groups, I told my story. I told all the things I wish I could hide, but that I know is very important to who I am as a person. With so many sad things happening in our world, and the ongoing isolation that we are experiencing, many of us feel alone in what we are experiencing. We ask ourselves, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I be strong? Why does everyone around me have it figured out? And don’t get me started on Facebook...

I won't lie. On Facebook, I try to portray the best of myself in all aspects of my life. That does not mean that nothing negative is happening. I feel Facebook is a public place for a public face. This is where we come in as Dream Queens. We are a support system all our own. We come together monthly to learn from each other, to be authentic, and be supportive. The authenticity we share in our spaces is uncommon and dare I say frowned upon by the general ‘networking’ world.

My message to you this month is YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are worthy, powerful, and unique. Your journey is your own and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else. Be your true authentic self as much as you possibly can around those you want to do business with. People can smell fake and know when someone is being true to themselves. Do not hide behind a mask of what you feel you people want to see. They want to see YOU. The real you.

The last few months have been difficult, to say the least. I have experienced betrayal from the person I trusted the most in the world. My reality had to shift and my emotions had to adapt. I went through all the stages of grief and am still working through them. I appreciate the time we share in our rooms so that I could express fully what I was experiencing and find strength in those who had a similar experience in their journey. Knowing I’m not alone, and this will pass in time, has been all I could hold onto at times.

I joke and tell people ‘you are not special.' You are not the first one to experience loss, divorce, career changes, money issues, and the plethora of other issues we as humans encounter. What does make us special is who we decide to be on the other side of these uncontrollable circumstances. Our decisions are what define us. We can regret and mourn the past, we can worry about the future, but in the end, what we all only have is the present. And as they say, ‘it is a present.’ I am choosing to be the best I can be in the moments I am living them. I am choosing to know what my heart and mind need as I move forward. I am choosing to share as much of myself with you as possible so you will know the true authentic person that I am. I am choosing our Gals Lead Program and Dream Queen Networking. I am choosing each of you.

I hope my words have given you a bit of comfort and you will share the message of the Dream Queens with your community. We are positive, passionate, purpose-filled women who come together to support each other, share our dreams, overcome our obstacles, and help the next generation of women to be their best selves.

Meeting with Charles County Board of Education

Maryanna had a successful meeting with the Charles County Board of Education speaking with Dr. Navarro and Sylvia A. Royster Director of Community Engagement and Equity, to discuss Gals Lead Clubs in the schools. Sylvia will be the continued contact person as we work to implement our curriculum in the schools.

The primary focus is on schools that have already shown interest and middle schools that are looking for mentorship programs. There are a few more steps the board needs to take before final approval and we are confident we will be able to start at least four new clubs in the community!

This opportunity has led to the increased need for mentors in Charles County to serve these students. If you or someone you know is interested in mentoring teen girls (she/her/they/them) in Charles County please review and fill out the form below.

Meeting with the Charles County Chamber of Commerce

Shout out and thank you to Bonnie Grady and Kathy Russell of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce for their meeting facilitation and support. Maryanna attended the Charles County Chamber of Commerce open house in July and was greeted with open minds and hearts by the members present. Kathy gave Maryanna the opportunity to speak about Gals Lead and the need for school facilitators specifically in Charles County. A few members showed interest in assisting with expanding into more schools and becoming mentors. We are excited to partner further with the Chamber to make Gals Lead accessible to all teen girls (she/her they/them) in Charles County.

Grant Awarded by Charles County Charitable Trust

The Dream Queen Foundation wants to thank the Charles County Charitable Trust for awarding $15,000 in grant funding and $5,000 in ARPA funding to support the expansion of the Gals Lead Teen Club Program in Charles County. This funding, in addition to other donors, will allow the organization to expand into more middle and high schools in Charles County, MD. We are grateful for their belief in us and our mission. For more information about the Charitable Trust, click here:

Grant Awarded by Southern Maryland Women's League

The Southern Maryland Women’s League awarded $15,000 over the next two years to the Dream Queen Foundation! Maryanna and Tonya Holman presented to the Southern Maryland Woman's League (SMWL) in competition for the funds against two other great non-profit organizations. The SMWL chose Dream Queen Foundation in a very close vote. We are honored to be seen as a worthy cause that is going to change the lives of teen girls (she/her/they/them) in Charles County. We promise to do our best to make you proud and look forward to the continued partnership with SMWL.

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