“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”
To empower youth and young adults to use their adversity as the bridge to their personal success.
To re-remind youth and young adults that adversity is an opportunity to grow, to hope, to learn, to heal, to become. This natural life encounter can give young people the audacity to live, to dream, and to see themselves as great!
In a world where college graduation rates are staggering and providing educational resources for students is not of central importance; where death rates are increasing and ages of mothers are decreasing; where there are not many faces of color teaching within classrooms and students of color have difficulty seeing themselves as leaders of our communities, our state, and our country, our young people need to be reminded that they are their greatest hope and have the ability to truly leave an indelible mark on this world.
It is through this conviction that AYA was founded.
After traveling to Ghana in March 2010, Mia connected with her true life’s calling. There, in Ghana, she learned of the tribes and the Adinkra symbols chosen to represent parts of the culture. AYA is a West African symbol that represents endurance and resourcefulness. It is a fern that can grown in difficult places and can outlast much difficulty. For her company, Mia used the name as an acronym– “Adversity Yields Audacity.”
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ― Anaïs Nin
It is necessary that young people of color believe in their gifts and capabilities. They must be reminded to visualize themselves confidently walking in their destinies, owning and writing their own stories and telling them from a heroic, rather than victim, perspective. AYA serves as a vehicle to remind our generation just how special each of us is to the betterment of our country and our world. James Baldwin said, “For these are our children, we will pay for, or profit by what they become.” The time is now.
“I feel a deep responsibility and urgency to share my story. Yes, even the deep and personal parts of it, so that young people get to hear stories that resonate with their own and hear that each of us has pain and each of us has the power to soar above our obstacles and not use our adversity as an excuse for failure,” Mia said vulnerably.
Through AYA, she will use her testimony to empower other young people to be bold enough to believe that they, too, can be the difference by making the choice to tread the road less traveled.
“Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive… then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”