In 2008, Jo Ann Allen and her daughter Kamilah Burrow noticed a need in their College Park community for the empowerment and education of the young women living in the area. Together, they founded One Talent Inc, a non-profit organization that provides cost-free workshops, mentoring, and other activities, to encourage at-risk girls to identify and channel their God-given talents in the right direction. For fourteen years, Jo Ann and Kamilah have been doing the work of the Lord in College Park, meeting with their girls twice a month to promote their talents and prepare them for a vibrant future.
One Talent addresses many topics: financial literacy, theatre, sewing, serving, STEM, and public speaking, just to name a few! Now, their latest venture is in the mental health arena. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Jo Ann noticed that many of the girls participating in her program were initiating conversations about their changing mental health in their ever-changing world. The girls began leading small groups to facilitate these discussions and decided they wanted to go further to help their generation understand what was happening in their heads and their hearts.
Orchard continues to be a worthy investment for our ministry Partners because our consulting program provides cost-free, one-on-one guidance and resources to our non-profit Partners on a variety of topics. Our Orchard Consultants offer expertise in various areas including operations, personal development, creative and spiritual growth. These needs are met during our annual strategic planning meetings with each of our 100+ Partners, as well as a focus on what tools they need to best execute their strategic goals.
In 2021, during her annual personalize strategic planning meeting (what we call a Road Map here at Orchard), Jo Ann approached us with their idea: the girls of One Talent wanted to write a workbook-style journal that walked through different mental health topics, including testimonies, treatment options, and coping mechanisms. We were on board immediately, and connected Jo Ann and her team to a communications consultant named Clara Malson, an expert writer and content developer, to begin the process of building out this resource.
When our consulting season began, Clara began interviewing the girls and professional connections of One Talent to grasp their vision and learn their stories. After a year of relationships with the team at One Talent, Clara help them to create a 70-page journal called “Believing and Becoming” that will soon be published and for sale on Amazon. (Check out a preview of this resources HERE.)
By the 2022 Road Map season, Jo Ann and the girls had created a rough draft of an incredible resource full of inspired stories that spark conversations about identity, bullying, trauma, healthy relationships, and more. But One Talent wasn’t stopping at inspiration; they wanted education too. Jo Ann asked us to help her determine the educational accuracy of the journal before it went to print. Once the content was compiled, Orchard connected One Talent to two different mental health specialists. One, a clinically trained licensed therapist named Sara Black, reviewed the material to ensure its educational accuracy. Another stewarded the spiritual and childhood trauma pieces of the material. Both experts are part of our full list of consultants that we offer through the Orchard Partners program. Altogether, this mental health journal is the product of countless women’s wisdom, talents, and services colliding to become something humbling and beautiful.
Now, One Talent has vetted and polished this student-led resource journal and is set to publish it this summer. This is just ONE example of how our expert consultants directly serve our ministry Partners’ needs. We are proud of this collaborative creation that is the product of two years of hard work. Seeing our ministry Partner’s strategic goals met motivates us to work with these leaders, who are making a huge impact in their communities.