Reach — your reach is one of the most important elements of your legacy. Who are you reaching? How far does your reach go? I strongly feel that you have to do the work to reach the people who need it the most. Reach creates change. That’s something that can’t be bought and takes time and real effort to establish. It’s the reason we do what we do.
For someone who wants to set aside money to establish a Philanthropic Foundation or Fund, what does it take to make sure your resources are being impactful and truly effective? In this interview series, called “How To Create Philanthropy That Leaves a Lasting Legacy” we are visiting with founders of Philanthropic Foundations, Charitable Organizations, and Non Profit Organizations, to talk about the steps they took to create sustainable success.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deidre Price.
Deidre has over 10 years of project management experience implementing projects for some of the largest corporations in the world. Specializing in the oversight of business initiatives vital to the success and profitability of major organizations, she devotedly brings superior delegation, strategic planning, and an innovative approach to team management to the Jayce’s Journey Inc. team. Deidre, who is Jayce’s mother and primary caregiver, founded Jayce’s Journey Inc. after discovering the need for education and transparency amongst minorities as it relates to Autism.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about a ‘top of mind’ topic. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
Most people don’t know much about my life story. I’m one of those people that don’t look like what I’ve been through. I dealt with a lot of death at a very early age. My best friend died in a fire on my 13th birthday along with 3 other children, so my first funeral was 4 children in caskets at the front of the church which was pretty traumatizing. A year later my brother was murdered at the age of 21 so I dealt with a tremendous amount of grief. As a result, I dealt with depression as a teen but back then we didn’t really know much about mental health. As I grew into a young adult, I was always self-sufficient. I lived on my own since I was 17 and learned pretty young to get through tough situations by any means necessary and without much emotional support or guidance on how to do so. Those experiences definitely turned me into a survivor. As an adult now, I can appreciate my experiences and find peace in the fact that they’ve molded me into the person that I am today. I’m now able to pull strength from within and tackle some of the toughest challenges gracefully.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? We would love to hear a few stories or examples.
Number one would definitely be hustler mentality in a sense of always creating ways to make things happen. Never giving up and never getting too comfortable in any situation. Always wanting more and always wanting better. My name means everything to me so I’m very particular on what I attach myself to and I’m very much so a quality over quantity type of person, so I thrive on always executing at the highest level. Number two is relationship building. I’ve been able to create businesses and support myself financially simply based off having amazing relationships with some great people. Friendships turned into business partnerships have been the biggest part of my success thus far. Lastly, but probably most importantly, just being a good person. I’ve found that people are much more willing to support you, build with you, and want to see you succeed when you’re genuinely just a good person. You don’t come across many people these days with a heart like mine, and I’m fortunate to have people who can see my heart and who’ve reciprocated the same love and respect that I’ve given them. That’s priceless.
What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made since you started leading your organization?
What is most interesting is that there are so many parents of color that are silently going through their own journey with their child having Autism. As a personal example, after I publicly shared my story, I found out that someone very close to me had never disclosed to me that their child has Autism. With that recent discovery, I have learned that the same individual had not disclosed that information to their best friends of 30+ years. It’s shocking that someone who we’ve known on a very personal level for so long either never felt comfortable enough to tell us or for his personal reasons decided to be extremely private about it, even to the point where he never told his best friend. Although I completely respect each person’s privacy and I understand why a person would choose to be private about such a sensitive matter, it saddens me because I can’t imagine having to navigate this journey without the love and support of the people closest to me. It also brings to light how many people are living in silence with such a heavy burden on their hearts.
Can you please tell our readers more about how you or your organization intends to make a significant social impact?
We want to start by getting the conversation started. Educating our community and advocating for awareness so that we can identify traits in children during their early years and encouraging early intervention services. The brain develops the most in the first 5 years of a child’s life and the foundation for learning and behavior are laid during that time so early intervention is crucial. In addition, we want to curate a community that supports not only children but their families as well. Autism affects the caretakers and family members just as much as the individual who is diagnosed. We want to support the family member’s mental health by creating a community that can fellowship during programs and events as well as provide resources and financial relief when needed.
What makes you feel passionate about this cause more than any other?
Jayce is the reason! He’s the most important person in my life. Being his mother is the most important job I’ve ever had. People tell me all the time ‘God picked you to be his mother’ and at first, I didn’t fully understand what that meant. I totally get it now. This is my destiny & God used the one thing that means the most to me to bring forth a vision that is Jayce’s Journey Inc. As a young black man, he’s already at a disadvantage and as a mother I have to worry about him making it home safely or being treated unfairly because of the color of his skin. Him having a disability makes it even harder & that’s scary for me. I want him to grow up in a world that accepts him, understands him, & values him. I want him to grow up and see that I loved him so much that I had to advocate for him at the highest level and create a better world for him to live in, & that’s exactly what I plan to do.
Without naming names, could you share a story about an individual who benefitted from your initiatives?
When we released our launch video and told our story for the first time, I received an overwhelming amount of support and feedback from people who have loved ones on the spectrum. I connected with a young lady online who also has a 3-year-old son. I invited her, her son, and her son’s father to join us at the LA Clippers game to celebrate the foundation’s official launch. She expressed to me how grateful she was for the invite because she doesn’t always feel comfortable taking her son to public places because she doesn’t want to have to explain his natural characteristics to people who may not be able to understand or identify traits of a child on the spectrum. As mothers of special needs children, we’re extremely protective and can be very defensive of ignorant or insensitive comments or jesters. I totally understood that. The fact that she was comfortable bringing him into our Jayce’s Journey family without even meeting me spoke volumes. Meeting her and her family was such a pleasure & I was extremely grateful to be able to facilitate an outing that parents who look like me, think like me and feel like me can come together and just breathe!
We all want to help and to live a life of purpose. What are three actions anyone could take to help address the root cause of the problem you’re trying to solve?
Education and understanding is key. Start by educating yourself on Autism so that you can know the facts as opposed to the myths & misconceptions. Once people understand that Autism has more to do with socialization and communication, they’ll be able to better understand the individuals who struggle with it. Understanding opens so many doors & teaches us patience and acceptance. Secondly, support the family members of individuals with Autism by getting involved. Offer a helping hand of support in any way that you can. Small gestures can go long way whether it’s a phone call, a small gift, or taking them out spending some quality time to get their mind off things. Be present in their lives and make them feel supported. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my village so I can speak from personal experience on how importation support is. Lastly, donate to help us support our community. We have several programs and events lined up to really work hands on with children and their families. Of course, these initiatives cost money so we’re looking for sponsors and partners that are dedicated change agents who genuinely believe in making a difference in underserved communities.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Create A Successful & Effective Nonprofit That Leaves A Lasting Legacy?” Please share a story or example for each.
Jayce’s Journey Inc is off to a great start & I can confidently say that we will leave a legacy.
- Identify a need — a nonprofit organization has to be dedicated to an actual need. In our case, it’s a need for awareness related to Autism within communities of color.
- Possess a genuine desire to help — wanting to help is always great, but a genuine love or desire to create change will last forever. All businesses go through ups and downs and real success is never attained overnight so you have to be willing to give it your all even in times of doubt.
- Dedicated staff — acquire a dedicated staff that believes in the vision just as much as you do. It takes a team to balance ideas and explore different perspectives. Not to mention work long days and night often for little to no pay. Our Jayce’s Journey team is made up of some amazing professionals that are experienced in the nonprofit sector as well as in disability services. Their dedication, perspective, and genuine desire to see change in our community has given us the foundation we need to establish an organization that will reach so many families
- Reach — your reach is one of the most important elements of your legacy. Who are you reaching? How far does your reach go? I strongly feel that you have to do the work to reach the people who need it the most. Reach creates change. That’s something that can’t be bought and takes time and real effort to establish. It’s the reason we do what we do.
- Credibility — these days you hear so many stories about nonprofits and major charity organization’s misappropriation of funds. It’s made so many people weary of donating their hard-earned money for it to be misused. It’s extremely important to use honesty and integrity when allocating funds to protect your name and your brand. It’s also important to be able to show donors that the money they’ve donate is going to good use and making a real difference in the lives of those that it’s meant to help
How has the pandemic changed your definition of success?
The pandemic showed us all how quickly our entire lives can change. The outward things that were once important no longer mattered. I used to think that material things were a measure of one’s success to a certain degree. Now I understand that those things are worthless in a time of real crisis. Success for me is so much more about stability and comfortably for the people I love. Good health, a happy heart and a mind at peace are indicators of success for me at this point. Don’t get me wrong, of course a little money to go along with it helps, but money will always come with hard work. It’s inevitable. Being able to help others in a time when they need it the most, touching someone heart when they had nowhere else to turn, providing a resource that impacted someone’s life for the better…. those are things that fulfill me at this point in my life & I wholeheartedly believe that all those things will come back to me if I do my best and do it from my heart. That full circle is success for me. That’s what makes me feel like I’ve “made it.”
How do you get inspired after an inevitable setback?
I’ve learned that failure is a part of the process and that you have to embrace it. There’s just no way around it. Things won’t always go by way rejection is just redirection and in some cases it’s even protection. There’s never been a time where God took something from me and didn’t replace it with something 100x better. I’ve never missed out on an opportunity without coming across a greater one. So, I’ve learned to go with the flow and get back to work after a setback. I allow myself a short period of time to be down about certain things, but I never dwell there. I get back to work and thank God in advance for what’s next to come.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world who you would like to talk to, to share the idea behind your non-profit? He, she, or they might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would have to say Tony Braxton who’s one of my favorite singers of all time, or Holly Robinson Peet. They’ve paved the way for a black girl like me to have a voice in Autism space. Their transparency gave me two amazing examples of strong black mothers who live fulfilling lives while still advocating for their sons. I would love for them to see how their journeys encouraged me to speak out about ours with confidence and without shame. I have a lot of respect for the two of them and I hope one day someone can relate to me the way I’m able to relate to the two of them.
You’re doing important work. How can our readers follow your progress online?
Readers are welcome to follow our progress by visiting our website at www.jayces-journey.org. If readers subscribe to our emails, they will get monthly updates on Jayce, programs and activities we are hosting. Also, please follow our Instagram (@jaycesjourneyinc).
Thank you for a meaningful conversation. We wish you continued success with your mission.