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Young woman overcomes hardships to start foundation

Fortress Women Foundation helps women in distress

Miami Times staff report | 2/13/2014, 9 a.m.
Leiani and Shay

From the age of 12 until she became 23, Shay who asked that her last name not be used says,“I went through conditions and situations that most young girls have never gone through and I hope never has to. I was abused, in a volatile relationship, had low self-esteem and basically felt that I was not worth being around anyone who was of good character.”

To look at Shay from a physical standpoint one would think she had it all together but she didn’t. At one point in her life, she even contemplated suicide. But, she met a young lady, Leiani, who is equally attractive and has high self-esteem and wants to help show others that with hard work and Christ in your life, you can achieve anything you want. Shay is now a member of Antioch of Carol City Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. Arthur Jackson, III in Miami Gardens.

“You need to go back to school and get on the right track,” Leilani said to Shay, who is the same age as she is — 23.

Shay and Leilani both of Pompano are now partners in a business whose aim is “to keep other young girls in school and from going down the wrong road,” and whose name is Fortress Women Foundation, Shay said.

The name implies, as they want it to, a place where young women can get help, and be protected. Both said, we want to help young women caught up in domestic violence and in violent dating relationships get out of them; get those needing help into shelters or “hide-outs,” until the perpetrators are located and brought to trial; help them get jobs; food and clothing and support.

Shay is employed by the Seminole Casino in the marketing department and that company has donated gift bags filled with personal items for several young ladies who have found themselves in stressful situations.

“Leilani and I are now saving our money and looking for sponsors to help us get office space,” Shay said.

On March 29th, beginning 8 p.m. at Finnegan’s River, [301 S.W. 3rd Ave.] downtown Miami, Women Fortress is sponsoring a Fashion Show to raise funds for their business. “Please come out and support us in this effort” Shay said. “People would be so surprised if they really knew the number of young women who need our help. Many of the young ladies who have been murdered trying to get help might be still alive if there were more individuals like me who have gotten help and are now on the right track.”

Leilani and Shay says, “The Spring collection of clothing that will be shown at the fashion show are from several designer boutiques from the area and are beautiful.”

For more information email: thewomenoftodayindustry@gmail.com.