Name of Organization: A LEGACY Left Behind, Inc.
Location: Glenn Dale, Maryland (Prince George’s County)
Years In Operation: 6 months
Mission of the Organization: Our mission is to create a haven where young ladies who have lost a parent or sibling can grieve, grow, and learn to remain grounded from adolescence to adulthood. Our vision is to empower, nurture, rehabilitate, and uplift grieving adolescent girls through mentoring, creative arts therapy, and self-enrichment programs focusing on faith, health, education, self-awareness, and community service.
Name one programmatic highlight within the last year:
One of our core focuses is outreach to young ladies who are dealing with all forms of loss and emotional trauma, not just death. So A LEGACY Left Behind, Inc. held its first holiday drive in 2012 to benefit young ladies in the DC Metro Area living in the foster care system. We distributed hygiene kits through partner organizations: Board of Child Care DC Foster Care Program, CASA of Prince George’s County, Grace Brethren Church, KIPP-DC Charter School, and Mentor Maryland.
We also hosted an empowerment workshop with foster care girls at KIPP-DC Charter School to kick-off the New Year. During the event each participant made vision boards to portray how they would describe their lives in pictures as well as their dreams and goals. The event ended with a party for the girls and each participant also received a hygiene kit from our annual holiday drive.
I truly believe that the storm in your life is designed to prepare you for a cause that is bigger than yourself.- Leatrice Burphy, Founder
Why was this organization started?
The brother of our founder, Leatrice Burphy, was murdered a year after losing her dad to a long-term illness. But the DCPS and PGCPS alumnae turned tragedy into triumph when she launched A LEGACY Left Behind, Inc. Leatrice wanted to create an environment that ingrained one message in bereaved girls: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also very full of overcoming it.”
Leatrice goes on to share, “Pursuing this new chapter in my life was not an easy decision for me. Not only was I financially unprepared to launch to start a non-profit, but I am a very private person. For months, I was hesitant to go forward with the idea because I knew it meant being public in a way I was not fully comfortable with. However, the consistency of a dream was evidence that God was revealing another plan He had for my life. When I thought about the impact this organization could have on the lives of grieving adolescent girls and how sharing my pain could inspire them to get through theirs, stepping out of my comfort zone was worth the risk. While the aim is to inspire our participants to become ambitious, confident, resilient, and phenomenal young ladies in our community, the greatest desire is to decrease the chances of them becoming or remaining an at-risk statistic and prepare them for life after high school.
My story could have had a different ending, but I thank the Lord for never letting me go. I truly believe that the storm in your life is designed to prepare you for a cause that is bigger than yourself. So when my journey here on earth is done I hope I can say that I did the best I could with what I had to fulfill my purpose.”
Why is working with young women who have lost parents or a sibling so important to the black community?
Unfortunately in the black community, most bereaved families cannot afford or do not take advantage of grief therapy, resources, or support groups. Some families are not even aware that there are services available to help them cope with loss.
With the increasing rate of deaths especially among the younger generation over the years, it’s very important for an organization like ours to have a presence in the black community. Not only to provide grief support and mentoring, but to raise awareness about the needs of grieving children and the benefits of them having a strong support system. This is also a means to educate the black community about the painful impact and long-term effects that the death of a loved one can have in a child’s life.