Here at SCYM, it is our great joy to create opportunities for the youth of Springfield that fill their time wisely. Laniyah Stone is one such student I have watched make the most of her opportunities. She began her SCYM journey in elementary school in 2016, attending our Camp Boost summer reading club. During middle school, Laniyah enrolled in our $tart Up youth entrepreneurship program at Hayward.
“I’m a single Mom and I thought $tart Up would be a good way for her to stay busy but it quickly turned into something she loves and is passionate about,” said Whitney Garrett, Laniyah’s Mother.
Laniyah’s company, “Niyah’s Natural Beauty,” features her own line of cosmetics and customized clothing. When I asked Laniyah about her involvement with $tart Up, she had this to say:
“$tart Up has helped me learn that my time is NOW and I can have confidence stepping out in faith because God is with me every step of the way. I hope to build my business through high school and college, but my main dream is to become a nurse, like my mom. Mom always told me hard work pays off and I’ve watched her become a nurse while raising my brother and me. She worked a full-time job and would go to nursing school at night. She graduated on time and was still always there for us.”
Whitney, Laniyah’s mom, also responded on her daughter’s experience with $tart up,
“Laniyah was always very shy and didn’t like to talk in front of people. I believe $tart Up and Mr. Clark really helped get her out of her shell and see that her voice matters.”
“Laniyah has grown into an outstanding $tart Up Entrepreneur. She brings value, not just with her products, but also with the encouragement she gives to the other students. She is a hard worker and I’m grateful to have her in class,” says $tart Up Director, Aaron Clark.
In May 2022, Laniyah was matched with her mentor Crystal Jones, Vice President for Marketing, Diversity, and Community Impact at Clark State College.
“I said ‘yes’ to having a mentor because I thought it would be nice to help me get through this next chapter in my life,” Laniyah explained. “Just talking with her and her sharing her life’s journey and how she got to where she is in life is so helpful. She is also very cool, and we have been able to hang out and do some fun things.”
“Laniyah is very talented, smart, and determined! She has a wonderful support system and will exceed her goals in the future,” Crystal Jones shared.
aniyah met Simone Copeland, SCYM’s Girlpower and Mentoring Director, during her mentor matching process and since she is now in high school, has decided to start volunteering at Girlpower.
“I really like Ms. Simone and I’m thankful she has let me volunteer at Girlpower. This is another opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and pass on some of the skills I’ve learned to the other girls,” Laniyah emphasized when I asked her what her motivation was in becoming a volunteer.
“I’ve been inspired and encouraged to see Laniyah step out and try new things, to share her gifts and talents with others. Her willingness to serve within her family, community and her peer group makes her standout as a leader,” Simone Copeland added.