Let’s Thrive Baltimore Client Advocates Increased Funding for Organization to “Do More Good Work
Amalia Boyd has always loved doing things for others. Boyd and her husband, who once served as vice president of their West Baltimore neighborhood association, enjoyed organizing giveaways and hosting functions, esp. those benefitting children.
When Boyd’s 17-year-old son was shot and killed, she found herself in need of help. While attending an event hosted by Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters, Boyd learned about the work of Let’s Thrive Baltimore and was introduced to its founder, Lisa Molock.
“Hearing Lisa speak at that event, I knew that I wanted to learn more about her program. After it was over, I walked up and introduced myself to her,” Boyd said.
Molock shared her contact information and encouraged Boyd to follow up, which she did.
One of the first services that Let’s Thrive Baltimore provided Boyd was finding her a new therapist, one who was best suited in helping her process her grief.
“I love the work that she does with me. It’s amazing,” Boyd said of the therapist that Molock helped her find.
Getting involved with Let’s Thrive Baltimore, both as a client as well as a volunteer, has also helped Boyd process her grief and loss.
“When I first met Lisa, she was doing a lot of back-to-school-type work and holiday giveaways for kids, and that made me happy that someone in the community was giving back,” Boyd said. “If you know Lisa, you know that everything she does is from the heart. She’s trying to help our community through big changes.”
Let’s Thrive Baltimore’s programs and services are beneficial, not only for parents who have lost a son, daughter or family member to gun violence, but, “Lisa also helps out mothers with young children, with people who are coming out of jail and are finding it very hard to get a job,” Boyd said. “Lisa is very, very helpful. She gets the job done.”
Boyd praised the support and opportunities that Let’s Thrive Baltimore has afforded her extended family.
“There are so many benefits that my grandson and goddaughter have experienced. I take them with me and they get really excited to participate. They get to meet so many different, important people in our local community and across our city, people who are doing good, important work.”
Thanks to Let’s Thrive Baltimore, Boyd’s five-year-old grandson and seven-year-old goddaughter had the opportunity to meet with and speak to their mayor and councilman.
“They get to see who is really behind what work,” Boyd said. “It’s exciting for them. When they personally get to speak with an elected official, the smiles on their faces are priceless. Growing up, I didn’t get the chance to experience stuff like that, so I’m proud. I really love that they get to experience that.”
Boyd hopes that Let’s Thrive Baltimore is able to attract increased funding to cover important programmatic costs, such as a “bigger building for the kids and adults, more computer equipment to conduct online job searches, seek resources, work on their resumes, study for their GEDs. Stuff like that.”
Boyd, who currently provides in-home day care services, added that she’s constantly referring people to Let’s Thrive Baltimore.
“One of my day care kids lost her father. I told her mother: Call Miss Lisa, she will help you out. She’ll connect you with resources like therapy and get you the help you need, to cope with this loss, your pain.”
Boyd’s son, Darius Anderson, was killed on Oct. 3, 2009, a case of “mistaken identify,” she explained. “He stopped at the playground on his way home. He needed to change clothes for his afterschool printing job.”
“Darius always had a smile on his face. He was always making someone happy. He kept a smile on his face no matter what. He was such a loving person, and he was very much loved.”
The Healing Garden, a program created by Let’s Thrive Baltimore, honors victims of gun violence such as Boyd’s son. Molock ordered garden stones painted with the names of family members who were killed to be placed in the Healing Garden, and flowers were planted alongside the stones by youth who participate in Let’s Thrive Baltimore programming.
The Healing Garden allows people like Boyd “to go see our loved ones, see the stones in the garden that were painted with our loved one’s names on them when we cannot get to their gravesites.”
“I still feel close to my son when I go to the healing garden,” she said.
Boyd said she’d recommend Let’s Thrive Baltimore before any other program “because I know what the program is doing, the benefits to the community. The help is there when it’s needed.
“I love Lisa, truly I do. I’m a different person now than I was before I met her. Working with Lisa and Let’s Thrive Baltimore, I am more energized, more positive, and stronger than I was before.”