Saturday, March 14, 2009


It was a year ago today, March 14, 2008 that I walked away from a nine to five position. At that time, my 16 year-old god-daughter (her mother was my college roommate) had been writing a blog for TeenDiariesOnline for almost six months or so. I hooked her up with Aeshia over there after she shared her desire to write with me. I’ve learned that you have to support the dreams of young people from the beginning in order that they grow in a positive direction because that dream might become a reality one day. Well, I usually read her blogs and they were cute. You know, the usual stuff - boys, BFFs, shopping, cell phone addiction. There was one particular blog that struck me. It was called “Coming Out” published in February 2008. Huh? Was there something that she wasn’t telling me? I’ve always prided myself on being able to talk with her about some of the things on her mind, but to be completely honest, I had become so wrapped up in my work (I was/am a workaholic), it seemed like ages since we’d hung out. Perhaps I missed that part where she “came out”. So, like a parent sneaking a peek into their kid’s diary, I clicked it open. In the blog, she stated that at Hempstead High School, where she was a student, “Young boys are starting to act feminine at younger ages…. They start off in denial until they find a friend that is just like them. In my school, they took a student out of the day school program and placed him in the night school program because he was gay and flirted with the straight guys.” My first thought was is this even legal? She continued, “I have male friends that act feminine, but they say they aren’t gay. Those are the type of guys who have sexual intercourse with both sexes, which increases the chance of catching sexually transmitted diseases. AIDS is big among teenagers and with people having sexual intercourse with the same sex it makes the problem even worse.” Ok, so this is a 16 year-old girl, right? Not one of my girlfriend’s chatting about the latest Tyra show. Wake up, Kim. This is what’s going on and it’s real, but rather than judge, what am I going to do about it? I understand that it can be difficult for young teens to “come out of the closet” at such a young age, having unprotected sex during these experimental years can increase the chances of receiving a sexually transmitted disease. I printed out the blog, and it sat on my floor in the proud “god-mother” pile of Chantel stuff for 60 days until right after March 14, 2008, when I was no longer tied to a desk and had the time to follow my heart. I just started writing. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of a successful career largely marketing to an 18-34 year old consumer. Well, keep it real, I know under 18 year-olds were reading VIBE. When I launched chapter two of my professional and personal life last year, I decided that one of the tenets of my five point plan going forward would be philanthropy. This does not always have to mean just cutting a check, hosting or throwing some fancy expensive shindig (don’t get me wrong, these are needed and noble gestures and should not be undervalued). Sometimes, however, it’s just about donating your time, blood, sweat and tears. Take the time to talk to a youth or listen. I was taught that every generation should do better than the one before it. I’m just putting in my work.

In peace and progress,

Kim J. Ford

Chantel’s original blog “Coming Out” can be found at this link:

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