We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiahnna Patton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kiahnna, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
The most important thing I did was to wait. I remember my doctor telling me at age 35 that I was old and needed to hurry up and have a baby. Being labeled as a geriatric mother didn’t phase me and I was in no rush to be pregnant sooner than I was ready. At 43 years old I had my little boy, and I am the happiest (and most tired!) I’ve ever been in my life. The wait allowed me to have so much more to give him than I would have at say, 25. At my current age I have traveled the world, earned 2 masters degrees, started a nonprofit, opened and closed businesses, purchased a home, been published and written about, and have led a fantastic life that has only sweetened with the birth of my son. I know who I am and what my purpose is. My values are solid and I’m in a good place financially. I have so much more in my life toolkit to impart upon my little guy. It will be normal for him to hop on a flight to a foreign land, it will be no big deal for him to start a business, he will understand the importance of education, and be set up for massive success. I’m proud to have waited, and believe it will have a phenomenally positive impact on my child.
What should our readers know about your business?
At CALE Now we create opportunities for underserved children to build confidence, make friends, give back, and travel internationally. I’m so proud of the work our team has done, and look forward to many more years of building tomorrow’s global leaders. While our program is an 8-week summer adventure for the children, the lessons they learn to build financial acumen, character, and leadership skills, last a lifetime. They see new possibilities as they travel to lands that are very different from their own, as they interact with facilitators who teach and are examples of who they can aspire to be, as they taste food they’ve never eaten, listen to music they’ve never heard, and help people they’ve never met. I’ve learned that the highest priorities with the work we do are to have a positive impact and to personify our organizational values. Among other things, we challenge ourselves to be better every day to create a non judgment atmosphere for the children, and make sure they remember to have fun. For some children we are their sanctuary, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. During these challenging times we’ve had to be agile and move from an in-person program to an online format so that children can still take advantage of the CALE Now program. We decided to open the program to any child (ages 11-14) interested in having the developmental experience of a lifetime. We look forward to the next class of CALE Kids who will continue the legacy of this wonderful organization that I get to lead.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Dream Team includes a host of people who deserve recognition. My parents: Yasmin Baskin-Griffin, Walter Griffin III, and Louis Patton, who actively support everything I do. My CALE Now! cofounder and sister for life: Angele Cade. My siblings who look to me to blaze the trail: Louis, Yahnese, Armon, Kiarri, Talaun. My amazing friends: Christopher Lee, Norman Coulter, Jr., Golden Butler. All of the wonderful people who have supported CALE Now!, including our current board member Sergeant Keith Mott, and all of our CALE Kids. My legacy, my heart, and my #1 son: Myles.