We had the good fortune of connecting with Darika Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darika, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Stopping Cry’s Inc. is a nonprofit that provides the homeless youth with hygiene products. Our nonprofit was established last year in hopes to educate the youth on the importance of hygiene. It is critical to keep your body clean, doing so is vital in reducing and preventing illness. This is especially crucial because of COVID. For example, washing your hands can prevent the spread of germs from one person to another or from one part of your body to another. Also, flossing and brushing your teeth can reduce the likelihood of oral and other diseases. Other factors that can influence hygiene standards include poverty, learning about the consequences of poor hygiene early on is an excellent way to establish proper habits in adulthood. Staying clean and hygienic helps avoid different diseases by reducing the chances of you being ill or hospitalized. Researchers say poor hygiene practices are taken as a symptom of emotional problems or mental illness. This is a key point in why proper hygiene is noteworthy, hygiene can help the youth heal emotionally and build the knowledge they need to become productive in society.
When discussing numeric factors, Statistics state the estimation is 3,306 youth and young adults experience homelessness in Los Angeles County. Among these young people, 31% report current or previous involvement in the child welfare system and 62% report previous or current involvement in the juvenile or criminal justice systems. When learning about this, our organization wanted to target the youth that did not receive proper help after aging out of foster care. The youth we target are living on bus stops, park benches, trains, and cold beach sand. In an article, we learned that because of COVID space was limited for this age group to receive the help they needed. “We are facing numerous unexpected expenses related to keeping our staff and youth safe through this pandemic,” Mark Aston, executive director for Covenant House Toronto, told Global Citizen. “The COVID-19- related health consequences are immediately evident” “Limited resources can result in overcrowded shelters” “Social distancing can be difficult if not impossible” “Unsheltered people lack consistent access to water, soap, and hand sanitizers that help prevent the spread of the virus”. These dynamics listed are behind our contributions to the communities, providing essential items like soaps, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, etc., for the youth to take care of their bodies while experiencing homelessness.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Hey world, my name is Darika Brown, and I am a poet from Inglewood, California. I was raised in the Crenshaw District, born in Inglewood, and I reside in Inglewood Currently. I am 27 years of age and I have earned three AA Degrees and one BA Degree. I was inspired to major in Sociology because I wanted to become a Social Worker and help the youth by adopting juveniles from institutions across America. Last year, I was privileged to start a Non-Profit Organization called Stopping Cry’s Incorporated. Stopping Cry’s Inc. provides essential items like hygiene products to the homeless youth. Later, Stopping Cry’s Inc. mission will also include transitional housing for the homeless youth only. My story begins in Middle School, I was published in the school’s yearbook for the 2009’s graduation, which included my poetry. During that time, writing for me was the “Golden Ticket”, it would be my way of expressing myself to the world and bringing enlightenment to the unheard. As an adolescent, I dreamed of becoming a journalist, surgeon, geologist, zoologist, etc. and in High School my goals shifted. In High School I focused more on poetry, wanting to become a published author. In 2015, while working and attending school full time, I published my first book, 21 Miles to Acceptance. Later, I was featured in three other books from working with homeless veterans. Currently, I have 9 books with my artistic rhythm flowing from one page to the next. The genre’s I love to write about are fiction and poetry. To introduce myself, I have written an artistic bio: MY NAME IS FAULTLESSNESS. UNASSERTIVENESS BIRTH ME, AND POVERTY RAISED ME. UNEDUCATED PEOPLE ARE ALL I KNOW, PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE IN DREAMS (DREAMS ARE FOR SUCKAS). PAIN AND SORROW IS ALL I SEEK DAILY. A YOUNG WOMAN WITH ENOURMOUS SHOES TO FILL. IN TOO DEEP AND SCARED THAT I MAY NEVER DIG MYSELF OUT. A POET STUCK IN HELL AND I HOPE I CAN GO TO HEAVEN IN THE NEXT LIFE, I’VE THOUGHT I COULD STOP OTHER FROM CRYING BUT, STILL, I CRY! THE GUYS USE ME FOR SEX AND THROW ME AWAY. GOD PICKS ME UP AND MOTIVATES ME TO ACCOMPLISH ALL MY GOALS. AS THE BLOOD DRIPS FROM MY MOUTH I DRINK A SIP OF WATER AND GET BACK TO WORK. TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE. PEOPLE ASK ME, DID YOU EVER RECEIVE LOVE AT HOME, WHY ARE YOU SO SAD? MY FATHER GAVE ME MORE LOVE I COULD EVER GRIP WITH MY TINY HANDS, BUT I LET THE WORLD BREAK ME, UNTIL I COULDN’T SEE THAT LOVE ANYMORE. What set’s me apart from other’s is my ability to fight even when I have no more fight in me. I am mostly proud of my nonprofit because I can help people, so they don’t have to struggle like me. I am excited about what I’ve already accomplished and now I’m setting higher goals. The road for me was not easy, I had to tell myself that I couldn’t have much fun, I would budget extremely, and I stressed so much it caused my body to suffer. I overcame the challenges by believing in myself, how can someone understand my story if I didn’t. The lessons I’ve learned is to educate yourself, read, and build wealth not riches. I want the world to know that my brand represents the youth that has been left behind. The youth that needs to understand that germs and bad hygiene can harm their bodies, and how they can prevent diseases and even death if they change bad habits. I want the world to know everyone can help the youth if they try.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting for a week I would take her to the hottest Asian food in Gardena, the name of the restaurant is Triple-T. They have the best detox drinks; I was so in love with the passionfruit drink. I would take her to the lake and go fishing for the first time. I’ve never been fishing it is seems so relaxing. I would take her to the museum of love, just to show her all the items that symbolizes love inside the museum. I would take her to a vegan restaurant near Marina Del Rey just because she loves trying new dishes without meat. I would take her on a hike so we can get lost and stop just to journal about the experiences. We both love clothes so I would purchase tickets for fashion week so we can see the new trends and the beautiful models.
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?
Yes, I would like to give credit to my father, who is also a part of Stopping Cry’s Inc. My father has inspired me and molded me to be the woman I am today. From the young girl writing poetry in the school yearbook. To the young college woman finding her own path. To now being a woman that is setting bars from scratch, my father has been there. Since I’ve published my first book in 2015, my father has been the entire support team I needed. Currently, our board members of Stopping Cry’s are trying to impact the youth on a journey that involves positivity. No gun violence, incarceration, and sudden deaths, but more success, empowerment, and love.