We had the good fortune of connecting with Kandee Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kandee, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Life will send you messages to let you know if you are on the right path. I’ve had hundreds of messages affirming my work, life, and this path I’m on. I’ve also had messages that tell me when I need to change direction or course.
I became the Executive Director of Positive Results Center (PRC) in 2008. There have been many blessings and people I have encountered, but there are a few times that stand out clearly:
One such was in 2013. PRC hosted a conference, Stop The Pain, a Teen Summit on Dating Violence, Sex Trafficking, and Bully Prevention at Cal State Dominquez Hills College. There were over 1000 people in attendance of all ages, ethnicities, and genders. I just finished giving the opening address, releasing everyone to a full day of 40 workshops.
Standing in the middle of the exhibitor’s hall was a young lady; I determined her to be 15 to 16. Something about her made me pay extra attention. She was well dressed and groomed and looked like any other teenaged black girl, but my spirit would not rest until I spoke with her.
As I approached her, I noticed she appeared to be the only person in a sea of people who looked lost! Everyone else was excited and in anticipation of the day! There was no joy or expectation of excitement or wonder in her.
I walked up to her and asked how she was doing. She looked me in my face, eyes never connecting, then looked away without answering. I said, “Let’s try this again,” “Hi, I’m Kandee! How are you?” She said, “fine.” I asked her if she was bored or if she didn’t want to be at the event. She said she didn’t want to be there.
So I asked, “Then why are you here?” That got her full attention. When she looked me in my eyes (for the 1st time), I said, “You got dressed, combed your hair, and you look awesome. But you’re standing here, bored. You could have stayed home, but instead, you’re wasting your time!”
“So I need you to find something and get excited or inspired by it. It could be one of the 40 workshops in the program you’re clutching to your chest, any one of the young men and women in the building, or some of the delicious food provided freely and abundantly for you.” “Now give me a hug (Hug Therapy is a great way for people to connect, feel affirmed, safe, and knowing that there is nothing I want from you, but I want the best for you),” and know that I love you!”
Wow, you would have thought I slapped her! She took a step back, looked at me, and said, “You Love Me! You don’t even know me! How can you love when you don’t know anything about me?”
There were times I didn’t want to be somewhere and never fully took advance of the situation. There were times when I second-guessed myself and missed out on life! I said, “I know you because I used to be you. You have your entire life ahead of you. Go find something that excites you, and enjoy your day!” I hugged her and went on about my business.
In January 2014, I received a call from the Executive Director of an organization that attended Stop The Pain and brought youth to the event, and helped us plan it. She told me I had been recommended by one of the young ladies in her program to receive the Woman of Distinction Award. Then she asked if I remembered a conversation with a bored young lady, and I told her to stop wasting her time?
I laughed and said, “Oh, you mean Ms. Attitude, of course, I remember her.” I thought of her occasionally, but I didn’t who she was, who she came with, nor did I see her at any point during the remainder of the summit. The Executive Director told me the young lady was with her group, and she was the one who recommended me to receive the award~
She said, “what you did not know, and what no one knew, the girl wrote in her binder that morning that she was going to kill herself that day back in November. After writing her suicide note, she received a call to remind her to get ready for our conference, Stop The Pain. She decided she would kill herself after she returned because she did not want anyone to find her until she was dead.
But then she met me! She wondered, how could I love her when I did not know her? Why didn’t she love herself! And when I told her to stop wasting her time and that I loved her, it made her think! It made her think And Act! She decided to look through the program and saw some topics which interested her. When she got to the room, she saw a couple of people she knew and met more people. Before she knew it, she was having a good time.
When she got home, she cried, thinking how she almost made the biggest mistake of her life. One that would have negatively impacted her family and friends for the rest of their lives.
As the Executive Director shared this story with me, I cried! I was overwhelmed with joy that I could positively impact someone’s life without even knowing it. What really made me see that I HAD to keep going was when I realized the entire conversation only took three (3) minutes. I mean, 3 minutes to change a life! 3 minutes to Save A Life!
There are 1440 minutes every day, 525,600 in a year. That’s more than enough reasons to keep on going! That gives me 175,200 opportunities to save or change a life. I consider myself to be greatly blessed to have made a difference in one person’s life!
What should our readers know about your business?
PRC’s mission addresses trauma from a cultural and age perspective, specializing in developing healthy relationships, creating awareness to prevent and end dating and interpersonal violence, sexual assault, and bullying, and helping people of all ages to be leaders and thinkers, survivors, and thrivers.
Some of our programs include Art Healing Trauma, Leadership Development Academy, Promoting Healthy Manhood, African American Ambassadors for Mental Health.
What makes us different? One such way is we build trust and confidence so our participants can safely and freely discuss trauma and how it impacted their lives and the community.
Positive Results Center teaches Teens & Transitional Aged Youth to become Peer Advocates using Creative Expression to Radical Reimagine a world safe to live; using their voices through art, media, and legislation to prevent violence, reduce health disparities, prevent racism, police violence, and death.
We work primarily with Black and Brown Teens (10-17) and Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) (18-30), although we serve everyone age 4 up. We teach people to understand what trauma, violence, and abuse are and how it shows up in our lives. We work to 1. eradicate cultural systemic anti-Black racism, 2. address preventing and ending violence and abuse (Dating, Domestic, Interpersonal Violence, Stalking & Sexual Assault); 3. change legislation to safeguard victims of violence: including but not limited to stiffer sentencing and mandatory imprisonment for breaking restraining orders, or threats to injury or kill, brandishing a gun or other weapon to threaten or intimidate those fleeing abusive relationships; and 4. providing education programs on dating, domestic and interpersonal violence and healthy relationships for all youth, starting as young as 4 years old.
Our Youth Peer Advocate Training includes mentoring youth to engage, educate and train them to share information and resources; conduct presentations on cultural competency, social justice, educational justice, financial justice, violence awareness and prevention, suicide awareness, colorism, sizeism, mental health, and healthy relationships. We host small group discussions, mentoring, art education and therapy, power building, and advocate in community groups and youth programs.
We are members of the communities we serve, we have seen and experienced the same traumas, acts of violence, incidents of abuse, concerns, and hopes as the people with whom we support and serve. Because of this unique, empathetic, and critical insight to stated and unstated community needs, we are a trusted and rich asset to the project of community healing.
We are passionate about our work, and our passion comes from a place of deep love, hope, community care. People of color, especially our children, our queer and trans children, and our economically disenfranchised children experience the highest rates of violence, assault, and abuse in this country. We suffer from undiagnosed mental illness and, in our current political landscape, have increasingly limited access to the resources needed to survive, thrive, heal, and dream.
Some of our most critical pieces of work have been to provide professional development on trauma and abuse for parents, educators, and providers. We also provide leadership training; intergenerational, family-centered healthy relationship and peer advocacy training; and programing that centers on homeless youth and adults. This work provides a space for our most impacted community members to slow down, take a much-needed breath, disengage from the daily struggles of surviving the streets, and learn about how trauma is manifested.
Our programs are designed to cultivate self-esteem, leadership, communication, and visionary skills of youth and young adults; to provide them with the tools, a platform, and encouragement to elevate their voices and speak their truth; and to support them to collaboratively imagine and design a world where more people can thrive, heal, feel safe, and access their dreams.
Our training helps people to strengthen their empathy muscles, assess their needs, determine how to engage people, and effectively communicate (verbal, non-verbal, written, etc.) through a plethora of emotions. Not only does our work develop more community leaders and thinkers, but we also facilitate space and opportunity that brings together people who have committed themselves to experience more joy, more happiness, and more healthy relationships that span professional, personal, intimate, and platonic situations.
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.
I would invite my best friend to my house first. It’s a sign of respect and appreciation to invite someone over and provide them with a delicious meal, refreshing beverages, and a feast of amazing food.
In addition to my best friend, I would invite some family, a few close friends and trusted, respected community partners to share the joy and love! I know for a fact my friends, family, and community partners are fun and some of the best, interesting and exciting people ever.
Of course, the music MUST BE On Point to set the mood. Flowing through the speaker would be the soulful sounds from Motown, Kool Jazz, Gospel, and the funky sounds of Biggie and Tupac, Jill Scott, Marvin Sapp, Teena Marie, Rick James, Luther, Phyllis Hyman, Aretha Franklin, H.E.R, Delfonics, Yolanda Adams, James Brown, the Original Temptations, Chaka Khan, Kirk Franklin, Anthony Hamilton, ANYTHING Norman Conners touched, India Arie, Baby Face, Beyonce and so many other fabulous Artist!
We would dine on an array of decadent and mouthwatering appetizers and fruit, leading up to a delicious salad with a plethora of veggies, including cranberries, sunflower seeds, apples, avocado, cucumber, butter lettuce, sauteed mushrooms, onions, red and yellow peppers. We will serve grilled shrimp, lobster tails, steamed crab, and marinaded grilled chicken. We would also have, grilled veggie and veggie stuffed mushrooms. Beverages would be plain and Rasberry Lemonade, Mimosa with Peach Schnapps, Manago, Pineapple, Mixed Berries or Orange juice, coffee with Kahula or Bailey’s, and Hennessy for after dinner. Dessert would be a mixed assortment of mixed berries with dark chocolate, cakes, pies, and bread pudding! OMG, I want all this right now!
People will be laughing, talking, playing cards, dominoes, taking photos, and sharing memories all day long. and doing their best to learn the newest step. Once the sun started to set, the mood changes, that’s when the Saxophone and Violinista come out for a bit. Everyone’s smile will be wide… A good time will be had for all! Just in case, we will keep the Ride-Share service available to keep everyone safe.
A stroll along any beach and pier in Southern California
A ride on a boat around any Marina with a lite meal and wine
A drive down Crenshaw (Memories of driving my Red Firebird and 280Z 2+2, from one end of Crenshaw to the other)
The Hollywood Hills
A Rooftop Bar in Downtown, Hollywood, or Long Beach
The Art District of Downtown
Leimert Park (A Must for Culture, Shopping or being in Community with Amazing, Beautiful and Blessed Black People)
Any one of the beautiful Arboretum’s in LA
Swimming in a warm and wonderful pool
A comedy club
An outdoors concert ( I love the Greek, Hollywood Bowl, and Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Series)
Wine Tasting Anywhere
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?
There are so many people I want to shout out! My Mother, Daisy Newsom who loved me from the beginning and continues to be my biggest champion~ My Father, Emery, showed me so much love and laughter. My Husband and amazingly awesome and brilliant children who I love unconditionally, and they love me just as I want and need!
My Brothers and Sisters In-Love; nieces and nephews, cousins, neighbors, friends, and community partners.
The Women, Men, Young Adults, and Teens, who have worked with Positive Results Center (formerly Positive Results Corporation) over the years, sharing their gifts, talents, skills, and hearts with our youth, families, community, team, and most definitely me! They have blessed all of us!
And then some fabulous volunteers have been with us from the beginning and always show up because we curate amazing programs, and they add value, love, and heart! We’ve had hundreds of people and organizations joining us at our events, including (but not limited to):
– Stop The Pain, A Teen Summit on Dating Violence, Sex Trafficking and Bully Prevention
– The Face of Violence and Abuse – An Art Exhibit
-Youth Leadership Academy (2011 – present)
– Promoting Healthy Manhood Conference
– Prom Dress Gift Away
– Making Space For Mental Health, Spoken Word Events
– Purple Purse Tea Party
PRC’s dedicated, talented, culturally specific, trauma-informed team and phenomenal volunteers are our Secret Sauce. We could not operate without them. They are truly a blessing! I love them, and I am humbled, thankful, and grateful for each of them!
The Black Women Leaders of Los Angeles and every person who poured into my spirit providing me guidance and direction. #TrustBlackWomen
I would be remiss if I did not give great respect to our Sponsors, Grantors, and donors! They make everything possible! Thank You!
Positive Results Center owns all rights to these photos.