High Point, NC -- When Jaenae Gamble, a freshman at High Point University, thinks back to where she was prior to three years ago, the shock of how far she's come hits hard.
Growing up, the 19-year-old had an inexplicable fear of public speaking; so bad she'd be physically ill at the thought.
"I was so afraid of people," Jaenae explained. "In my mind, I thought that, for some reason, there was something wrong with me. And there was nothing I could do about it. I felt that I wasn't going to go to school, I wasn't going to get a job, I wasn't going to be anything."
She says she assumed everyone was out to hurt her, and she didn't realize the paralyzing thought was doing more harm. Her grades suffered at one point in high school because she refused to speak in class.
"I honestly thought I wasn't going to amount to anything because I couldn't' speak to anybody. I knew that was important, but I couldn't do it," she said.
But, that was the Jaenae of three years ago. Hers is a story of perseverance and one she hopes inspires other young people just like her.
"Your vision is the most important thing. If you want something, you have to go out and get it. You can't say I want it, but I know I'm not going to get it and just sit back in the corner," Jaenae added.
Through a casual reference, she learned about The Queen's Foundation and later joined as a mentee.
The organization helps develop young people in leadership, mentoring and civic engagement (read more about the organization after the jump.
This year, Jaenae became the first person in her family to graduate from high school and enroll in college, and she says she couldn't have done it without a community of mentors - especially Heather Bowers-Cross who helped her get into college when she couldn't afford to go.
"She has made me feel like I was somebody, I was important because she's done so much for me," said Jaenae.
Bowers-Cross has gone above and beyond her call as a Queen's Foundation mentor. She even opened her home to Jaenae - who now lives there to be closer to school.
"I had a hard walk in developing myself into a young woman, and I feel it's my obligation to give back. And to help other women move forward in life," said Bowers-Cross.
The Queens Foundation can only accept mentees based on how many mentors are available.
Founder, Nadia Moffett tells News 2, there's a need for mentors who can help young women in the Triad.
About The Queen's Foundation:
The Queen's Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization that teaches young women to be queens in life and servant leaders in their communities. It was founded by Miss North Carolina USA 2010 to develop young women of character for higher education and leadership in every aspect of their lives.
About the PowerHouse Project:
The PowerHouse Project is a year-round mentor internship program for high-achieving yet underprivileged high school students to expose them to professional experiences, higher education and leadership. The goal of the program is to prepare young women to achieve success in leaderships both professionally and in the community. Participants are paired with female professional mentors, provided internships, awarded scholarships, trained to lead and execute a year-round service project, and coached for higher education.
Target Audience: TQF reaches middle and high school young women across the state. TQF currently serves girls in six counties in North Carolina: Wake, Guilford, Forsyth, Lee, Nash, Edgecombe and will be expanding to the Triangle and Charlotte-Mecklenberg area in 2014.
How to Get Involved:
Girls: Girls are nominated by public schools and partnering nonprofits that TQF serves. TQF notifies the schools that it selects and faculty and staff nominate students that qualify for the program. In the Triad, TQF serves High Point Central High School and Dudley High School and partners with Communities in Schools and the Boys & Girls Clubs. It has plans to add two additional Triad schools for the 2013 program year.
Volunteers & Mentors: TQF is currently selecting mentors and program volunteers for 2013. Contact TQF by going to their website: www.thequeensfoundation.org and submit your contact information for TQF to follow up. You may also call 1.866.563.8848 x101 or email us at email@example.com
Donors: You may make a donation or sponsor a girl by going to www.thequeensfoundation.org (source: Nadia Moffett)
WFMY News 2