Who is Javia?
I am Jae Wilkins. A 23 year old, single mother from a small town with big dreams of making a difference in the lives of young women & changing the world.
What inspired you to create The Peace Project?
I was inspired by my personal experience with domestic violence. I was in an abusive relationship for 5 years. From 16 to 21, I dealt with physical, verbal, emotional, & mental abuse. Now I’m having to co-parent with this person & I am also living with complex PTSD, because of that relationship. I decided that I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through & I wanted the women who are going through it to know that they aren’t alone. That is why I started The Peace Project.
How do you find balance between being a mom and growing your business/spreading your message?
Finding balance between The Peace Project + motherhood can be difficult, but I do get a lot of help from my family. I don’t want my son knowing the meaning behind The Peace Project until he is older, so I don’t allow him to come to our events or meetings with me so my family steps in to help. Other than that, my son & I “work” together. I will have my laptop & books out and he will have his books & we sit down next to each other & “work”. It’s so much fun to do this with him by my side.
What was your biggest fear in starting The Peace Project and how did you overcome it?
My biggest fear when starting The Peace Project was that it was going to fail. Honestly, this wasn’t even supposed to be a non-profit organization. It was only supposed to be a support group. I met with the person who was going to let us use a building for our support group meetings & they asked “what else do you need to start your non-profit?” I was terrified, because I knew absolutely nothing about starting & running a non-profit, but I went with it. I overcame that fear by putting myself out there. I literally set a date & told myself “I have a non-profit and this will be the date of our 1st support group meeting.” I started getting lots of support so the fear went away.
Can you describe a moment when you realized that what you were doing really made an impact bigger than you’d imagined?
The moment I realized was when I was featured on MTV. They were looking for people to share their dreams for a Martin Luther King Day commercial, so I emailed them & told them about The Peace Project. Immediately, they picked me to be featured. We filmed the interview for the commercial via Skype. As I was telling my story, the producer was in tears. We had to film twice actually, because she told me she was so amazed by my story and what I was doing that she forgot to press record the 1st time. When the commercial aired, I got tons of messages from women telling me their domestic violence stories and thanking me for being so brave. That’s when I knew.
What can we expect next from The Peace Project?
I can’t say for sure because I like to go with the flow. I will say, that we plan on making another tv appearance this year. On behalf of The Peace Project, I will be going to a lot more high schools & sharing my story. We will do Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Conferences in different cities. We will continue to raise awareness. We will continue to give back to domestic violence victims. The Peace Project has so much in store. I am also currently writing a book about my journey from being a domestic violence victim to a single mom, chasing her dreams & growing a non-profit organization.
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