Damali Elliott | Founder, Executive Director
Damali Elliott is the Founder & Executive Director of Petals-N-Belles. Founded in 2010, at the age of 24, the idea for Petals-N-Belles came to Damali after discovering her passion to work with young girls.
Through her determination to make a mark in the lives of others, Damali has sought to bring her vision of helping, guiding and nurturing young girls to life. As a result of positive and motivating relationships that have broadened her outlook of the world and real life issues, Damali is dedicated to developing creative and strategic ways to enhance life prospects for young girls and is passionately committed to growing Petals-N-Belles into a mentoring powerhouse.
In 2009, I had a “crisis of purpose” and began a search to find my unique talent and life drive. I began to seek advice and build my relationship with the “one” who could help… God! I can’t tell my story without mentioning the author of it all. That year, after many prayers and finding an awesome church…God spoke to me and whispered (with enthusiasm) Petals-N-Belles!
During my “crisis of purpose” I received numerous phone calls from friends and family members asking me to speak with the young women close to them, because they were either acting out, not focused in school or severely depressed. I thought it was odd that I was asked to speak with them, (what do I know?) but I was honored and excited. So I went on a few dinners and a couple of trips to the mall while speaking with each of these young ladies, trying to find the root of their pain. A few long conversations later, with a pact of secrecy, one by one each young lady started to let me in. It became very evident that these young ladies were dealing with similar challenges; low self esteem, hanging out with the wrong group of friends and not feeling confident in their ability to achieve academically.
This experience changed my life. I lost all sense of time and identity. I found myself constantly thinking of ways to engage them and the best advice to give. That was my ‘Light Bulb Moment’. That was it… that is what I wanted to do …work with young girls. The question then became “How?” As I continued to work with these young ladies who were all in the same age group, all facing similar problems- all bright with a world of potential, I thought, “What if I got them all together to talk? What if they helped each other through their problems and I made sure the conversations remained supportive and productive, giving my input when necessary?”
With the support of family and friends I went after this. Curious if there was a need, I held a dinner at my home and invited all of the young ladies I knew between the ages of 17 and 21. They came, we ate and laughed and I proposed my idea. “What if …just what if we got together every other week for the next 4 months to talk about the problems and the challenges you all face as individuals and work to find solutions, as a group?” My experiment was a success. I found that there was a need and each young lady that participated in this group walked away wanting more.
Determined to bring my idea, now my dream, to fruition, I created and founded Petals-N-Belles, Inc. in 2010 and now, a year later, I am no longer experiencing that crisis of purpose. Undeterred and celebrating the successful launch of Petals-N-Belles, I know my dream and I am relentless in my mission to continue to push it forward and have it realized.
I work for Petals-N-Belles, Inc. full time and have exhausted all of my earnings, savings and credit towards it with a Huge Smile. Focused on expanding the curriculum, finding amazing dedicated volunteers, working on the strategic planning and finding a permanent location in New York City, so much has been accomplished already, but so much more needs to be done.
If you have read thus far, THANK YOU and I commend you and now invite to be apart of this dream. We need your help! If you love the thought of young women having a safe space to discuss real life issues and receive guidance and love in a supportive and empowering environment, this is it!
Please support Petals-N-Belles, anyway you can. I have no doubt that together we can create something enchanting that will blossom in our communities and transform desserts to gardens.
” Those who leap for their dreams, never fall short of happiness and don’t have to wonder what could have been. Instead, they remain content that they used all their strength to do something bigger than them. ” Damali Elliott