Mable Taplin, founder and executive director of Joanie Girl’s Heart
What is the mission of your program?
To provide minority teen girls with life skills through workshops, mentorship, and domestic and international service learning opportunities as part of their college readiness and their interest in pursuing health care career opportunities.
What segment of the community does your organization seek to serve?
Minority teen girls interested in pursuing a health care career.
What are three areas and/or activities that you and your organization are currently focused on?
Mentoring, education and domestic and international service learning
Do you have a personal philosophy that guides you in the work that you do?
There but for the grace of God go I. I am a mentor because I understand the impact that mentoring can have on a young person’s life. I know that I would not be where I am and who I am if it were not for my mother and the women in my life who loved and mentored me.
As it relates to that work, what is the legacy that you would like to leave?
I would like to leave a legacy of compassion and hard work. I would also like to inspire young girls to dream big and empower them to see themselves as change agents.
To date, what are two or three things that you’ve accomplished with the organization that you are most proud of?
We have completed eight local community service projects in Chicago. We have completed two college tours and Cultural Immersions in New Orleans, L.A., Washington, D.C., and Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. We also completed a medical mission to Haiti, which served almost 200 patients.
What past work, education, or community experiences helped to prepare you for the work that you are doing right now?
As a health care professional for over 17 years, I served in various capacities as a nurse; I worked as a staff nurse, clinical instructor, community liason, clinical coordinator and nurse consultant. I am a natural caregiver. The eldest of four children and the only girl, I learned early how to provide comfort and care. My passion for service is evident in every area of my life. I am an avid volunteer both locally and globally. However, my volunteer experience with the Clinton Foundation in Lesotho, Africa in 2006 served as the catalyst for the dream of establishing Joanie Girl’s Heart. While in Lesotho as an HIV clinical mentor, I dreamed of establishing an organization that would honor the legacy of my mother who passed away from breast cancer in 2001. Joanie Girl’s Heart was birthed out of passion and tragedy, as my mom, Joanie Girl, passed away the day before my 24th birthday.
What would you like to see more of in order to create a better society?
I would like to see more community involvement and interpersonal communication. I believe that technology by way of texting, social media has negatively impacted people’s relationship building and communications skills. I would like to see people spend more time having live conversations and less time texting and tweeting. Tongue in cheek, but seriously, I think miscommunication is more likely to happen when communicating via technology, because you can’t decode the non-verbal cues.
How can people support or get involved in your work?
People can support Joanie Girl’s Heart through volunteering for our community service projects. Becoming a mentor or donating via our website. www.joaniegirlsheart.org
My work is fulfilling because … I can see the impact that I am having on young girls and I have a sense of pride that I am living out my dreams
Effecting change for humanity means … inspiring people to reach beyond their comfort zone to accomplish their goals.
Giving to a social cause is good because … it promotes community and we are the community that we serve. I will borrow the word Ubuntu from the South African Bantu culture that means human kindness or “I am because We are.” Giving to a social cause in my opinion is like giving to yourself because, You are apart of society.
I want to make a difference for humanity because … I believe it is my personal responsibility to leave a legacy for myself and my family. I want people to know that I lived life with the purpose of service and gratitude.
Three books and/or authors that inspire me are … The Bible, Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, Anything by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
My two favorite vacation spot to recharge are … Anywhere me and my BFF land.
The four essential things I place in my bags when I take a trip are … Facial cream, black dress, perfume, a good book
Two type of music I listen to on a trip are … gospel and R&B, hip-hop
When working are … I work in silence
Two quotes that I live by are…. “ I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” “To whom much is given much is required.”
Three role models who changed my life are … My mother, Ernestine Joan Taplin. She was the strongest woman I have ever known. She taught me the importance of education, hard work and tenacity. She taught me early how to roll with the punches. She empowered me to believe in myself and to have faith that God would always take care of me.
My godmother, Lena Mae Saunders. She was best friends with my maternal grandmother. When both my grandmother and my mother passed, she stepped in to fill the void of mother in my life. It is because of her that my broken heart was mended.
My godmother, Darrell Bakeman. I met her when I just 13 years old. I was friends with her daughter in high school. She exposed me to many things. I have experienced many firsts because of her. In fact, it was her who took me on my first international trip to Marbella, Spain. My love for international travel grew from there.