Chances are you've heard the phrase, “it's not how you start that's important, but how you finish."
Jacqueline Johnson, the founder of the nonprofit Adventure & Victory, preaches that message a lot to the women she helps get out of hopelessness.
It’s a mission she says she can’t do alone.
"On bad days it could be storming, you could not have the finances, you could feel like you don’t have the help, the skills, everything you need but when that dream has been embedded in you it won’t let you go. It will get you up out of bed," she says.
Johnson is the cheerleader we all need.
When asked if she could even count how many people she's helped throughout the years, she responded, "Oh, my word! It’s been thousands. It has been thousands!"
Thirty years ago, Johnson started helping young people, just a few at a time.
"It started in my beauty shop with just some young girls and boys sharing about how their day went and what they were going through, and I wanted to help them live a better life," says Johnson.
It's because she knows how tough life can be, Johnson’s mom died when she was 12 years old. The loss sent her spiraling out of control for years.
"Looking at my own life and how it was one train wreck after another train wreck," she said.
Until one day a real-life car accident nearly cost Johnson her life. It served as a turning point and her second chance.
Johnson credits God and mentors for transforming her dream into a thriving nonprofit.
"If you don’t have a team, it’s going to take a whole lot longer. If you don’t have a team you don’t have the counsel, the wisdom that you need, the participation that you need," she said.
"So anytime you’re starting a company, or for me a nonprofit, I needed a team and someone who had more expertise than I did, more skills, their abilities, and time to bring it to the table so we could move forward in the community," Johnson said.
Adventure & Victory provides education and life skills programs including entrepreneurial training.
"We’re helping women run out of their past and their pain and walk into their purpose, walk into passion, and walk into a place where they can give back to the community. These women have so many gifts and so many talents, but they are lying dormant," says Johnson.
Johnson encourages them to set small goals, she would tell you to do the same.
"Make sure you try to take the stairs and not the elevator. Don’t try to move too fast, don’t try to take on too much too soon. Don’t try to do too much all at one time. And make sure that the dream, the goal is yours. That you didn’t look over at somebody’s life and say, 'Oh! I want that life and try to borrow it.'"
Johnson adds being authentic is the foundation that sustains life.
For more information about Johnson's nonprofit visit adventurevictory.org.