Far More Precious: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance

MARLINE IMG_4184

Occupation/Title: Licensed Social Worker; Founder of Far More Precious
Age: 29
Hometown: South Orange, NJ

Personal Background, please introduce yourself. Of course your job title, education etc, but also your hobbies, your passions, the things that make you YOU.

I am Haitian-American who was born and raised in New Jersey. Most of my schooling was private school until I moved to the Poconos, PA to attend public school. Shortly after, I knew I was going to attend the #1 school ever PENN STATE UNIVERSITY (biased, I know). I received my Bachelors Degree in Psychology and soon after received my Masters Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. I am currently working in a psychiatric unit as a Social Worker doing discharge planning, individual and group counseling with the mentally ill.

Aside from my job, my passion is to cultivate an atmosphere of sisterhood and empowering women from many different walks of life. I truly enjoy connecting women with women.

When I am not working on my passion, you will find me traveling, cooking, reading, outdoor activities, rooftop eatings, Sunday brunches and hosting women’s events.

State the name and mission of your organization.

My organization is called Far More Precious organization. It is a non-profit organization based in Northern New Jersey. Our mission is to help adolescents and young adult women to overcome barriers in their past while thriving towards their purpose. We host quarterly workshops and enrichment programs for women.

FMP  updated logo

How did you get to where you are today?

Growing up, I have always had a passion for counseling and working with women with a broken past. Part of me entered into this field because of my broken past of child sexual abuse. I realized that my past pain propelled me towards my passion and my God-given purpose. Most of my educational and work experience has been in non-profit sectors and also working with high risked children, youths and adults. I am thankful for the opportunities I was granted to work with survivors of trauma in various settings.

Do you feel you’ve made a difference? What changes have you seen/made and what do you hope to see in the future?

Yes, I truly believe that God has used me as a vessel to make a difference. It is always encouraging to hear women tell me how I have helped to empower them. In the near future, I would hope to open my own private practice that is a safe place for women to be vulnerable with their hurts, pain, passion and successes.

board membersHow have you changed since starting your work?

I have changed tremendously over the years. With my faith in God, I realize that my passion to continue my work as a non-profit leader and Psychiatric Social Worker comes from Him alone. I have also learned to have balance. Every opportunity presented my way does not need a yes from me. I am learning to say no and enjoy periods of rest.

You’ve told us the mission for your organization, but what does your work do for you personally?

When I see a young girl receiving an academic scholarship from our organization it makes me realize that it is worth it all. There are days where I am just crying tears of joy to know that we are making an impact. My passion keeps me fulfilled daily. It’s a burning passion in my heart to serve other women, especially young adults.

What advice do you have for women wanting to start their own organization or non-profit?

If you are looking to start a non-profit organization or business, I would suggest you start with RESEARCH!. Every state has different guidelines. It is also important to ask yourself “are there any other organizations doing the same thing I am looking to achieve?” This question is beneficial when you are looking into receiving funding and grants for your organization. Also, have a team to hold you accountable. Running a non-profit looks pretty on the outside, but there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into it, such as maintaining your tax-exempt status. Make sure you keep record of everything and have your organization documents in a safe place.

What is a message that you believe every woman should hear?

One day you will be thankful for the thing that once brought you pain, for it will bring forth your passion. Someone out here needs to hear your story to empower them. Your voice is needed.

 

Ways to connect with Marline!IMG_4273

Website: www.farmoreprecious.org

Facebook: FarMorePreciousOrg & Marline Francois

Instagram: FarMorePreciousOrg & MarlineFrancois

Twitter: FarMorePreci0us & MarlineFrancois

: info@farmoreprecious.org

Praise to the Introverts

For the longest time, I was convinced I had a low self-esteem. I wasn’t the girl that

commanded attention upon entrance into a room, I had stage fright and the thought of approaching a guy gave me butterflies. I was the quirky shy girl who’d rather have a movie night at home than be dancing at the club. I wasn’t the most outgoing, outspoken or bold, I was an introvert. And because I shied away from attention, rather be in the background than in the spotlight…I must lack confidence, right?

Because confidence meant always putting yourself out there and commanding attention, right?

 

Not necessarily…

 

After having a conversation with a friend, I realized that might not be always be the case. We assume that confidence equates being bold and extroverted, because thats what we read and see in movies and books. But confidence is defined as self-assurance. Confidence doesn’t only have to do with how we act towards others. Real confidence translates into how we treat ourselves. Appreciating ourselves, recognizing and utilizing our gifts, acknowledging what we bring to the table and not accepting anything less than what we deserve. To me, that is true self-confidence.

In our society, we prize extroverts: celebrities who adore the spotlight, politicians who know how to work a room, etc. They’re the popular kids in schools and the heroes in movies. Introverts are conditioned to envy extroverts, because who wouldn’t want to be the life of the party? But you can be understated and reserved and have as much confidence as the person who loves being the center of attention. And who’s to say that super, outgoing personality isn’t a front? You never know…

I always criticized myself, why don’t I do this?…or why can’t I be like her? I was so focused on what I wasn’t doing that I overlooked everything I brought. I was a good listener, I was the person all my friends turned to when they needed help or advice, I was the rock…and above all, I had a really strong sense of self. I just always downplayed my assets because no one could see them in a crowded room, but doesn’t make them any less valuable.

This post isn’t about bashing extroverts, its just to say that us introverts don’t have to beat ourselves up over the fact that we’re not extroverts 🙂

The Myth of the “Strong Black Woman”

How many times have you heard about the “Strong Black Woman?” What do you

know about her?

She doesn’t take any mess. She’s independent. She sacrifices. She often puts the  needs of her loved ones before herself. She doesn’t always do what she wants to do,

For many of us, when we think of that title, we think of our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, friends and ourselves. We claim that title with pride.

But is there ever a time when that title can cause more harm than good? When many of us see a ‘strong black woman’ we assume she is bulletproof, an impenetrable force that never falters. However, this also leads us to assume that strong black women are unemotional, that they are too busy and responsible to hurt or feel pain. And oftentimes, in an attempt to fulfill this image, many of us ignore our own feelings. Pushing away feelings and people instead of addressing them. Tell ourselves to “suck it up” and “move on.” Never let them see you cry. But strength is not the absence of emotion and showing a vulnerable side does not necessarily make you weak.

In fact, to me, those who can show their pain, speak on whatever flaws they have and express what upsets them but still have the perseverance to keep moving, are the strongest of all. For the many of us who strive to be a “strong black woman” and unfortunately put our needs and feelings on the wayside in the process, we are only selling ourselves short. Internalizing emotions causes unnecessary stress that takes a toll on our relationships and ourselves. Black women suffer the most from undiagnosed diseases, both mental and physical. Often because we have learned to suppress rather than to express and cope. You’d be surprised at what relief you’d feel when you allow yourself to release whatever tensions you’ve pent up inside of yourself.

There is nothing wrong with being strong, but not at the expense of emotional health. So, when you’re feeling depressed, angry, annoyed, frustrated, whatever; don’t bury it. Find an outlet, whether it be writing, running, cooking, drawing, dancing, a girls night or just a day to yourself; make the time and take care of yourself. Emotions are not a bad or irrational thing. Owning them, addressing them and learning to control them takes strength and time, but can be so beneficial and rewarding. Don’t fall for the myth of the strong black woman.

The Most Important Relationship…

For many of us, ever since we were little girls we’ve fantasized about love: planning our wedding dress, getting Barbie ready for her date with Ken, reading magazines about the do’s and don’ts of dating. Even our favorite Disney heroine has to find her Prince Charming. For women, it seems like the pinnacle of life is to find that significant other…

But what we don’t learn about is how to fall in love with ourselves. It seems to be an assumption that we all just have it together, that we’re born with confidence, self-respect and love. But that can’t be farther from the truth, we have to be taught it and practice it. Today, women are constantly in the middle of a whirlwind of opinions:

What makes a woman beautiful? What makes a woman sexy?

How does a lady act? What is a turn off?

How to get a significant other? How to make your significant other stay?

The list goes on and on…But no one seems to be asking the important questions:

What makes you happy? Do you find yourself beautiful? How would you define yourself?

Do you even like who you are?

So many of us are concerned with fitting into society’s preconceived (and often narrow) categories of what it means to be a woman and a spouse in the hopes of being accepted, that we forget to assess our own needs and desires. Being in a relationship does not prove anything. Being single does not mean you’re lonely and being in a relationship doesn’t always make you happy. Before you can give love to anyone in any kind of relationship, you need to have love to give.

It begins with you; once you recognize and own the power and regalness you were blessed with, no one can take it from you. Acknowledge and accept your flaws, they are what make you unique. Don’t compare yourself to others or try to meet others’ expectations, there are too many to satisfy. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters concerning you is yours. Don’t depend on others for love, because if they go, so does their validation. Self-love is a journey that is never complete; some days you’ll feel like a queen and others…you might not. But despite the ups and downs of life, know that the most important relationship you have to maintain, is the one with yourself.