I’ve been coming to Bailey’s Café, a community based center located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn for three years. At the heart of Bailey’s, we have Ms. Stefanie. Since I have known her, she has easily become one of the most impactful and inspirational women I know. Every summer since 2018 that I’ve participated in the 6-week program, it has been made influential due to her presence.

My favorite part of Bailey’s is that it’s an environment that is full of love and cultivates personal growth. I always feel safe there. Bailey’s Café helps me find my inner voice and I am able to hear it more clearly throughout the school year. Having a space during the summer where I am able to be vulnerable and authentically myself without fear of judgment is important to me. Ms. Stefanie encourages us to feel and creates space for us to process and understand our emotions. She teaches us to think deeply and thoroughly about our place within this world, the impact we have on other people, as well as our environment. Being around Ms. Stefanie at Bailey’s, something that I’ve learned is how important it is to recycle, and to do our part to take care of and preserve the planet we live on. Something else I’ve learned is that it’s important to take care of your health. I’ve learned about my role and my place in the lives of others. I’ve seen the difference it makes to listen to myself and treat ME with kindness the same way I would to someone else. I’m deserving of good things, and the way I love myself has such an impact on the way I show love to others. Ms. Stefanie has played a big part in me learning these things. I am able to associate Bailey’s Café with positive feelings because of her. I appreciate her and I’m truly grateful for all she’s given me this summer and all of the summers in the past.

Every summer after Bailey’s ends, I feel as if I’ve been reset and I’m prepared with the tools I need to be ready to walk through the rest of the year feeling at peace.