Meet Elly

Elly, Fall 2019 Graduate

The word empower comes from the Old French prefix ‘en-‘ meaning ‘in, into’ and the root ‘power’ which comes from the early 1300s, meaning ‘ability, strength, might’.

“And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: ‘Take your habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they (people) erect.’ Then, eat of all fruits from their bellies, a drink of varying color wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think,” (Surah 16:68,69 [The Bees]).

The night before I began my journey at Together We Bake, I talked to my roommate about how the bees in this proverb are a perfect metaphor for humans and how they should be obedient to God.

At the time, I was being everything but obedient. I was so focused on moving and being busy due to stress, impatience, and lack of planning that had led my life to this very program. I was actually going to quit before I even started. But I was told to ‘honor my commitment’, so, reluctantly, I marched to 212 S. Washington Street. 

That morning, I happen to arrive really early, so I decided to sit across the street. While sitting there, I noticed a bee flying by. After just having a conversation about bees the night before, it made me pay closer attention. That’s when I noticed there was actually a plethora of bees flying from flower to flower collecting pollen. 

The reason why the bee is such an amazing and important example of obedience is because when bees are born they already have an innate desire to fulfill an obligation of playing their part in the grand scheme of life. They have a place for everyone, and everything; and no matter how far they travel from home, they are always guided back with the help of their fellows.

Together We Bake has been a fellow to me. It’s given me skills that go with my innate nature and connected me even more to my Higher Power. The women there guided me until it became easy to fulfill the commitment I made to them. It has since helped me in other aspects of my life. They showed me that it’s ok to be authentically me. I never thought I would share my story with so many people. During orientation I shared how I felt discouraged about speaking my truth, Mash’Allah I’ve gained so many useful tools to look within myself and find the courage and vulnerability it takes to do so. 

That is how they inspire, that is how they empower. By God’s grace and mercy, He led me to a place that helped me to embody the word empowerment. To look within and see that I’ve already been equipped with the ability, the strength, and the might to conquer the things that once left me feeling broken and undeserving. I thank God every day for instilling my innate nature to be who I am, and I thank Together We Bake for feeding me the royal jelly (or cookies) I needed in order to grow and be able to empower others!