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Milford graduate works to empower youth

Terry RogersCulture, Headlines

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Jalyn Powell, through her organization OUTLOUD, focuses on empowering youth

Jalyn Powell, a 2014 graduate of Milford High School, says it was “divine intervention” that led her to step away from a full-time job and create her own business. What was initially supposed to be a public speaking business, OUTLOUD is now devoted to empowering and connecting youth with educational tools, resources and services to amplify their voices.

“I founded the company in 2019,” Powell said. “I spent the first year hosting seminars and workshops around mental health and wellness as well as women and youth empowerment. In 2020, after the death of George Floyd, I organized the Rally for Justice in Milford. The response was unimaginable. That one march catapulted this business to be recognized statewide as a youth and social change service organization. My email was literally overwhelmed with offers left and right to work with organizations to galvanize youth in the fight for justice and to assist them with community outreach and engagement. From there, I changed the trajectory of OUTLOUD to be what it is today, the microphone for young advocates who aren’t sure of how to lift their voice and the bridge for organizations who are struggling with community engagement and outreach. I believe God has me right where he wants me.”

The mission of OUTLOUD is to provide systematic analysis, evaluation and consultation to address complex justice issues. The organization assists clients with community engagement, programming, facilitation and training to foster solutions toward racial equity and social justice. The goal is to become a direct youth empowerment service organization globally recognized that deploys advocacy programs to empower youth.

“I hope to create diverse and equitable structures around advocacy for self empowerment,” Powell said. “OUTLOUD encourages its clients to BE the change they wish to see.”

Powell, who holds a Bachelor of Art in Political Science from Delaware State University. She also holds a Master of Science in Law Concentration Human Rights and Rule of Law, a degree she earned in an advanced track program a semester early, the first to do so in the program. Powell recently opened an office in the Milford Armory which was turned into a community center.

“Outside of being located in my hometown, the purpose of the building was perfect for my work,” Powell said. “I am big on community and my life is lived through service. I am a very structured person. I am not used to operating without a plan. Leaving guaranteed income to start a business in which I had no experience in operating at business at my level was a huge leap of faith. But I believe I was being called to do something bigger than myself. God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. I am a true testament. God has been providing me with everything I need from resources to connections and, so far, so great!”

Currently, Powell says she is focused on servicing Delaware right now although she has had offers to expand her program into other states. Although expansion is on the horizon, she feels the program does not have the physical bandwidth to do it properly at this time. The biggest challenge she has faced is running a service organization with only one staff member – herself. She does hope to hire staff soon as her organization has grown quickly.

“The greatest reward is the impact our services have on youth and the community,” Powell said. “We focus on amplifying the voice for those who want to make an impact but don’t know how. OUTLOUD is a lifestyle. We go further than just the art of advocacy; we make sure we enforce the emotional and mental wellness of the advocate as well. We service on three principles, “The Big E’s,” education, engagement and empowerment. Our clients get to grow as individuals while making their mark in the community.”

In addition to starting a successful business at a young age, Powell is the head girls varsity basketball coach at Delmar High School. She gave the opening speech for Governor John Carney’s signing of the proclamation acknowledging October 2021 as Global Diversity Awareness Month at HBCU and serves as co-chair of the Youth Committee for the Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative. OUTLOUD also held their fifth Unit Rally/March in Seaford on October 3 and she is the sole organizer of “Walk of Change 302.” The organization is currently undergoing rebranding for the upcoming year, so no events are planned for the rest of 2021.

Anyone who is interested in working with OUTLOUD can reach Powell at [email protected] or give her a call at 302-249-8823.

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