16-year-old Thiyonna Alexander has a recipe for success.
She started baking when she was only six, mixing together cookies brownies and cakes. But this high school junior wants more out life than just sweet treats and her plans are far from half-baked.
“Whatever your heart feels like you want to do, just go for it,” she said.
Thiyonna has dreams of serving in the U.S. Army and helping kids as a social worker — but first this aspiring soldier is fighting another battle: human trafficking.
“Children as young as three years old are getting drug into slavery and from slavery comes emotional, physical abuse, everything, trauma,” she said.
“This happens here,” said A21 Walk for Freedom organizer Shonda Carter. “They don’t care if you live in a small, cute town. If they can get your child’s attention, they’re going to get your child’s attention.”
A21 is an organization aimed at ending human trafficking in the 21st century. Thiyonna was so inspired by Carter’s presentation at her church, she had to find a way to give back.
That’s where she got the idea to use her passion for cooking to raise money for A21. The sweets Thiyonna cooks up in the over will make their way to the Walmart off Central Freeway around 9 a.m. Saturday.
Thiyonna hopes to raise $100 for A21 — but the experience she gains will be priceless.
“If you do it now, you will already have experience so you will just get better and grow and become better so when you’re already there, you’ll be the best you can be,” she said.
Carter is humbled someone so young wanted to follow in her footsteps.
“Some days I feel like, ‘am i making a difference?’ and when you get phone calls saying you’ve inspired someone so young to start up and carry on the mantel, it just makes you keep going,” Carter said.
That’s why we’re paying it forward to Thiyonna, so she can add a little extra support to A21 — and continue to bring the right ingredients together.
“If they see you have the right ingredients…if they see you have Jesus, you have love, you have compassion and you’re showing them all these things, they’re going to take a chance at going for what you believe in,” Thiyonna said.