Valley Stream, NY – Affirm the Word has officially presented New York’s Layla’s Dance & Drum with a generous $1,500 microgrant in COVID-19 pandemic relief. The microgrant was given to the dance studio on Saturday, February 13.
Affirm the Word, founded by single mother, J. Marie Jones, aims to help small, female-owned businesses to overcome and thrive during the coronavirus outbreak. Small businesses across the United States have been hit hard over the last 12 months with Yelp data showing 60% of business closures in the summer of 2020 were caused by the pandemic.
Seeking to make a change, Jones published her debut book, Affirm the World: The Spiritual Practice of Speaking & Living God’s Word, in February 2021. Jones spent the summer of 2020 writing the book as the pandemic hit the US hard.
She aims to give back 5% of each sale to individuals or organizations who use the book to overcome personal challenges. Jones implores those who purchase Affirm the Word to tell the organization about their unique stories and how God has touched their lives to overcome obstacles. Jones shares readers’ stories via the Affirm the Word website and social media pages. The stories are further reviewed to determine if the organization can provide a microgrant, service, or equipment to readers with a truly inspirational story.
Layla’s Dance & Drum is one of those female-owned businesses to express an inspirational story. The African-American-owned dance studio provides vital extracurricular programs to children from all backgrounds in Valley Stream. Layla’s Dance & Drum was unable to secure a PPP loan and verged on closing in 2020. The microgrant provided by Affirm the Word ensures that Layla’s Dance and Drum won’t close, although more help is needed.
“My business is in debt as a result of the quarantine and shutdown,” Anayo Michel, owner of Layla’s Dance & Drum, said. “I look at the beautiful children who love our program and I see the opportunities that I am able to create for our students and our teachers. I am inspired to press on. When I have bad days, I have a quick reference with scripture in Affirm the Word. These daily doses of God’s word help me understand that faith keeps us nourished and we don’t have to give up. We simply have to trust in God.”
The microgrant is just a drop in the bucket, however. The dance studio needs more financial support to remain open, providing local children with extracurricular activities. The dance studio’s costs remain high due to rent, existing expenses, and a lack of student enrolment fees as a number of learners had to stop attending classes due to the pandemic.
To continue supporting Layla’s Dance & Drum, Jones launched a GoFundMe page to provide additional support. Donations to the studio’s GoFundMe page will keep the studio open and continue providing kids with engaging lessons.
Affirm the World: The Spiritual Practice of Speaking & Living God’s Word can be purchased on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. Donations can be made to Layla’s Dance & Drum at the official GoFundMe page.
For more information on Affirm the World, please visit the organization’s official website.