“I feel like there is something we can do,” said Lakia with as much sincerity as she could muster. “Yeah, me too, but it’s almost as if there is thin veil of fear that’s blocking us,” responded Ty. The feeling that surrounded Lakia’s comfy living room was pure confusion. “You know what?” asked Lakia. “What,” responded Ty. “We need to conquer our fear, there is no reason why we can’t use our skills to help better our community,” answered Lakia. Thus, Konquered Fear Xchange was born. On that day in January of 2015 we made a commitment to each other that we would do everything in our power to make a positive difference in our community.

So, what happened next? Naturally we had no idea what to do or who to connect with. We decided it would be in our best interest to get as much material on non-profits that we could find and begin the process of self-education. We went to a ton of community association meetings to understand what was going on around us. These efforts made us feel great, but underneath we knew that we were not fully wrapping our minds around what it means to be community leaders. It just wasn’t enough.

To add to our blissful optimism, yet lack of focus in early 2015 I had to return to school for the spring semester of my sophomore year. This proved to be a deafening blow to our dreams because at that point we lacked a sense of strategic planning, let alone planning effectively from two different states. We began to think about the problems of our community in a manner that allowed the thin veil of fear to encroach upon our minds again. The fundraiser we held in February of 2015 seemed a distant memory that really had no significance in the grand scheme of things. The contacts we made in early 2015 seemed unreachable because we did not know what to say. Our Instagram news journal faltered because our lives were full of academic and life work, let alone trying to plan for an organization or a way to remedy the issues that the youth of our community face. We would talk on the phone about the issues, which ranged from lack of access to quality extracurricular activities, lack of social capital, lack of positive role models, etc. We knew what had to be done, but we didn’t know what to do about it.

We decided to take a break from June 2015 until August 2015. Once we reconnected we had a passion for community work that burned much more fervently than the initial passion. We had both taken time to reach out to advisors and people who do community work to learn how to effectively plan and reach the hearts of the people in our underserved community. We recommitted ourselves to our initial pact and created a system of accountability as to not allow the thin veil of fear to divide us again. We made a conscious decision that we would have to be fearless in taking action, acquiring knowledge, reaching out to people who could help, and reaching out to the people we ultimately want to serve. The result is that now we have finally built a solid platform on which to stand. We know how to articulate our ideas. We know how to have substantive discussions, while also remaining grounded in our overall goal of helping the youth of our community. We know how we want to present ourselves in regards to image, and lastly, we know how to effectively work with one another despite having completely different lives.

The moral of the story is that it really took us a full year to conquer the fears we initially recognized plagued us. Through a ton of ups and downs we are determined to help others discover the sheer beauty of what it feels like to shed fear and take bold action, ultimately acquiring the power to change their lives. With a solid team backing us, and with the love that we have developed for ourselves, each other, and our work, we are now ready to serve our community in whatever capacity we are able to. We hope you join us in the effort and begin to conquer fear, one day at a time!



Ty Johnson