JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Quiandrea Borders, or “Miss Q” for short, mentors a group of young women every Tuesday night in Jonesboro and on weekends in her hometown of Hayti, MO. They learn how to deal with peer pressure, bullying and how to prepare for college.
“Talking about it actually helps me to cope with a lot of different things, because I don’t feel alone,” Tierany Cox, a junior at Nettleton High School, said. “I feel like I have someone that I can talk to and someone that actually understands me.”
“For her to have a safe haven, or a mentor that she can kind of confide in, outside of her parents,” Wakonda Cox, Tierany’s mother explained. “(It) is important. Sometimes, they don’t always tell their parents everything.”
Miss Q came up with the idea after writing a book called “The Adjusted Crown.”
It encourages you to turn your pain into power…whether it’s going through failed relationships, single parenting, domestic abuse or being raised without a father.
“I had great mentors growing up and I wanted to have that lasting impression on young women,” Borders said.
By night and weekends, she’s a mentor.
But by day, the graduate of Arkansas State University with degrees in sociology and criminology, works at NEA Baptist Hospital.
That is where she met Caren Gammill this past summer. Gammill and her two daughters, Michelle Bacot and Renee Harmon, became impressed with “Miss Q.”
“We spent a long of mornings in the hospital room and Miss Q would come and always tell us about what she had going on and that she was getting ready for graduation for her girls,” Renee Harmon, Caren Gammill’s daughter said.
“She would always tell me, ‘God has bigger for you,’” Borders said.
Gammill became weaker and was allowed to go home. Little did “Miss Q” know that Gammill asked her daughters to do something before she died.
“My Mom said, ‘We need to do a Gr8 Acts of Kindness nomination,” Harmon said. “We did from there.”
“This was something that my Mom felt really strongly about. Her health was declining,” Michelle Bacot, Caren Gammill’s daughter said. “But she was impressed by her and that wasn’t easy to do.”
And so on this night, we are going to honor her request.
As “Miss Q” and her mentoring group are listening to a guest speaker in the Round Room of the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, a side door has been propped open to allow myself, First Community Bank associates and Michelle Bacot, Renee Harmon and other family members a chance to enter the building without being detected –until the last minute.
“Excuse me,” I said to a contingent of young women. “May I interrupt for just a moment? I’m looking for Quiandrea Borders.”
The young women turn to look at their mentor standing up in the back of the room. She has her hands tightly clasped over her mouth in shock.
“I’ve met you before on Mid-Day,” I said to Borders. Her eyes welled up with tears. “But this time, it’s all about you. This night, it’s all about you!”
“Do you have any idea what’s happening?” I asked her. She is still overcome.
“You are the next winner in the Gr8 Acts of Kindness!” I announced and everyone in the room breaks into applause.
I explained to “Miss Q” that her nomination was special because of how it was made and who worked to get it done. But, her eyes have already come to rest on two familiar faces in the room.
“Congratulations,” Harmon said to “Miss Q” as she hugs her with tears also spilling over.
“You are so deserving,” Bacot said as she also hugs Borders.
Both daughters said that their mother, Caren Gammill, was very impressed by “Miss Q” and her mentoring program that was funded entirely out of her own pocket. It includes a graduation party at the end of their 10 week long study. Young women also receive blazers or an outfit suitable for a job interview.
“We go around and ask them, ‘What do you want to be?’” Borders said. “So what are you doing to get to that point?”
“Miss Q” wants even the youngest of participants to think ahead.
“I am so grateful for Miss Q and her program,” Wakonda Cox said.
“Oh, my goodness! I just can’t believe it!” Borders said with the biggest smile.
“She is smiling down on us tonight,” Harmon said of her mother.
If you would like to learn more about “The Adjusted Crown” Mentoring Program, email “Miss Q” at: Quiandrea.firstname.lastname@example.org.