HOLR Chats with the Founder and CEO of Worthy of Love, Mary “Mandie” Davis.
Mary “Mandie” Davis is inspiring those in her community- and across the country- with the mission behind her nonprofit organization, Worthy of Love.
The founder + CEO is deeply committed to transforming the way youth and families experience homelessness. As a result, Mandie, through her foundation, envisions a world where every child can celebrate major life milestones- regardless of their financial background or living environment. Worthy of Love, therefore, creates unforgettable moments such as joy-filled birthday parties for individuals. Since its founding, Worthy of Love has provided over 13,000 children across Los Angeles, CA, and Houston, TX birthday celebrations to help strengthen family and community connections.
Today, HOLR is sitting down to chat with Mandie about how she created her foundation, her plans for the future, and how she got her nickname.
Talk to us about how you got your nickname, Mandie.
When I was a little girl, we moved to a new town. It was my birthday, and I was sad because I had no friends. I felt so alone. My teacher knew it was my birthday and got me a gift. She handed me a plaque with my name, Mandie, and underneath Worthy of Love. She said, “this is what your name means, worthy of love.” I still have that gift on my mantle as a reminder that I am worthy, and that my birthday is a very special day.
What inspired you to create your foundation, Worthy of Love?
I think my entire life has inspired me to create WoL. In particular, while traveling in college with Semester at Sea. I got the honor of traveling the world with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He taught us to treat everyone we meet as a brother and sister and every child like they are our own. After our first miscarriage, I wanted to do something meaningful, and I remembered that the children we kept seeing in Skid Row were my responsibility seeing that I needed to treat every child like my own. They needed the love, and we got the gift of healing. We were able to hold them right and celebrate their lives. We now have two daughters and 15,000 children and counting.
Talk to us more about Worthy of Love and how it’s committed to transforming how youth and families experience homelessness.
Our goal is to normalize and transform their environment into an unforgettable experience. We say the words, you are worthy of love, and I am worthy of love over and over. Love is spread in a way that is fun, and joyful. We have the most amazing vendors, volunteers, and only the best entertainment and gifts for families.
We heard that Worthy of Love is launching a new social enterprise initiative called Worthy of Love Productions. Can you tell us more about this and what it’s about?
Utilizing the organization’s expertise in event planning, WoL will launch a new social enterprise initiative: Worthy of Love Productions (WoLP). WOLP will employ caregivers and teens experiencing homelessness, training them in highly marketable event production skills. In addition, WoLP will produce events for the civic community focusing on milestone celebrations like birthdays, weddings, and religious occasions, and micro-events like corporate dinners and other social gatherings. Beyond outside events, the WoLP team will handle logistics for the monthly party at the URM, Hope Gardens, Westwood Transitional Village, and other LA shelters.
What are your future goals for the foundation?
Creating a social enterprise to help stop the cycle of homelessness. We will keep celebrating the lives of the families and reminding them that they are worthy of love until there are no more families struggling with homelessness.
Published by HOLR Magazine.