Hips N’ Lips had the pleasure of meeting the fabulous founder of Opal Sisterhood of Love a little over a year ago. Opal Sisterhood of Love is a community center based in Rex, Ga. The focus of the sisterhood are girls ranging from ages 7-18. We are excited to introduce Tempestt Radford-Bell. Born and raised in Edgewood Courts in Southeast Atlanta. Tempestt has always been the nurturing type and as you read this interview you will begin to understand why her purpose given by God was to help young girls with self-love, self confidence, and self-awareness. Join us as we take you on a journey and explore how this Kingdom Builder stands up against all odds and pushes through to help young girls defeat all odds. T, as I call her was very surprised as I had a list of “real” questions ready for her. I was ready to channel my inner Oprah and get down to business.😂😂 We had a laughing, shouting, good ol’ transparent time.
Hips N’ 💋:Where did the idea to start Opal’s Sisterhood of Love come from?
T: The Idea came from God. One day dropping one of my friends off, the Holy Spirit said to me form a sisterhood. I thought the sisterhood would be for women my age but it turned out to be for young girls. O.P.A.L. is a acronym that stands for Overcoming Past Afflictions with Love. Opal symbolizes repelling against evil.
Hips N’ 💋:Why do you think the focus was young women?
T: I grew up in a single parent home. My father was not in our home and my Mom was the sole provider. I have a older brother and a older sister. Being the youngest and Mom being at work, I was left with my siblings. I got no attention. So when things would happen, I wouldn’t say anything. There were alot of things that I dealt with and all I could do was keep moving. I filled the void of not getting attention from my parents by giving love to other kids in our neighborhood. I was the one who would babysit the kids and seemed to always have kids my age or younger around me. That made me feel better about my situation. I felt needed. I believe the way I grew up was a part of my process to become a mentor for young girls. I know what it feels like to be alone and have no one to talk to.
Hips N’ 💋: You have the heart of a nurturer. Was there any obstacles that came your way as a result of you not getting the attention you craved from your parents?
T: Absolutely!! I had gotten pregnant in 8th grade. By the time I was entering high school I had my first child. As a young girl, since I didn’t get any attention at home. The attention I’d get from my daughter’s father was what I’d been craving. This is why I pour love into the girls of the sisterhood. I know what can happen when you have no attention or love. You find it all in the wrong places.
Hips N’ 💋: WOW!! So going into your freshman year of high school you were a mother? Did you tell your Mom?
T: Mannn!!!! There was a older lady that lived near us and I would talk to her about things. I confided in her and told her I was pregnant. I begged her not to tell my Mom and was hoping she would keep my secret. Unfortunately, she didn’t. My Mom was pissed! She took me to the doctor and BOOM! There it was. I was indeed pregnant.
Hips N’💋: How were you able to deal with being pregnant so young?
T: I graduated from 8th grade and no one from my family showed up to the graduation. Momma was still always working. I used to be like DANG!!!! Ma!! You work at the Waffle House. Can’t you leave the Waffle House?!?!?! Like I really needed my Momma!! Despite all that I had to keep pushing. When the shock wore off Momma was there to help me. She made sure my daughter had everything she needed and she had good health care. Having my daughter at 15, I had to grow up and do it fast. It was serious business. I had no time for playing games.
Hips N’💋: Was the Father still in the picture?
T: By the time I started High school he was not longer in the picture. I remember him wanting to name my daughter Haley after the rapper Eminem’s daughter and I quickly shut him down and that argument was the reason we stopped speaking to each other. Looking back now, that was CRAZY! That’s what happens when you have kids young.
Hips N’💋: With all you went through, would you say it was God’s plan that you be the one to help mentor young girls?
T: Absolutely, I would say that if I had more support as a child things may have been different. God had a different plan, had I not been through some of the things I went through I wouldn’t have the wisdom to teach young girls what not to do. I use my life to show them what not to do and how to do it right. This is why I’m very honest about my life.
Hips N’💋: How did you start out helping young girls?
T: I started a cheer camp in my apartment for the summer. I had about 20 girls. Interacting with the girls, I started to feel like I would never want the girls or my daughter to deal with situations on their own as I once did. It was something that was in my heart.
Hips N’💋:How were you funding the cheer camp out of your apartment?
T: I would charge around $40.00. This was strictly to feed the girls. Some of the parents would help and bring snacks for the girls but we were “Thugging It” as I like to say. I mean we would fund raise and come up with money to keep the girls fed during the summer. God always made a way. Money was never something that would stop me from doing what I could do. As long as the girls had what they needed I was fine. There were parents that couldn’t afford to pay and I would never turn any girls away.
Hips N‘💋:With God giving you this vision, was there any doubt or fear in starting the Sisterhood?
T: I used to beat myself up a lot. I kept thinking that I wasn’t good enough to do something like this. In my mind I felt like I didn’t have all the tools to make OPAL successful. In my mind, I would think about how I didn’t have a degree, or how was I going to help girls when my life was a mess. My biggest challenge was that I would not have enough funding to give the girls what they needed. Self-Doubt was a HUGE obstacle.
Hips N’💋: Was there ever a shift in your self-doubt?
T: That summer I had the girls everyday from 7am to 6 pm in the evening. There was a guy that owned a construction company that came by and asked what I was doing. That day the Holy Spirit gave me the exact words to say. I told him that I was told by God to form a sisterhood and that I was doing that through the cheerleading camp. He told me that he had a guy for me to call that would help me. That was the first time that I felt like someone believed in me. That set a fire in me to keep going.
Hips N’💋:You have been doing this 5 years prior to ever having a building. Would you say this is a God-led journey for you?
T: OHHHHHHH!!! YES!!! You gotta have faith. One thing I say all the time is you gotta have faith. I tell people that want to go out and get a 501c3 to be aware that just because you have a 501c3 people will not be kicking your door down to give you money or to sponsor you. There is still a lot of work to be done. We are still making it today because we have FAITH and we trust in God.
Hips N‘💋:What fuels you to keep going with the sisterhood in spite of having a husband and 3 children at home?
T: My children are definitely a part of my business. They see Momma on the “Go” all the time. They know what it is. I make sure I balance family time and the sisterhood time. I make sure my kids know that Mommy will always have time for them. They are very aware that some children don’t have 2 parents or that some children have different obstacles to deal with. What fuels me to keep going is when I see the difference in a child from when I first got them. When a parent comes in and expresses the difference in their child. That fuels me to keep going. For every 1 child I help that child can help someone else and the cycle will continue. I believe peers learn better from one another vs. adults.
Hips N’💋:What makes Opal’s Sisterhood different from other community centers?
T: The Sisterhood is built on love. It doesn’t matter what religious background you have or where you come from. We do everything out of love. Our girls are taught to pray for one another and to help one another. If one of the girls see another sister struggling. I advise them to pull their sister to the side and talk with them and pray or encourage them. The Sisterhood is available 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. My doors are always open.
Hips N’💋:What’s next for the Sisterhood?
T: The girls are learning about all 52 states. We hope to travel across all 52 states and learn about each one. We also would love to have some form of mentorship for young men in the future.
Our interview was soooooo AMAZING!!! Please let me add that Tempestt is also a licensed cosmetologist and has a salon inside Opal’s Sisterhood where she teaches the girls about hair care and serves as a stylist. She is all about teaching the young ladies how to carry themselves as such. If you have a daughter between the ages of 7-18 that is in need of mentorship please don’t hesitate to contact OPAL Sisterhood today. Your daughter will be in good hands.
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