The GK Folks Foundation provides education, business, and mental health help for young African immigrants and refugees in Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada.
Once a month they host a mental health session to talk about issues going on right now.
“The goal is just to bring people of all Black, Indigenous, and people of color together to create that safe space for them to discus,” said Gloria Mensah, executive director for GK Folks Foundation.
In 2021, they will be launching an entrepreneurship program for young immigrants to pitch business ideas to potential investors and get important resources.
Right now, the foundation’s biggest event is the Miss Africa Utah scholarship pageant, which is in its tenth year.
“We have empowered over 150 African women and awarded scholarships of over $40,000,” Mensah said.
As part of the program, young women represent different African countries and showcase their cultures and passions.
They attend workshops on public speaking, interview skills, physical exercise, and healthy living before the big event.
The current Miss Africa Utah is Fatoumatta Barrow, who represents Gambia.
“Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa,” said Barrow.
She is using her scholarship to help people in her country.
“My main goal is to break barriers to education,” she said.
She is grateful to have the opportunity to represent her country authentically.
“There’s so much inclusiveness and representation,” Barrow said.
Embracing this diversity and taking the time to learn about each other is what Mensah hopes to bring to the table with the foundation.
“When you understand where people are coming from, what they eat, what they like, their culture–it tends to create unity and peace together,” she said.
Funding for their programs and scholarships comes from donations and community support.
Mountain America Credit Union donated $500 to the GK Folks Foundation.
The next mental health session is on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The pageant will be shown online over a few episodes in August.