Meet Maranda Evans, founder of the Troubled Movement
Q: So, the Troubled Movement, seems to be a self-explanatory name but you’ve turned it into reaching out to several segments of women and men, what was the vision behind this?
Originally, it was geared towards women only. It wasn’t until I turned it into a 501(c)(3) organization that I said, “You know what, my young men out here need just as much help as my young women.” So I created Marvelous Men Moving Forward to dedicate a program to men only and host events that are for men only. Troubled was originally a book, my memoir. The Troubled Movement was just a hashtag that I used to promote my book. I thought it was clever because it wasn’t just about publishing a book, I truly believed it was a movement. I had a chance to start a domino effect of “releasing your silence” as I did with my book. Once it started to receive support, and with the support of my beloved grandparents Felix & Mildred Stoot, I knew God had something more planned for me. We say to all the “Troubled” teens out there that you can MOVE past your troubles and become triumphant. Never give up on your dreams. Make them your reality.
Q: Who is the Troubled Movement for?
The Troubled Movement is for teens and young adults, both male and female. We target ages 13-25. It is also for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and mental illness. We are dedicated to enriching and uplifting our youth to show them that they can follow their dreams and create a life of triumph despite the tribulations that so many of them are dealing with.
Q: What inspired you to be vocal about your story?
I’ve always been a writer. My whole life I was never one to talk about my problems, I wrote in journals. Every day I would write about how I was feeling, the pain I was going through, the secrets that no one knew about, like my rape. The burden of silence was weighing me down and keeping me in deep depression. One night as I was sleeping, I jumped up and grabbed a pen and paper and started writing my story. I heard God telling me, “Tell you story. Help my people.” Once I started writing it out and sharing it, the weight began to lift from my shoulders and with every stroke of my pen I released more pain.
Q: For someone out there who wants to get involved, where should they start?
We are ALWAYS looking for mentors, volunteers, and anybody who believes in helping the youth in our community and eventually our country. We are also currently looking for board members who are willing to join our team and bring dedication and ambition to TTM. For information on becoming a volunteer, visit thetroubledmovement.org/get-involved. We also have internships available. For information on becoming a mentor or board member please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Since we are a newly-founded nonprofit, our budget doesn’t allow us to provide compensation but as we grow we will begin to hire staff, beginning with those that are already working with us.
Q: Wow, it’s definitely an eye-opening to hear God using you to share your story. I’m sure it took a lot of courage to step out and share your story that so many people never knew. How are you able to use your testimony to help other individuals succeed?
Often times, people don’t share what they are going through because they assume no one understands. They are afraid to be judged because society has a way of ridiculing people for their mistakes, tragedy, or pain. By telling my story, I am able to relate to things that teens and young adults are going through. I am able to say to them, “I’ve been there but this is how you overcome adversity.” God has guided my path every step of the way. I owe everything to Him. So many times I wanted to give up and He reminds me of why I’m dedicating my life to a dream of helping others. My tests are my testimonies. God gave them to me to share and lift others up while lifting up myself.
Q: That is inspiring! I feel like we’ve literally watched each other grow into women and it’s amazing! What was your turning point where you decided, “okay; I love accounting, but I want to use my story to do more”?
Haha. It’s funny that my life-long dream has always been accounting. I planned to be a CPA from the moment I won district champion in an accounting competition in high school. I didn’t realize that accounting wasn’t my purpose until the summer before my last semester in graduate school (summer 2016). I had done all the education requirements, was on my way to having a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, then I realized that a CPA license isn’t what I truly wanted in my heart. Although accounting isn’t my purpose, it is still my career. I work in the accounting department at a non-profit and I also have a bookkeeping business on the side doing accounting for a couple of restaurants, personal taxes, and giving accounting advice. Accounting is my passion, but The Troubled Movement is my purpose.
Q: I definitely can understand that. That sounds like a lot of our generation’s struggle balancing passion and purpose. How do you balance your career and being involved in community service? What advice would you give someone who has corporate America obligations but wants to be a servant in the community?
I’m always honest. I believe in being 100% open and genuine with everything. It is a big part of my success. So I’ll be honest any say, “IT IS HARD!” There are some days when I’m so tired I can’t walk. My life is constantly moving at a racing speed. My therapist got on me about this for months because I wouldn’t slow down. However, it’s possible. Nothing is easy, especially something as big as trying to change lives. A year ago, I decided to step out on faith and quit my full-time accounting job for a part-time accounting job. Best decision I ever made in my life. I didn’t think about money or anything. All I knew was The Troubled Movement needed me. My life is 40% TTM, 30% my corporate job, 20% my bookkeeping services, and 10% fun. Usually fun means taking naps or reading books. I never was one to go out much so the fact that I’m a 24-year old “granny” that works all the time instead of going out and having fun doesn’t really bother me.
My advice is this:
1. In everything, pray and have faith. Faith will take you further than you ever think you can go. Listen to that little voice in your head telling you to follow your dreams. Always trust God.
2. Make the decision on if you’re ready to put your all into your purpose. If you don’t know what your purpose is, ask God to reveal it to you and pray for strength to make it happen.
3. PRIORITIZE! Make a list of what is more important. Don’t mix work with purpose. When I’m at work, I am strictly about work. When I’m at home, I schedule time for TTM and time for bookkeeping. When I’m doing one, I don’t think about the other. Focus on one thing at a time. Also stay organized and stick to your schedule/plan.
4. Never give up. No matter how hard it gets, and it will get harder than you think you can handle, don’t quit. I just recently learned how to take breaks and have “me time” where I’ll cut off my phone and do what I love (read a book usually). If you aren’t healthy and happy you can’t help anyone else. I have to stay strong in order to carry out my mission. To those that are reading this, “You are amazing! Don’t let anyone tell you different. You can do anything you put your mind to. God will see you through it. He doesn’t give up on us so let’s not give up on Him.”
It’s truly exciting to see so many people in our generation taking the time out to give back to our communities while still using their purpose! For more information on The Troubled Movement, check out thetroubledmovement.org. The Troubled Movement will also be hosting a fundraising gala on March 4th. For ticket and sponsorship information visit here.