Community Partner Spotlight - Love You Like A Sister, Inc. - KIPP Nashville

Community Partner Spotlight – Love You Like A Sister, Inc.

Every month, a classroom at KIPP Nashville College Prep brings together two groups of women with a unique opportunity to learn from one another. 

The members of Love You Like A Sister, Inc. descend on the school during Friday afternoons, bringing with them a joyful, infectious energy. 

Love You Like A Sister, Inc., or LYLAS, is a non-Greek, all female community service organization at Tennessee State University that was founded in 1996. As a service-based organization, LYLAS’ mission is to make a difference in the lives of young people. 

“This year we decided we wanted to make more of an impact and work with middle school girls, and so we found KIPP,” says Shamara Jackson, a junior at TSU and the Community Services Chair. “My favorite part is getting to know the students and seeing them change and grow. You can tell over time you’re making an impact.”

About ten KNCP students participate in the monthly club. Jackson says their priority is getting to know each student individually, so they can provide mentorship in a fun, comfortable environment. 

Each month, the LYLAS brainstorm ideas for activities to bring with them to the school, things that will empower the students and be fun for them to participate in. In January, the LYLAS brought journals for the students to decorate and worked with them on setting goals and intentions for 2024.

Montasia, a sixth grade student at KNCP says, “I like being in this club, because it feels like a sisterhood. It feels good being around older girls who are in college, and I feel like I can learn stuff from them.”

Kiyah Terrell, a senior at TSU and the LYLAS Community Service Co-Chair, says, “I love that the kids enjoy seeing us. I love the fact that we get to be a mentor to them. At their age, I would’ve loved to have someone to look up to, where you can tell them anything without judgment.”

Tasia Winston, the Dean of Students at KIPP Nashville College Prep, says the partnership between the school and the LYLAS organization has been remarkable. 

What began as a selective process of handpicking girls to participate has evolved into a movement where girls eagerly seek to join on their own accord,” says Winston. “The middle school years can be challenging socially and emotionally for many young girls. However, through their engagement with LYLAS, I’ve observed a remarkable transformation: a newfound sense of confidence, the blossoming of friendships, and genuine happiness among the participants since their inaugural session in September. We deeply appreciate the dedication and impact of the women involved with our girls, and eagerly anticipate continuing our partnership with LYLAS.”

Kenya, an eighth grade student at KNCP says, “I’m the only girl in my family and the youngest, so that’s the reason I signed up. I have three older brothers. I wanted to know how it feels to have people who understand you besides your mom.”

Joniya Starks, a sophomore in LYLAS, says, “I hope the students see the bigger picture, than what they might be going through right now. I want them to be prepping themselves now for life and college.”

The club’s official name is “Growing Lilies”, because the group’s official flower is the tiger lily. 

Jackson says, “Middle school is a time where so much is changing, and you’re discovering who you are, so we hope our time with them is just a small part in helping them learn and grow.” 

And while the LYLAS are hoping to impact the middle school students, Jackson says she knows her friends in the group are also growing and learning, so the feeling is mutual.