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Community Highlights: Meet Bernita Allen of Sis, Are You OK

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bernita Allen.

Hi Bernita, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I was born and raised in a small town called Butler, GA located in the Middle Georgia area. I am a 34-year-old wife, mother, business owner, educator, and more. I wear many hats. I have been married to my amazing and supportive husband, Wesley Allen Sr. for ten years now. We have two amazing kids, Jayla and Wesley Jr. I have been a special education teacher for 12 years now. I am also a successful business owner of several businesses.

Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be successful in life. I became the first person in my family to graduate from college. As a kid, I would often say that I was going to become a teacher and own a hair salon. That dream actually became a reality. I am the co-owner of B & W Hair Studio and Shop located in Warner Robins, Ga. I am also the owner of Style by Bernita, LLC.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I experienced what I am sure many other people experienced, which was very high anxiety and depression. Although I was so grateful to be alive, I knew that something mentally was still not quite right with me. I did not feel like myself. During this season of my life, I also experienced other challenges in life such as family health issues and life just “life-ing” to be honest. I was beginning to lose sight of who I was and whose I was. I knew that what I was experiencing was not right and I needed to seek professional help so that I could show up as the best version of myself for me and those around me. After coming out of that dark season, I knew that God had a divine purpose for allowing me to go through that season. I knew that I needed to be obedient and follow the will of God in my life. Therefore, I founded and created my business, Sis, Are You Ok, LLC.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Starting Sis, Are You Ok, LLC has been a smooth ride thus far. I honestly think it has been a smooth ride because I am already a business owner so I am knowledgeable about starting a business. However, I have experienced some sleepless nights because this is one of my babies. SAYO is near and dear to my heart so I want every detail to be great. I have had some nights where I get into deep thoughts thinking that maybe I should not move forward with growing the business. I often questioned if I was good enough to start this type of business. I would often wonder how others would receive it or would they support it. Although these are normal thoughts when starting a business, I had to remind myself that if God gave me the vision, he would order my steps the entire way. I always keep Jeremiah 29:11 at the forefront of my mind. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is one of the reminders that keep me motivated.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Sis, Are You OK, LLC (SAYO) is a faith-based business that focuses on initiating the conversation centered around mental health in African American women. To be clear, SAYO is not a professional counseling business. Our goal is to start the conversation with women who feel like they are alone and afraid to seek the necessary professional health. Our goal is to be a bridge and gateway to help women in the community connect with licensed therapists who can provide them with the required help they need,

We use the term “sis” so loosely in our culture but are we really checking on our “sis” to see if they are ok. We often hear people say to check on your strong friends. I am that strong friend but when I was going through my darkest season, I did not feel very strong. I think I survived that season because I had great people in my life genuinely checking on me and praying for me. It was at that moment that I knew that if I was feeling like I was not Ok, then surely there were other women experiencing similar struggles. As a woman who wears so many hats, I understand how it can become so easy to lose yourself. You are always so busy taking care of others and you put yourself on the back shelf hoping to take care of yourself later. However, this mentality is unhealthy. We are no good to anyone if we are not good ourselves. An empty vessel can not pour into another vessel. You just don’t have it to give.

Sis, Are You Ok, LLC aims to help women become the best version of themselves by speaking life to women who feel like they have lost all hope. This is done through open discussion panel seminars. We host seminars in the community that allows women to converse about mental health. We also provide resources that are beneficial for women after they leave the seminar such as connecting them with licensed therapists or giving away self-care baskets to help them reset. Our number one goal is to help African American women heal and be the best version of themselves because everyone deserves to be happy in life.

I want people to know that it is ok not to be ok. You don’t have to always be a strong person. Take care of your mental health just as much as you take care of your physical health. We need both our physical and mental well-being to be healthy. The world needs the healthy version of us so that we can be a blessing to others.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Something surprising that most people who know me might not know about me is that I am a night owl. I literally stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning getting work done, This is when I am able to really focus, hear from God, and create some of my best ideas. When everyone else is sleeping, I am up working, thinking, and creating.

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Image Credits
Image Credits: iDAP Marketing

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