SANFORD, Fla. – Maggie Gaines, 31, not only runs her own business but she is working to help other small business owners in her community, and takes the time to mentor teenage girls.
“I’m a strong believer that you are in control of your future,” said Gaines. “I’m so thankful because of my past I’m able to help young girls, and I’m able to help businesses.”
Gaines is the owner of Bright Light Consulting in Sanford and helps people learn the ins-and-outs of starting a business and how to apply for grants. During the COVID-19 pandemic she’s offered free classes.
"I was really blessed to help a lot of black business owners here in Seminole county obtain funding for their business so they can stay open," said Gaines.
She said her passion to give back was fueled by her struggles as a girl when she became a foster child at 5-years-old.
“My back was split open, cops would come, it was terrible scenes. We were finally taken away and my journey in the system started,” said Gaines.
She said she often felt empty and alone.
“You really truly feel no one cares what you do, and I know at one point, I was that kid,” Gaines said.
Now happily married with a family of her own, Gaines spends her free time helping girls from 8 to 18 years old in Seminole and Orange counties stay on track through her nonprofit called Saving our Daughters.
“[I] let them know, ‘Do not let your past determine your future,‘” said Gaines.
She said her future and her nonprofit wouldn't exist without her own daughter.
“Being raised in the system I just thought, ‘What could I teach her?’ I wanted to start S.O.D. to save her, but to save any other young girls who cross my path,” she said.
Her 8-year-old daughter, Maliyah, known as Baby Boss, has two of her own nonprofits and one of them is personal for her. It’s geared towards educating her peers about suicide prevention after her father died years ago.
"I tell them don't give up, stay strong," said Maliyah.
Gaines said she wouldn’t be where she is today without her foster parents, her family and her faith.
Most recently, Gaines was given the all clear to open a group home in Sanford to help foster kids who are aging out of the system.
To read more about Gaines’ nonprofit and her consulting business visit https://www.facebook.com/savingourdaughtersorlando
You can also email her at email@example.com.
August is National Black Business Month and every week News 6 is spotlighting black-owned businesses rooted here in Central Florida. Learn more at ClickOrlando.com/blackbiz.