Profile: Lauryn Raleigh

Lauryn Raleigh

Year: First-Year

Major: Global Leadership Studies

Minor: Legal Studies and Religious Studies

Hometown: Richardson, TX

Student Orgs: Kappa Alpha Theta, Towering Traditions  

Whenever it is time for me to write a profile, I always try to find someone who represents Belmont women in the best way possible. Nobody fits that description better than Lauryn Raleigh. Lauryn is an unstoppable force and she is doing so many amazing things to improve not only the Belmont community, but the world. After high school, she took a gap year and traveled to 5 different countries, immersing herself in cultures vastly different from her own. She grew emotionally and spiritually during this time, then came to Belmont with a mission. She is willing to share the deepest parts of herself with others simply because she thinks her story could help someone. She is an entrepreneur and has a personal blog. I asked her a few questions about her major, her Belmont experience, and the projects she is currently working on, and her responses prove that she is capable of changing the world.

photo: Brittain Lawrence

What do you love about Belmont?

I really love the theology program. I have met some of my favorite people from that. The faculty are so wise and pour into you so deeply. And I love how Belmont integrates faith into the community. I like that I can go anywhere and find somebody and talk about God, even if they aren’t a Christian.

What would you change about Belmont?

The diversity. I grew up in one of the highest populations of refugees and immigrants, so to come to a place like Belmont was very difficult. I would love to see people from a wider spectrum.

Tell me a bit about Global Leadership Studies and why you chose it as a major.

I was originally coming to Belmont to do music therapy, but after my gap year I felt called to do something broader. As soon as I saw global leadership that was what clicked, because it combines religion, social justice, business, law, and everything I’m passionate about. There’s not very many people in it which is really great because they know your face and they know your name and they’re pushing for you to succeed.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to go to law school because my end goal is to be a prostitution attorney. I would love in the end to be able to merge law and business. Right now I create business programs for women in marginalized groups, so eventually I want to be able to pull women out of prostitution, give them legal counsel, then give them autonomy and choice over what business they want to go into. I want to figure out how to build bridges between groups of people.

Can you tell me more about your current business, The Ambassador Initiative, and how it relates to Belmont?

It’s all about the college student. I realized last year there’s a huge need in college for women to feel like their voice can be heard. What we do is we train and equip college women in discipleship and sustainable business programs, and then we teach them how to go into marginalized groups so that those women can gain opportunity and empowerment through business programs. Our goal for next semester is to reach out to single moms and homeless women to help them find job opportunities. We want to show them that there are people who care for them deeply, and this will help Belmont students learn that they can make change before they get their degree.

I know during your gap year you participated in something called The World Race. Can you tell me what that is?

The World Race is a 9 month mission trip program where you live in 5 different countries. I lived in Thailand, Cambodia, Guatemala, Honduras and Ethiopia. When you go, you live amongst locals for 9 months. Sometimes you have clean water, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you have electricity, sometimes you don’t. About halfway through the race I started figuring out where I want my voice to go. I had never grown up thinking I had a voice that mattered, so for me that was really important because all of a sudden what I was saying was really influential to people, and that sparked something deep inside of me. I ended up going through some really hard mental illness things in Africa, and I just decided I was never going to sit still again. I could never let someone be voiceless. I decided I wanted to fight for people who had never been given the opportunity to be vocal about their feelings and opinions.

While we’re talking about having your voice be heard, can you tell me about your blog, Daily Victories?

As a sexual assault survivor, I wanted to write a blog specifically about trauma; not about someone who has completely overcome the trauma, but someone who is in it. I created this blog as a source of community for people of all demographics, but specifically for people with trauma so that they have somewhere to go where they’re not alone, and they can find victory in everyday things. A lot of times victory looks like just getting out of bed in the morning, sometimes it looks like having a meaningful conversation with someone, and sometimes it means nothing happened and you just cried all day. But it’s important to know that all of those things are key to healing. I healed in the past year just because I chose to get up every day and fight for myself. I’ve been blown away by the responses I’ve been getting because I thought maybe 12 people would read it, but I’ve gotten over 2,000 reads. People I’ve never met before are messaging me and telling me they have the same story as me or that they needed to hear this. That has blown me away because I didn’t think it was going to matter to anybody, but it matters to people because it’s real, and I think people are craving authenticity.

How do you want to impact the Belmont community?

My business is ultimately for Belmont women. I want to give them voices, opportunity, and a broader perspective. My goal with anything at Belmont is to enter a conversation and leave it having given someone a new way to think about something. I don’t ever want to tell someone “this is the truth and this is why you should believe it.” I want them to understand they’re so precious and so valued and their voice is valued, and their ideas are good so let’s grow those ideas so they don’t just affect one person, they affect everybody. My main goal is to give Belmont women the opportunity to think outside the box, and if they have awesome business plans I want to give them the tools to start their business. We have awesome ideas and business plans and passions that I want to see flourish at Belmont, so I want to cultivate that and start conversations. I want to be able to plant that seed and say “I stood behind this leader and watched them grow.” I think we can definitely start something here that’s long lasting. I would love to see this movement of free-thinking women who are passionate and driven take over Nashville because I know that’s going to make a huge impact.

You can find Lauryn's blog at dailyvictories.home.blog and more info about The Ambassador Initiative on instagram @ambassadors_intiative

photo: Kenzie Baker

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