By Thomeya Jackson
Brenda Jarmon, founder and president of Sowing Seeds by Faith Inc., plans to release an inspirational book about her life and testimony.
“I started writing the book about 15 years ago, and then life stuff started happening. And I just wasn’t feeling it,” said Jarmon.
Her book is entitled “From GED to PHD on Mustard Seed of Faith.” The former FAMU professor and department chair of social work is hoping to inspire all walks of life with her story. She says she expects to complete the book in the fall.
She began to start writing again about four years ago when she was better able to process the trauma that she had dealt with over the years. Jarmon realized that her pain created a platform to motivate and encourage those around her.
“Dr. Jarmon has been my mother away from home. She tells me the brutal truth, gives me the best advice, looks out for me if I need anything and most importantly she always expresses unconditional love. Any event I attend with her she knows everyone in the entire room and they also express gratitude and love towards her,” said Jahna Richards, a sophomore at Florida A&M University.
Jarmon’s story began as a teenager who would give birth to both of her children at the age of 15 years old. The experience of teen pregnancy and single motherhood led her to write her dissertation, which she did while doing the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship at Florida State University. The dissertation was titled, “Targeting the ‘Real’ Economic Costs of Teen Pregnancy: A Skill Building Approach for Early Adolescents.”
Jarmon says her son and daughter are her biggest inspiration for the book, and that she wants to let people know that “the same God that brought her through can do the same for them if they learn to trust Him.”
She recalls being the talk of the town and how others shamed her. In the rural city of Selbyville, Del., people told Jarmon that she would never amount to anything due to her being a teen mother.
“When somebody tells me I can’t do something I’m going to turn a negative into a positive. I don’t care how long it takes or what I have to do, I’m going to try to prove them wrong. At one point I think I became an overachiever listening to all the negativity,” said Jarmon.
She credits her parents and grandparents for teaching her things that she could not learn at a university. They also taught her the importance of having faith and trusting God.
Both her parents and grandparents helped set a foundation in her life that allowed her to face the many struggles she encountered, using her belief and strength to turn her experiences into a positive lesson.
Jarmon received her Master of Social Work degree from Delaware State University, n accomplishment that took her years to complete as she strived to take night classes while caring for her two children.
“Her life story is a constant reminder that you can do anything you set your mind to,” said Jazmin Fletcher, a student at FAMU who is currently being mentored by Jarmon. “Dr. Jarmon’s story from GED to PHD is a genuine story of pride, dedication and confidence. I could not have asked for a better mentor to guide me through my college career. It has been great having her as my mentor while taking this new journey. She has shown up and shown out in my life every step of the way.”
Being a national and international educational consultant and motivational speaker, Jarmon knew that her book was needed so that people could share in her testimony even when she is not speaking at an event.
“My most memorable moment with Dr. BJ Jarmon was about the third time we met. She took me to meet her long time friend Dr. Naim Akbar, a black psychologist I happen to admire. In that meeting with Dr. Bj Jarmon and Dr. Naim Akbar I cried my eyes out because of the passionate conversation we just shared. Dr. Jarmon is more than a mentor. She is an angel I never knew I needed,” said Richards.