Chantale Milord attributes “God’s grace” for giving her the strength to succeed and help others do the same
Chantale Milord, CEO/founder of the Grace Leadership Preparatory Institutes, Inc. (in black vest); students and staff members gather for a photo opportunity.
By Charles Moseley
The old axiom which states, “It’s not where you’ve been, it’s where you’re going that counts,” accurately describes Chantale Milord’s life journey, a journey which has taken her from the brink of despair to serving as an inspiration to countless others.
In 2005 Milord founded the Grace Leadership Preparatory Institutes, Inc. (GLPI), to help insure that children have an opportunity to pursue their dreams and fulfill their academic potential academically, culturally, and spiritually.
GLPI is an accredited, private co-educational Pre K-12 college preparatory Christian institution in Opa-Locka, Fla. Their services include VPK, SAT/ACT prep, life skills, character development, financial literacy, adult education, and credit recovery and life management. The company also pro-vides afterschool programs to children primarily living in Miami-Dade County.
Her life story begins in her native country of Haiti, ravaged by one natural disaster after another, in the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere. There she experienced untold hardships as a young girl, devoid of all the encouragement and nurturing which are so important in child development.
The 39-year-old experienced childhood poverty the likes of which few in America cannot even imagine. At times things got so bad, by her own admission, she thought about giving up on life itself.
“As a young girl being born in a third-world county, Haiti, I was confined to the culture, environment, mindset and limited beliefs of my upbringing.
“Life at the age of eight confirmed that I was a loser. A loser of a game that I had no clue that I was drafted to play. Despite my lack of awareness and my inadequacy to effectively strategize and condition to win at this game of life; the game was on. Failure to ac-knowledge that there is a game did not override the massive and devastated lost and ruin that comes with losing at life,” Milord added.
No child should have to endure such hardships let alone have to contemplate whether life was really worth living. However that’s exactly what Milord had to decide; whether to accept her lot in life or commit to making the changes in her life not only to survive but to succeed. Once she made the commitment to living, her journey began toward not only finding, but fulfilling, her destiny in life.
“I woke up to my undesirable circumstances daily with new hope and expectations that my situation would someday change for the better. Deep within me, I had a strong desire for more: A desire to dream dreams that contrasted with the reality of my present circumstances.”
At the age of 11, Milord migrated to Miami in 1987. Al-though she now lived in a country many considered the “land of opportunity,” her life did not reflect that sentiment. In fact over the following years, it was quite the contrary.
Fast forward to the age of 16 and Milord became pregnant with the first of five children. She dropped out of high school in her senior year, just a few credits shy of earning her diplo-ma. Things once again appeared bleak for this precocious teen-ager.
Eventually she graduated from a night school adult education program which began her academic assent. Milord attempted to attend college but was unable due to her immigrant status. After attaining residential status, she attended Miami Dade for theater and later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Education from Jacksonville Seminary.
“In search of solving the problem for children that no one was able to solve for me, I founded the following organization to address the dying but barely addressed need of children and their families using a holistic approach to the mental, emotional, social and spiritual development for internal healing.”
They include; GLPI, K-12 College Preparatory Institute in Broward County, Grace Academy International, K-13 College Preparatory school in Miami Dade, and Grace Behavioral Support Services, a mental and behavioral health service provider for children and families.
Milord employs a holistic approach to education taking into consideration the cultural, academic, as well as spiritual needs of her students and encourages active participation of each child’s family members.
“Grace Leadership Preparatory Institutes recognizes that all students deserve the opportunity to develop their potential in order to become responsible citizens in society. Therefore, we are cooperatively working with the home, church and com-munity. GLPI’s goal for each child is that he or she will ac-quire, believe, and apply the knowledge, understanding, skills, wisdom, and virtues to take dominion over creation to the glory of God and for the good of their communities.”
Michelle Gerenis spoke high-y of the school where her 23-year-old daughter Crystal graduated from some years ago.
“It really helped my daughter achieve academically and in other areas as well. Their program was Bible based and parental involvement was required,” said Gerenis.
Milord also received personal acclaim from the business com-munity as a result of the work she has done in both Dade and Broward County.
“From the first moment I met Chantale, I knew this woman was dedicated to improving her school and giving her students the opportunity to expand their horizons by participating in the Aventura Marketing Council/World-Class Chamber of Commerce business meetings. Chantale is creative, hard-working and an outstanding businesswoman,” said Elaine Adler, president of the Aventura Marketing Council.