Though only a junior in high school, Marshay Fowler carries wisdom and credibility beyond her years. Raised in Simpsonville and Greenville, as a child she loved to spend time with her mom, a hairdresser, at the salon. She also grew up going to her ‘memaw’s’ house to watch her cook, reveling in the peace of being able to be present with her at the dinner table just to sit, talk, and eat. As a vegetarian, Marshay says her grandmother cooks the best vegetables and is always prepared to cater to her vegetarian lifestyle.
“I loved going to visit my friends in Greenville, seeing my mom at the salon, and eating with my memaw. Even though I grew up in Simpsonville, Greenville was a big part of my life too.”
It was natural for Marshay to become invested in the Greenville community. In 2018, through the Job Readiness Training program (JRT), which connects volunteers with a variety of charitable organizations in the community, she discovered Sustaining Way and Annie’s House. For Marshay, it was great timing. She became a part of their Steward Fellows Program and has engaged with Sustaining Way ever since. For someone that already has the drive to play guitar, piano, and ukulele for her church, participating in her community further demonstrates her true dedication and compassion for sharing her gifts to serve others.
“I was 14, watching Netflix, [and] every Sunday I’d play for my church. It got boring and I don’t like that. I like to stay busy. Working at Sustaining Way was another chance to come to Greenville, which I love.”
During her time as a Steward Fellow, Marshay learned a lot about sustainability, affordability, and gardening. Every new project, outreach event, and moment in the garden helped propel Marshay forward.
“I like researching, I like learning new stuff, which has a lot to do with being a Steward Leader. Outreaches were awesome, especially introducing myself to people.”
Among the many positive changes Marshay experienced, her time at Sustaining Way inspired her to want to go to college for music. She’s currently considering Furman University. She felt that because of the support she receives from her family and Sustaining Way, she can take on these new life challenges. She loves the idea of being busy and learning new things, especially as she is currently holding two jobs and constantly learning new music. Marshay feels that her productivity carries her forward.
“The best version of my future self is successful. I never set out to be a failure. I want to succeed in the things I like to do.”
Currently, Marshay is a Steward Leader at Sustaining Way working on the Element Project. The Element Project is portrayed through social media and is an 8-week project that names facts based around the elements of fire, water, earth, and air.
“I tell people about Sustaining Way because I believe people are the number one of marketing. Talking to people and sharing information is the best way to get the word out.”
Always ready to share her passions, Marshay feels comfortable providing information about Sustaining Way with others and is not scared to seek out how to get more people involved. She even encouraged her brother to take part in the Steward Fellows Program, just like she did. Marshay is truly an incredible leader and an asset to her community. Marshay’s drive to learn and improve herself will ensure that she continues to succeed.
“If you’re passionate about something, I think you should go for it. Everyone is scared of the pay, or that they don’t have enough time. Just go for it, if you’re passionate about it – if you really want to do something, it’s for you.”
-Story captured by Kali Llano