What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I am the Executive Director and Founder of A Young Mother's D.R.E.A.M. I became a teen parent at the age of 19 during my sophomore year of college. I created a two-year strategic plan to ensure that I graduated on time. However, I would have never made it without the support of my friends and family. After graduating, I spent 10 years in sales and marketing, but my passion was helping young mothers. I realized that not every young mother had the same support system that I was afforded. A Young Mother's D.R.E.A.M provides young mothers with a mentor and and a supportive circle of influence. Our goal is to help them complete their education. Statistics say that less than 2 percent of young mothers will graduate from college. We strive to help them defy those odds!
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
Some of the young mothers we work with have been told so often that they will not achieve anything in life that they have begun to to doubt their abilities. The also have difficulties trusting anyone that sincerely wants to help them. Our goal is to change their mindset and this isn't a simple process. It takes time and a true commitment to this process. It is truly amazing to see a transformation in a young mother who at the beginning of the process had brick walls protecting her emotionally.
What is your proudest achievement?
Next week I will be awarding five young moms with scholarships for college. It is one thing to give an empowering speech about continuing your education, but more empowering to be able to provide a tangible resource to make this goal achievable.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
Albert Einstein said that "We can not solve our problems with the same thinking used to create them." I believe a shift in mindset is absolutely required before true success can be attained.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years, A Young Mothers D.R.E.A.M. will be a national - possibly international - organization providing young mothers everywhere with scholarships and access to resources that make completing their education less challenging.
We hope to have positively impacted and helped reduce the number of teen pregnancies by challenging teens to set goals and become DREAM chasers. We will teach them how to make better choices and reduce the likelihood that they will become parents before they complete their education.
What is one thing you've learned from the CUP Fellows Program that you would pass along to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
Mentoring is necessary in every stage of your life. You should always have a mentor in your life that can provide you with wisdom and sound advice in every area of your, however you should also be mentoring someone else who needs to benefit from your wisdom and life experiences. it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or advice, seeking wise counsel is the most intelligent decision you can ever make. With the right mentor you will definitely "DEFY the Odds!"