LIVE YOUR DREAM
Live Your Dream: Education & Training Awards for Women
Presented annually, the Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award award is granted to two local women who provide the primary financial support for their families. The award supports their efforts to improve their education, skills, and employment prospects.
2021 AWARD WINNERS
As a single mother of three beautiful girls, I am a former drug user and have been incarcerated in and out of jail since I was young.
While growing up, both of my parents abused both drugs and alcohol. I saw my dad physically abuse my mother which was very traumatic. From the age of seven to eleven, I was sexually abused by a male cousin. This is probably why I became sexually active at a young age and started heavily abusing drugs to help numb the pain.
I needed money to support my habit and did things of which I am not proud. I was taken off of the streets by a boyfriend who was killed in front of me. I found out that I was s pregnant a few months later. I had my first daughter and left her with my mother to raise and kept using drugs. After a fourth pregnancy and because my mother couldn’t take care of any more of my children, I gave this daughter up for adoption.
Again I was running the streets, got caught up in a Federal case and found myself in jail again. After five months, I was bailed out by my mother. I came home broken but determined to do something. I went to Home Boys where I started school to get my high school diploma and got a job. After my high school diploma, I immediately started East Los Angeles College. I want to get my AA in Sociology and plan to transfer to UCLA through the honors program since I hold a 3.85 GPA.
I want to work with people who have been in the same situation as me and help them get an education and stay out of jail. I want to help people get off of drugs and learn their worth in life just as I did. The missteps I have overcome in life have been so exhilarating and fulfilling. My passion is to help people by becoming an advocate or counselor to help incarcerated people get back on track. I am a mom today, I have a job, I go to school and I have my daughters who depend on me.
When I moved from Texas, I was desperately looking for a way to get a better life for my kids and me. In Los Angeles I thought that I had found the way. Engaged and in a good job I could only see myself going up. Then COVID-19 hit and I found myself pregnant. This made it very hard to work as an assistant working in Mental Health and Drug Abuse in a housing program. My relationship fell apart and I found myself homeless, pregnant, and alone. I ended up on unemployment and sleeping in my car. For five months of my pregnancy, I was moving from couch to couch. I had to send my kids back to Texas to live with my mother. My son is due in January and I am about three months away from completing my course work in Medical Billing and Coding. I selected Medical Billing and Coding as when I was looking for a job, I saw that it was something in high demand. Once I complete the course work, there is a three-month externship that I will have to complete. I see that my new chosen career is more than just numbers I have been the patient who was confused by the billing process and everything that was involved. Having seen both ends, I want to make sure that patients receive the services that they need and deserve. I am single mother of four working hard to finish something for the first time in my life. My goal is to be the most helpful in anything that I do and to show my four children that where we come from does not determine where we have to stay in life. Showing my kids that there is more to life after the storm and being a great example of resilience in life and career is something I am striving for.