Career, Education, Empowerment, Family, Seminars, Youth

Transitioning Into College

Making any transition in life can be difficult. Sometimes we have someone to talk to who has been down that path and that helps, but other times we are walking down a path that no one around us has actually been down. This is true for many students making the choice to attend college. They are considered first-generation because their mother nor father attended college. Attending college as a first-generation college student can present many obstacles for the student and the family. Join Encouragement Block for a workshop to share those obstacles and how to better prepare right now.

Transitioning Into College


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Empowerment, Faith, Youth

Building a Strong Bond

mother daughter

Motherhood is one of those life experiences that is scary, wonderful, stressful, and fulfilling. Some might question how it can be all of that in one and for every Mother her response will be different. I know having my daughter at the age of 21, not being married or in a stable relationship, was the scary part. I have always known I have the ability to do great things in life; however, I never really dove into that potential. That was, until I had my daughter. Once I knew I was pregnant my whole world shifted and I was determined to line everything up the way it should have been. Even still, it was not everything I had hoped it would have been but it was the best I could do with what I had and the circumstances I was in at the time. Fortunately, during our first year I was able to work graveyard and spend my days with her having picnics in the park, swimming, and sleeping.

As my daughter grew older I knew I wanted to be a positive role model for her so I decided it was time to go back to school. I started community college and realized the journey would be very long with a full time job and a young child; so I researched other avenues to obtain a degree. I ended up finding Axia College, a community college through the University of Phoenix Online. I completed my Associates in Psychology in 2009. While the degree was a personal accomplishment, the doors of opportunity did not suddenly appear. I decided to continue my education and pursue a Bachelors degree. Life has so many obstacles and I was not able to complete my Bachelors degree on the first try. I had a son and again found myself in that scary situation with some added stress because I was now a single mother of two children. But, I knew that I was suppose to be doing something greater than what I was doing, so I figured out a way to get back into school. In 2012 I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. It was not an easy journey and I will be the first to admit to any person that balancing a full time job, two kids, school, and a household is work. It is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. There were times I felt guilty for using Saturdays to study and work on assignments instead of taking the kids to the park or to the pool. Other times, I was up all night with sick kids and my homework was on the back burner. I stressed about passing my classes. I stressed about being the best mom I could be.

While there weren’t handfuls of careers opportunities flying my way when I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, I was able to secure a position doing something I love, working with people to increase their potential and help them build their self-esteem before they venture off into the “real world”. With this job I have had the opportunity to network with various community organizations. The best part of my job is the flexibility and work-life balance. When my kids have school picnics, awards assemblies, or are sick I am not ridiculed or reprimanded for taking care of what matters most to me: my kids. My kids have participated in work events and spent the day with me at work. It is a great experience to have them see their mother doing something for others and share in that experience.

Through everything I do, I want my kids to know that they matter most. Motherhood is scary, but those days when my kids run to me, hug me, and say “Mom, I love you”, “Mom, I missed you”, “how was your day”- there is nothing more wonderful in the world. Having a positive attitude throughout my journey and knowing deep down I was destined for something greater than the path I was leading was what got me through. Regardless of your story on how you got pregnant, where you are in life now, or what you do in your job, it is important to remember:

  • “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)
  • You have the power to decide what type of bond you want to have with your child(ren). You can choose to let the fear and stress overpower the wonderful fulfillment or you can choose to be fulfilled and seek out ways to build the bond through the stresses.
  • Children grow so fast. Take the time when they are young to build the foundation of love, trust, compassion, and affection because they will venture off into the world, where you once were, and they can get lost if they don’t have an anchor, their mother.
Education, Empowerment, Technology, Youth

Re-Evaluating the Definition of “Smart”

Education is powerful and up until a certain point, in the United States, it is free.  Or is it? There are parents that cannot afford to send their children to a specialized school so they are products of public education and then there are students whose parents send them to specialized schools to “ensure” their child receives “the best” education. According to an article posted by the Council for American Private Education as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2007-2008 the average tuition for private schools for K-12 was $10, 045 (Council for American Private Education, 2014).

Think about two college students in the same program, yet one is a product of public education and the other of private education. One is a female, Hispanic student who attended a public school and the other is a Caucasian male who went through private education. Which would you say is “smarter”? To add a little bit more information, they both hold leadership roles in student organizations, have part-time jobs, and were both accepted into the same professional schools after graduation. Now which one would you say is “smarter”?

Think about it for a minute. . .

Parents are a key influence in the success of student education, not money. The students that go through the public system do not attend schools where certain subjects are specialized and they have top resources and technology. Most public schools are understaffed, underresourced, and mixed with all socio-economic classes. In addition, public schools are usually separated by district, which aligns with the location of residence.

On the other hand, private schools cost money because they have fixed class sizes, pay top dollar for staff, have the latest technology or require parents to purchase the technology as a “supply” and have majority of one type of socio-economic class.

Think about the everyday obstacles that public school students face: racial discrimination, peer pressure, disruptive classrooms, sharing a classroom with students of all education levels, and underpaid staff that are only willing to work as much as they think they are paid for.

In private schools, students still face obstacles, yet the cost eliminates the probably of disruptive classrooms, multi-level comprehension, and underpaid staff. There are still peer pressure issues and racial discrimination issues. In some respects, these might be greater because of the entitlement certain students feel they have, and some can go back to racial discrimination.

 Going back to the two college students, if anything, the female Hispanic student who comes from a lower socio-economic class and attended public school is smarter than the Caucasian male who attended private school. She had to focus on her education even when there was chaos around her by disruptive students.

  • She didn’t have easy access to specialized programs to help her learn.

  • Instead of attending camps and programs, she had to write essays, get top grades, and perform at a top 10% to receive scholarships to cover the cost.

  • Her parents both worked long hours just to pay the bills in the house, so she was left to take accountability for her education.

The next time you hear someone having a conversation about how poor the education system is or comparing the products of public or private systems, give them a friendly reminder that parents are important to education, and it’s not about race. It is a socio-economic issue and students that excel in their education in public schools are just as smart, if not smarter than students who attend private schools. They have to be more resourceful and active in their education without the constant support of their school, parents, or administrators.