Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Coca-Cola 'Pay It Forward' Sisterly Love, An Inspirational Story(PHOTOS + VIDEO)







Coca-Cola 'Pay It Forward' asked "what inspires me"? and "what I do to give back"? 

I love these questions. Usually, the first person who comes to mind when I think of "inspiration" is  my older sister, but today I think of my youngest sister Hawa, a young enthusiastic, talented, educated and smart mother of one.  

Hawa inspires my work with young mothers in Baltimore City who struggle to get by in their lives because of their impoverished and disadvantaged circumstances.

As I go about my daily job as a counselor to new moms, I try to relay to them my sister's story and hope her success can inspire them.  At 19 years old, Hawa got pregnant in her second year in college, yet she did not lose sight to her goals and aspirations.

After a teen pregnancy, crippling hospital stays and against the odds, my sister earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2010.

Despite suffering from successive Sickle Cell crises that required her to get numerous blood transfusions and transfers, Hawa remained content on getting her degree. She enrolled in a local college after she had to drop out of her college of choice away and return home so she could stay close to home for medical treatment. After giving birth, she enrolled in a 4-year university and got straight As despite having to take care of a young baby.

My sister chose not to give up but to 'Pay It Forward' and eventually graduated from Towson State University with honors. There was no stopping her from reaching her goals.  As a matter a fact, her mission was to prove everyone wrong and to actually graduate.  It is testament to her strength. She was determined not to give up just because she had a child at a young age.

My sister Hawa and her son, Kristian.

My sister loves her son Kristian and she does everything for him. 

Her story is what inspired me to work as a community health nurse in Baltimore City. 

Today, I encourage young women who were like my sister andare first-time moms to not give up and to achieve their goals. 

I encourage them to work towards self-sufficiency, to set goals, and obtain and maintain a job.  I help them learn how to take their first steps to  attend college and achieve higher education. My goal is for the young women to look at the bigger picture and look at life beyond their current circumstances. I strive to encourage them to see that their child will look up to them and follow in their foot steps, therefore their ascension to higher things would have residual effect on their offspring.

I love that my job is a job that I can also give back to the community.  Not everyone has a job where they can earn a living while changing someone's life -- even if it's just one person. 

The Pay It Forward campaign aims to help deserving youth gain exposure to experiences that will help them grow and prosper, it’s Coke’s way of giving back. To nominate a youth to win the Pay It Forward apprenticeship and scholarship click the link Coke.com/payitforward


Coke's 'Twitter Chat' with Steve Harvey is taking place on Thursday, February 6th Join the conversation https://twitter.com/IAMSteveHarvey


Because a great mentor can make all the difference, Coca-Cola has teamed up with Steve Harvey to give two young people the apprenticeship experience of a lifetime. Visit Coke.com/PayItForward to nominate an aspiring youth and help pay it forward to the next generation. In addition, each winning youth gets a $5,000 scholarship to assist with his or her pursuit of higher education.
      

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by the Coca-Cola Company via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the Coca-Cola Company.

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