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Aiesha Draughton

3175

Bold Points

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Finalist

Bio

Hello! My name is Aiesha Draughton and I am an alumna (C/O 2013) of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Though I graduated with a degree in psychology and sociology, I've been a professional nanny for over six years. I have developed a deep understanding of the needs of families during the postpartum period. Through my work, I have seen firsthand the unique challenges that come along with this time, and I am passionate about supporting families as they navigate this transition. I am honored to be attending the University of North Carolina-Charlotte for my Masters of Social Work in May of 2023, as I believe that this degree will enable me to make an even greater impact in the lives of families. With a focus on social justice and community advocacy, I am excited to explore ways to address the systemic barriers that can prevent families from accessing the support they need during the postpartum period. My experiences have led me to pursue training as a postpartum doula, and I am currently working towards certification in this field. Through this training, I have gained a deeper understanding of the physical, emotional, and practical needs of new and soon-to-be parents, and I am developing the skills necessary to offer meaningful support during this time. Through my work as a nanny and my training as a postpartum doula, I have seen the profound impact that compassionate support can have on families during this time. I am committed to continuing to learn and grow in this field, and I am incredibly grateful for any support that can help me achieve my goals.

Education

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Master's degree program
2023 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Social Work

East Carolina University

Bachelor's degree program
2009 - 2013
  • Majors:
    • Psychology, General
  • Minors:
    • Sociology and Anthropology

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Social Work
    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mental Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      Own a private practice that specializes in postpartum care for families.

    • Professional Nanny/Postpartum Care

      Self Employed
      2017 – Present7 years
    • City Carrier Assistant

      United States Postal Service
      2016 – 20171 year
    • Medical Records Coordinator

      Blue Ridge Pediatrics
      2015 – 20161 year
    • Customer Service Supervisor

      Whole Foods Market
      2014 – 20151 year

    Research

    • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other

      East Carolina University's Health and Stress Lab — Undergraduate Research Assistant
      2012 – 2013

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      Postpartum Partners — Doula
      2023 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Barbara J. DeVaney Memorial Scholarship Fund
    As a 31-year-old graduate student studying social work, I have dedicated my life to helping others in need. Even as a young girl growing up in inner-city New York, I knew that whatever I grew up to do, it would be serving others. My passion for advocacy and social justice began during my undergraduate studies in psychology at East Carolina University, where I became interested in understanding the underlying causes of mental health issues and how these issues plagued communities like mine. This led me to pursue a graduate degree in social work, with the ultimate goal of becoming a licensed clinical social worker. My focus is on providing mental health care to single mothers and at-risk families during and after pregnancy. As a postpartum doula and nanny, I have seen firsthand how difficult it can be for new mothers and families to adjust to parenthood. Many mothers face a variety of challenges, including postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. These challenges can be particularly difficult for single mothers and at-risk families who are already struggling to make ends meet. My goal is to bridge the gap in care for these families by providing affordable, accessible, and high-quality mental and postpartum health care. I believe that every mother and family deserves to receive the support they need to thrive, regardless of their financial situation, race, or sexual orientation. This is why I founded Postpartum Partners, a doula service dedicated to providing affordable, accessible, and high-quality support to new mothers and families. My partner and I provide a range of services, including emotional support, breastfeeding support, and practical help with household tasks. We also offer referrals to mental health professionals and other resources as needed. While I am proud of what we have accomplished so far, there is still much work to be done. There are so many families in need of our services, but we are limited by our resources. This is why I am applying for this scholarship. If I were to receive this scholarship, I would use the money to fund my education and devote more time to Postpartum Partners. This would allow me to provide even more hours of free doula services to families in need. It would also enable me to expand our services and reach even more families who are struggling to make ends meet. In addition to funding my education and supporting Postpartum Partners, I would also use the money to continue my own personal and professional growth. I am committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and best practices so that I can provide the highest quality care to my clients. A better life for me means being able to spend more time helping others. While I'm proud to be the first college graduate in my immediate family, it has been a tough road both financially and mentally. Graduate school has come with even more challenges. With the help of this scholarship, I will be able to fund my graduate school education, devote more time to Postpartum Partners, and continue my own personal and professional growth. Thank you for considering my application.
    VNutrition & Wellness’ Annual LGBTQ+ Vitality Scholarship
    As I pursue my master's degree in social work, I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. I plan to use my education to make a positive impact on society by providing competent care to communities I identify with such as the African American and LGBTQ+ communities. Growing up as an African American woman, I have witnessed firsthand the disparities that exist in our society. I have seen how systemic racism and discrimination have impacted the lives of my family, friends, and community. I have developed a passion for social justice and a desire to make a difference in the lives of those who are marginalized and oppressed. I believe that social work provides a platform for me to address these issues and advocate for those who are often overlooked. In addition to my social work training, I have also trained and studied to become a doula. As a doula, I provide emotional, physical, and informational support to expectant mothers and their families during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. The role of a doula is to empower women and families to make informed decisions about their care and to support them throughout the birthing process. Unfortunately, African American and LGBTQ+ families often receive inadequate care during pregnancy and childbirth. They are more likely to experience complications and negative health outcomes due to a lack of access to quality care and systemic racism. As a doula, I hope to address some of the disparities that exist in maternal and child health outcomes by providing compassionate and culturally responsive care to African American and LGBTQ+ families. Overall, I believe that my education and training will enable me to make a positive impact on society by advocating for social justice and equity. In my future career as a social worker and doula, I hope to address the systemic issues that contribute to health disparities and advocate for policies and programs that promote equity. I plan to work within my community to provide education and resources to those who need it most. I am committed to making a difference in the lives of those who are marginalized and oppressed. I know that it will not be easy, but I am determined to use my education and training to make a positive impact on society. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue my master's degree in social work and for the support of this scholarship. With this support, I am confident that I can achieve my goals and make a difference in the world.
    Meaningful Existence Scholarship
    As a young girl growing up in inner-city New York, the term “therapy” or anything related to it was usually used when speaking about a negative situation or experience. Navigating the world as a Black woman, I became aware of the lack of representation in the mental health field. This lack of diversity in mental health professionals can lead to a disconnect between patients and their therapists, making it difficult for patients to receive culturally relevant care. When I needed my first therapist at the age of 15 I couldn't find one who looked like me or shared my experiences. Meeting and connecting with my current therapist, Beverly, helped me realize how important it was to have someone who understood my cultural background and the unique challenges I faced. She was able to provide me with a safe and affirming space where I could discuss my experiences with racism, microaggressions, and other issues that are often overlooked in traditional therapy settings. Her compassionate and empathetic approach inspired me to pursue a career in therapy so that I could provide the same level of care to others in my community. I am passionate about pursuing a career in therapy because I believe that everyone deserves access to mental health care that is tailored to their individual needs. I want to be a therapist who is able to provide culturally relevant care to my clients and address the lack of representation in the mental health field. I want to help Black individuals and communities overcome the stigma surrounding mental health and provide them with the tools they need to heal and thrive. I am also aware of the systemic barriers that prevent many Black individuals from accessing mental health care. These barriers can include a lack of insurance, high costs, and limited access to mental health professionals. As a therapist, I want to work with community organizations and other mental health professionals to break down these barriers and increase access to care for Black individuals. My experiences with racism, microaggressions, and generational trauma had taken a toll on my mental health. It wasn't until I sought therapy that I realized the power of healing and the potential for transformation. Through therapy, I was able to confront the root causes of my pain and learn coping mechanisms to navigate life's challenges. My therapist provided a safe and non-judgmental space where I could process my emotions and experiences, and work towards creating a life that felt fulfilling. Therapy changed my life by helping me heal from trauma, gain a sense of self-awareness, and live again with a renewed sense of purpose. As I pursue my Master of Social Work degree and work towards becoming a licensed clinical social worker, I am committed to breaking down barriers and helping others in my community, just like my Black therapist has done for me. I am excited to be able to pay it forward and help change and shape the lives of Black individuals and communities.
    Social Change Fund United Scholarship
    Although a utopian vision can mean having impossible and impractical ideas, I believe that we can advocate and create change to have optimal mental health in our community. In such a society, mental health issues would be treated with the same level of urgency as physical health problems. The stigma that surrounds mental health issues in the Black community would be eliminated, and people would be encouraged to seek help openly without fear of judgment. Mental health care would be affordable and accessible, with a diverse range of mental health professionals who identify as Black and are trained in culturally competent care. In order to achieve this utopian vision, mental health care and advocacy must be prioritized in the fight for social justice for communities of color. The lack of access to mental health care disproportionately affects Black individuals, as we are more likely to experience poverty, discrimination, and trauma. Addressing mental health needs is necessary for creating a more just society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Mental health advocacy must be integrated into the broader fight for social justice for communities of color. Social justice organizations must recognize the importance of mental health in achieving their goals and prioritize mental health care in their outreach efforts. The fight for social justice must also include efforts to reduce the systemic stressors that contribute to mental health issues in the Black community, such as racism, poverty, and discrimination. One of the major barriers to achieving optimal mental health care in the Black community is the shortage of mental health professionals who identify as Black. According to the American Psychological Association, only 5% of psychologists identify as Black or African American. This lack of diversity in the mental health field can create mistrust and discomfort for Black individuals seeking care. To address this issue, increased efforts must be made to recruit and retain Black mental health professionals. This can include scholarship programs, mentorship opportunities, and increasing representation in higher education programs. I am starting graduate school and my dream is to become a licensed clinical social worker in order to be able to provide culturally relevant care to my community and people who look like me. In addition to the shortage of mental health professionals, the stigma surrounding mental health issues in the Black community can also prevent individuals from seeking care. Mental health disorders are often viewed as a weakness or personal failing, rather than a legitimate medical condition. This stigma has been continually perpetuated by cultural norms such as the "strong Black woman" and the historical mistreatment of Black individuals in the healthcare system. To combat this stigma, education, and awareness campaigns must be implemented to promote understanding and acceptance of mental health issues. This can include community outreach programs, culturally competent education in schools, and media campaigns featuring Black mental health professionals sharing their stories and experiences. Black celebrities and public figures should also use their platform to speak openly about their experiences with mental health issues and encourage others to seek help. Addressing mental health needs is necessary for creating a more just society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. In my vision, mental health care would be considered a basic human right, and the mental health needs of the Black community would be prioritized. Through education, open dialogue, and working together as a community and a nation we can aim for a society that might not be perfect or utopian but is committed to the mental health wellness of all.
    Charles Cheesman's Student Debt Reduction Scholarship
    As a first-generation college graduate, I have always been passionate about education and its power to change lives. Growing up, I saw first-hand the struggles that my family faced due to the lack of education and resources as blue-collar workers. That's why I made it my life goal to pursue higher education in order to make a difference in my life and community. In 2013, I graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in psychology and Sociology. Although I was fortunate enough to attend and graduate from college, I had no guidance on scholarships or grants and ended up with almost $38,000 of student loan debt. Since my graduation, I have had different jobs in different fields but for the last 6 years, I've worked as a nanny and postpartum doula, providing support to families during the early stages of parenthood. This experience allowed me to witness the challenges that new parents face, especially those from low-income and marginalized communities. Motivated to make a difference, I made a commitment to offer low-cost services to BIPOC families and single mothers. I believe that every family deserves access to quality care and support, regardless of their financial status. I am proud to have helped many families in my community, and I hope to continue doing so in the future. My community service work has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I have organized and participated in several community projects, including coat drives for the homeless and fundraising events for local charities. I've provided babysitting and doula services for no cost to those who are in dire need but can't afford it. My commitment to my community is not just limited to volunteering. I have also been actively involved in advocacy work, fighting for the rights of marginalized communities. I believe that everyone deserves equal opportunities and access to resources, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. I'm starting graduate school in May of 2023 at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte to obtain my Master's in social work. While this degree will take a lot of hard work, time, and money, I know that I will be able to help more people and further my advocacy work once I obtain it. If I were to win this scholarship, I would be able to offer more of my time to my community and make postpartum care and support accessible for all families, not just privileged ones. The relief of not accumulating more debt and being able to afford school and necessary supplies would make this journey much easier to accomplish. Having some of my tuition covered by Charles Cheesman's Student Debt Reduction Scholarship means that I won't have to work 60+ hours a week in addition to my school work to cover my living expenses while going to school. I truly believe that postpartum care is essential for the well-being of new parents, and it is crucial for the long-term health of the family. Unfortunately, postpartum care is often neglected, especially for families from low-income and marginalized communities. With the scholarship, I would be able to offer more affordable services and reach out to more families in need. I know the value of education and the opportunities it provides. I am committed to using my education and experience to help others, especially those from marginalized communities. With this scholarship, I would be able to take my community service work to the next level and make a greater impact on the lives of families in need.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    The dream version of my future self includes using my platform and education to make a significant impacy on reducing maternal mortality rates in the US though innovative postpartum care and mental health services; Through my dedication and work I have make a positive impact improving the lives of women and families all over the US and the world.
    Szilak Family Honorary Scholarship
    Since graduating in 2013 I've been a professional childcare worker in North Carolina for different families, mostly working with families who have infant twins. I have been able to support women and their families during one of the most exciting and stressful times of their lives. The last family I worked for was one of the most transformative experiences that I have ever had. What started out as a normal one-year contract for a family that had just given birth to a set of twin girls ended in tragedy. I met Katie, her husband, and her adorable twin girls in September of 2020. I became their full-time nanny the following month and quickly formed a close bond with their entire family. Katie, like some people during the pandemic, worked from home while I watched the girls. I was able to see what a kind and giving person she was, especially since she worked for the city of Charlotte’s Housing & Neighborhood Services. Being from the area, she was passionate about the problems and solutions that she dealt with in her role. By the spring of 2021, we had formed a great friendship. I was looking forward to the summer and all the fun activities we had planned for the girls. On May 25th, all those plans were shattered when Katie was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of cancer called CUP, or carcinoma of unknown primary. The weeks that followed were some of the most stressful and emotional times I have ever experienced. I had to go from being a nanny that spent most of her days having fun with babies to being a support system for Katie’s family. I worked to keep a sense of normalcy in the house while Katie dealt with chemotherapy and fought her battle. Unfortunately, it would prove to be a valiant but short battle. We lost Katie on September 5, 2021, less than 4 months after her diagnosis. Somehow, I had to find the strength to navigate my own grief while still supporting Katie’s family. Getting up each morning and going to the same house that now seemed so empty. I spent the three months after Katie’s death putting so many things and people before myself because I wanted to help but also because I knew that I had been put in their lives for a reason. By December of that year, I was completely burnt out. I left Katie’s family after Christmas and spent the next 6 months focusing on self-care and working with a therapist to unpack everything I had pushed aside to continue to work. Although I no longer work for them, we have maintained a bond that makes us like family. I still get to see the girls, who will be 3 this year. It is bittersweet watching them grow up without their mother, who fought so hard to still be here with them. I am forever changed by that year I spent with Katie and those months I spent supporting her loved ones. I have aimed to be more kind, more compassionate, and more empathic with the people I encounter and interact with. I am more passionate about serving others and I recognize how much meaning can be found in aiding others during their darkest moments. I have begun training as a bereavement doula so I can support other families like Katie's in their times of need. Once receiving my MSW I will continue to work and support families in their times of need. I'm honored to carry Katie's spirit and legacy with me.
    Elijah's Helping Hand Scholarship Award
    Anxiety and depression are mental health issues that affect millions of people, regardless of race or sexual orientation. However, being a Black woman who identifies as lesbian in America has added an extra layer of challenges to my journey toward wellness. Despite these challenges, I have been able to overcome my struggles with mental health and have been working on lifelong wellness. As a Black lesbian, I have often felt like I do not belong in certain spaces, whether that be in the LGBTQ+ community or in predominantly white spaces. This sense of isolation and alienation has contributed to my struggles with anxiety and depression. In addition to the general stresses of life, I have had to deal with the added pressure of living in a society that often marginalizes and discriminates against people who look like me. For a long time, I felt like I had to keep my struggles with mental health hidden. There is a stigma within the Black community surrounding mental health, and I was afraid of being judged or ostracized for seeking help and not being a "strong Black woman". However, my struggles with anxiety and depression became too much for me to handle on my own, and I began to have suicidal thoughts. It was at this point that I realized that seeking help was not a weakness, but a necessary step toward healing. I began to research therapists in my area and was determined to find a Black therapist who would understand my experiences as a Black woman. After a few false starts, I finally found a therapist who I felt comfortable with and who has been an incredible source of support. Having a therapist who is Black and understands the unique challenges that Black people face has been life-changing for me. My therapist has helped me to unpack the trauma that comes with living in a society that often devalues Black lives. She has also helped me to navigate the intersection of my Blackness and my queerness and has given me tools to cope with the anxiety and depression that come with those experiences. While therapy has been an important part of my journey toward wellness, it is not the only thing that has helped me. I have also found solace and support within my community. Being able to connect with others who share my experiences has been invaluable, and I have found a sense of belonging that I did not have before. Despite the challenges that come with being a Black lesbian in America, I am grateful for the journey that I have been on. It has taught me the importance of self-advocacy, self-care, and community. It has also taught me that healing is not a linear process and that it is okay to take things one step at a time. I am proud of the progress that I have made, and I know that there is still work to be done. Being the person I am has presented unique challenges to my journey toward wellness. However, with the help of therapy and the support of my community, I have been able to overcome suicidal thoughts and find a sense of belonging. It is my hope that by sharing my story, I can help to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in the Black community and encourage others to seek help when they need it.
    @normandiealise #GenWealth Scholarship
    Generational wealth is a term that has been used frequently in recent years, particularly in discussions surrounding race and inequality. As a Black woman, generational wealth means creating a legacy of financial stability and opportunity for future generations of my family. Coming from a family of blue-collar postal workers, I understand the importance of hard work and perseverance, but I also recognize the limitations that come with that kind of work. That is why I am motivated to achieve generational wealth by taking a different path. I am proud to say that I am the first person in my family to attend college and obtain a bachelor’s degree. It was not an easy journey, but I knew that education was the key to unlocking opportunities that my family had not had access to before. After graduation, I worked various jobs for a few years, including working as a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service, gaining experience, and saving money. However, I knew that I wanted to continue my education, and I am starting graduate school in May of 2023. While pursuing higher education is an important step in achieving generational wealth, I believe that entrepreneurship and business ownership are equally important. That is why I am in the process of starting my own nannying and postpartum doula agency. As a trained doula and childcare provider, I have seen firsthand the need for high-quality, affordable childcare, particularly in communities of color. By starting my own business, I hope to provide a service that will benefit families in my community, while also creating a source of income for myself and, eventually, my family. Being a business owner and entrepreneur presents unique challenges and risks, but I believe that the potential rewards are worth it. Owning a successful business can provide financial stability, independence, and the opportunity to pass on wealth to future generations. Additionally, entrepreneurship can create opportunities for others in the community, whether that be through job creation or mentorship. However, I recognize that achieving generational wealth is not just about individual success. It requires dismantling systems of oppression and inequality that have prevented many black families from accumulating wealth over generations. That is why I am committed to advocating for policies that promote economic justice and equity. This includes supporting initiatives that provide access to affordable housing, healthcare, and education, as well as advocating for fair wages and worker protections. Generational wealth means creating a legacy of financial stability and independence for future generations of my family. As a Black woman, I understand the importance of education, entrepreneurship, and advocacy in achieving this goal. By pursuing higher education in social work, starting my own business, and advocating for policies that promote economic justice, I hope to create a path toward generational wealth that will benefit not only myself but also my community and future generations.
    Ruthie Brown Scholarship
    Although I graduated from college in 2013, I am all too familiar with the burden of student loan debt and how it has plagued my life these past 10 years. Like many of my peers, I accumulated a significant amount of debt during my undergraduate studies, totaling around $37,000. However, I am determined to take control of my finances and work towards lowering my debt. After graduation, I immediately began working full-time and even though I had a degree, my first job only paid $8 an hour. I was so worried about my student loan payments starting and had to rely on help to make the monthly payments. Throughout the years I've increased my salary and have been able to make payments toward my principal balance and towards the interest. While I thought going to college meant that I would be able to support myself on my full-time income, I have also taken on part-time work as a doula to supplement my income. This work not only provides me with extra income but also allows me to pursue my passion for helping others during a vulnerable and transformative time in their lives. Despite my efforts to pay off my debt, I am still concerned about the long-term impact it will have on my financial stability. That is why I am hopeful for student loan reform and forgiveness under the Biden administration. President Biden has already taken steps to provide relief to borrowers, such as extending the pause on federal student loan payments and interest accrual. This has been a huge relief for me, as it has given me some breathing room to focus on paying down my debt without the added pressure of interest. When the pause on loan payments began, I started putting money that I would normally use to make payments into a savings account. If student loan forgiveness isn't possible I will be able to take that money and apply it to my loan balance, which will wipe away some of my debt. However, I believe that more needs to be done to address the student loan crisis. Young Black women, like myself, are disproportionately affected by student debt. According to a report by the American Association of University Women, Black women take on more debt than any other group of women and are more likely to struggle with repayment due to factors such as wage disparities and systemic racism. It is crucial that any student loan reform or forgiveness plans take into account the unique challenges faced by black women and work towards creating a more equitable system. In addition to policy changes, I believe that personal finance education is crucial for young people. Many students, including myself, were not adequately informed about the implications of student loan debt before taking on loans. I believe that by increasing financial literacy among young people, we can empower them to make informed decisions about their education and finances. While my student loan debt can be overwhelming at times, I am determined to take control of my finances and work towards a debt-free future. Through a combination of full-time work and part-time doula work, I am making consistent payments toward my debt. I'm also taking a different route for my graduate school education by using scholarship platforms like Bold.org so the next chapter of my life doesn't start with added debt.
    Elizabeth Schalk Memorial Scholarship
    As an African American woman, mental illness is often stigmatized within our community, leading to feelings of shame and failure. It took me a long time to accept that I needed help and that seeking help was okay. For a long time, I felt like a failure because of my anxiety and depression. I thought that I should be able to handle everything on my own and that seeking help was a sign of weakness. But as I struggled to cope with my symptoms, I realized that I couldn't do it alone. I needed support, and I needed to seek help without feeling ashamed. Growing up, mental illness was not something that was talked about in my community. It was seen as a weakness, something to be hidden and ashamed of. This stigma made it difficult for me to accept that I had a mental illness and that I needed help. I wasn't fulfilling my duty as a "strong Black woman" It wasn't until I reached a breaking point that I finally sought help, and even then, it was a struggle to accept that I deserved to feel better. My mental health struggles have impacted my education and life goals. There were times when I couldn't focus on schoolwork or even get out of bed. It was a struggle to get through each day, let alone plan for the future. I felt like my mental illness was holding me back and I would never be able to achieve my goals. With the help of therapy and medication, I began to see a way forward. I learned coping mechanisms to manage my anxiety and depression, and I started to regain control of my life. I began to see that my mental illness was not a weakness, but rather a part of who I am. I learned to accept and love myself, flaws and all. Now, I am in a much better place. I am returning to graduate school, something that I never thought would be possible when I was struggling with my mental health. I am excited about the future and all the possibilities that it holds. I know that there will be challenges ahead, but I also know that I am strong enough to face them. My journey has taught me the importance of seeking help when you need it, even if it goes against what you have been taught. Mental illness is not a weakness, and seeking help is not a failure. It takes strength and courage to face your struggles and to seek the support that you need. I still struggle with anxiety and depression, but I now have the tools to manage my symptoms. I have learned to be kind to myself and to prioritize my mental health. I know that there will be ups and downs, but I am confident that I can face whatever comes my way. I'm not ashamed to say that anxiety and depression have had a significant impact on my life. The stigma surrounding mental illness made it difficult for me to accept that I needed help. My mental health struggles impacted my education and life goals, but with the help of therapy and medication, I am now in a much better place. I have learned the importance of seeking help when you need it and prioritizing your mental health. I am excited about the future and all the possibilities that it holds.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    As a black woman in America, mental health is of utmost importance to me. The unique challenges and experiences that black women face in this country can have a significant impact on our mental wellness. Therefore, I prioritize my mental health and use various tools to maintain it, including talk therapy, spirituality, self-care, and love. One of the biggest challenges that black women face is the constant pressure to be strong and to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. We are expected to be the backbone of our families and communities and to always put others’ needs before our own. This pressure can take a toll on our mental health, causing us to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. For me, talk therapy has been an important tool in maintaining my mental wellness. Talking to a therapist allows me to process my thoughts and emotions in a safe and non-judgmental space. It also helps me to gain perspective and to develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and challenges. Spirituality is another important aspect of my mental wellness. As a black woman, my spirituality is deeply rooted in my cultural and ancestral traditions. It provides me with a sense of grounding and connection to something greater than myself. Whether it’s through meditation, prayer, or connecting with nature, I find that spiritual practices help me to feel more centered and at peace. Self-care is also crucial to my mental wellness. As black women, we are often taught to put ourselves last and to prioritize the needs of others. However, I have learned that taking care of myself is not selfish, but rather necessary for my overall well-being. This includes things like getting enough sleep, eating nourishing foods, exercising, and engaging in activities that bring me joy and fulfillment. Finally, love is a powerful tool for maintaining mental wellness. This includes both self-love and love from others. For me, self-love means accepting myself as I am, flaws and all, and treating myself with kindness and compassion. It also means setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing my own needs. Love from others is also important to my mental wellness. This includes the support of my family and friends, as well as the larger community of black women. Knowing that I am not alone in my experiences and that there are others who understand and empathize with me is incredibly validating and comforting. Mental health is of utmost importance to me as a black woman in America, it is why I am pursuing my MSW, so I can support others as they seek mental health wellness. The unique challenges that we face can take a significant toll on our mental wellness, but I have found that using tools such as talk therapy, spirituality, self-care, and love can help me to maintain my mental wellness. By prioritizing my mental health, I am better able to navigate the challenges of being a black woman in this country and live a fulfilling and joyful life.
    Humanize LLC Gives In Honor of Shirley Kelley Scholarship
    Being raised by my aunt who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has had a profound impact on my life. As a black woman, I have always been taught the importance of strength and resilience, but witnessing my aunt’s journey with MS has given those values a whole new meaning. Her strength, faith, and perseverance have inspired me to be more compassionate and to want to help people in any way I can. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, causing symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, and difficulty with coordination and balance. My aunt was diagnosed with MS when I was just a freshman in high school, and from that point on, our lives were forever changed. I watched as she struggled to do everyday tasks that most people take for granted, such as getting dressed or walking up a flight of stairs. There were so many times when I had to feed her or carry her to the car. Despite these challenges, my aunt never lost her faith or her sense of humor. She continued to live her life to the fullest, and her positive attitude has always been an inspiration to me. Growing up with someone who had a chronic illness made me acutely aware of the struggles that many people face on a daily basis. It also made me more compassionate and empathetic toward others. I learned the importance of being patient and understanding, and I developed a desire to help people in any way I could. I knew that I wanted to make a positive impact on the world and instead of going to school for culinary arts, I decided to go to school for psychology and social work. I am now pursing my master's in social work to help advocate and support people. As a black woman, I have always been taught that strength comes from within. Watching my aunt face her diagnosis with faith and grace has reinforced this lesson for me. Despite the challenges she has faced, she has never given up or lost hope. She has taught me that strength is not just about physical abilities, but also about mental and emotional resilience. When I face my own challenges in life, I think of my aunt and her unwavering strength, and I am inspired to keep pushing forward. My aunt’s journey with MS has also taught me the importance of advocacy. MS is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide, yet it is still not well understood by many. My aunt has been an advocate for MS awareness and research, and I have been inspired to follow in her footsteps. I want to use my voice and my platform to raise awareness about MS and other chronic illnesses and to advocate for better treatments and cures. Being raised by my aunt who suffered from MS has had a profound impact on my life. It has made me more compassionate, more empathetic, and more driven to make a positive impact on the world. As a black woman, I have always been taught the importance of strength and resilience, but my aunt’s journey has given those values a whole new meaning. Her faith, her perseverance, and her positive attitude have inspired me to be the best version of myself and to always strive to help others. I will forever be grateful for the lessons that she has taught me, and I hope to continue her legacy of strength and advocacy for years to come.
    Dr. Jade Education Scholarship
    As a black woman, living the life of my dreams means living a life of freedom and advocating for my community. I envision a life where I can be my true self, pursue my passions, and inspire others to do the same. This dream life would allow me to use my voice and platform to create positive change and uplift those around me. Nina Simone once said, " I tell you what freedom is to me: No Fear." Freedom is a cornerstone of the life I aspire to live. This means freedom from societal expectations and limitations, as well as freedom from the systemic oppression and racism that continues to affect POC communities. In my dream life, I envision a world where people are not judged by the color of their skin, but by their character and abilities. I see a world where opportunities are equally available to all, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. This is a world where I can live my life to the fullest, without fear or discrimination. Beyond personal freedom, my dream life involves advocating for my community. I want to use my platform to bring attention to the issues facing POC communities and to work toward solutions. This means fighting for racial justice, ending police brutality, and creating more opportunities for all people to thrive. I want to use my voice to amplify the voices of others, to inspire action and change. To achieve this dream life, I believe it is important to educate myself and others about the issues facing our communities. This means staying informed about current events, reading books and articles by POC authors, and engaging in conversations with people from different backgrounds. It also means taking action, whether that is attending protests, signing petitions, or donating to organizations that support POC communities. Living the life of my dreams also involves pursuing my passions. I believe that when we are doing what we love, we are living our best lives. For me, this means working in a career that aligns with my values and allows me to make a positive impact. It also means pursuing hobbies and interests that bring me joy and fulfillment. In my dream life, I am able to balance my work and personal life in a way that allows me to fully enjoy both. Finally, I believe that living the life of my dreams means surrounding myself with people who love and support me. This includes family, friends, and mentors who believe in me and encourage me to pursue my goals. It also means connecting with others who share my passions and values, and who can help me grow and learn. Overall, the life of my dreams is one of freedom, advocacy, and fulfillment. It is a life where I can be my true self, use my voice to create positive change and pursue my passions. While this life may not be easy to achieve, I am committed to working towards it every day, and to inspire others to do the same.