For Live Your Dream Awards recipients, one moment can alter their life path. For 2022 recipient Talia, signing up for college was the start of a new journey. Talia is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with the end goal of obtaining a master’s to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. With the help of the Live Your Dream Awards, Talia no longer has to face the threat of homelessness with her two sons again, and she can embark on the path that leads to her dreams coming true.
“One thing I have learned in life, it is not how you start but how you finish.“
As a child, Talia grew up in a home where her mom could not afford bare necessities such as food, water and electricity. As a result, Talia was bullied at school and eventually taken out of her mom’s care and placed in foster care. She had trouble concentrating on schoolwork due to hunger and relied on sack lunches from school to eat.
Talia did not let these obstacles stand in her way. She would do other students’ homework in exchange for cash to buy food. She would even save leftover money for when she would eventually age out of foster care. By the age of 18, Talia had endured six group homes, 14 foster homes, and different schools every three to six months. Constantly moving impacted Talia’s education, and when she finally aged out of the foster system, she had only three credits out of 33 toward a high school diploma. Talia immediately obtained her G.E.D. to get her life back on track.
Soon after, Talia became pregnant and wound up homeless, living in her car. She would go several days without eating to ensure her boys had enough food. “I realized then and there I could not change the hand I was given, but I have power to change where I am now and where me and my children go in life” stated Talia.
That week, Talia committed to a better life and signed up for college courses.
Each day Talia continues to persevere. While juggling living in her car, working and attending school, Talia has maintained a 3.9 GPA. With sometimes only $50 to $100 left, she donates plasma when she can, writes papers, and speaks out at events to earn extra money.
Last year, she helped write a paper about her homeless experience, which encouraged her local community to approve tiny houses on a church’s lot. This year, Talia spoke out about the importance of foster youth and women as a whole and how vital higher education is.
“While faced with personal and unpleasant circumstances she does not allow anything to alter her commitment for higher education and her success. She remains determined to reach her goals; and encourages others to do the same,” her college professor said.
Talia is currently a behavioral interventionist and works with those with autism and psychiatric issues. She loves watching her patients progress and strives to hold their hand through their challenges. Talia is helping her patients become the best version of themselves, just like winning the Live Your Dream Awards is aiding her in her dreams.
“I have a dream of uplifting the brokenhearted and demolishing the mentality of BROKEN from former foster youth, single parents, and the homeless community to RESILIENT.”
Thanks to our donors, Talia is on track to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in 2023 and continue her educational journey.
If there could be a photo next to the word resilient in the dictionary, it would be Talia’s. To keep supporting resilient women like Talia, please consider donating to the Live Your Dream Awards program.
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You see, for every 1 woman that received a Live Your Dream Award this year from our headquarters, another 7 did not receive anything. And across our 1,200+ Soroptimist clubs, thousands more hopeful women applied for a grant but were turned away due to a lack of funds.
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