Encouragement: The Anecdote to all Stigmas

Yasmein - University Park, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 14, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that support and encouragement is the anecdote to all stigmas. In a time where excuses are used for justifications why people can’t progress, I find myself strengthened by the odds. I am a product of a single-parent household. In fact, I have never lived with my mother or father my whole life. Most of my successes can be attributed to the absence of my parents. I guess I was the lucky one.

I was born addicted to crack. People, even nurses, told my mom that it was unwise to have me. They told her that it is a great possibility that something would be wrong with me. They said I might have learning disabilities, problems with staying focused, among other deficiencies.

Immediately after I was born, I was given to my grandparents. A couple of months later, my grandmother had a stroke and my grandfather couldn’t take care of an infant and his ill wife so they gave me to my aunt. She is my driving force. My hard work reflects my capabilities yes, but it also reflects the morals my aunt instilled in me. She always told me that I can do anything that I put my mind to. If it weren’t for her I don’t know where I would be. She raised me along with four of my other siblings. Thanks to her, I even know my siblings. People always asked why she devoted so much time to us. After all, she wasn’t our mother and she wasn’t getting paid for her commitment to us.

I am currently approaching my senior year in college, which has been paid for by a scholarship earned by my academic success in high school. But as I look back, I am reminded why I am here. I am here because generous people believed in me. They believed in me so much that they were willing to invest their money and their time into my future. My aunt believed that something could be made of five children even though others didn’t think so. My scholarship donor believed that minority students from inner city Philadelphia can be just as bright as a child from the suburbs.

My journey would not have been possible without the support system that I have received from my family, my teachers, and complete strangers who became my friends. It is because of them I am the woman I am today and I am forever grateful for their support, the anecdote to all stigmas.