A few short weeks ago, our Board of Directors and Trustees gathered for the Annual Board Advancement. The theme for the Advance was Transformations, Danita Hunt- an FSH graduate spoke to those in attendance. We wanted to share some of her story below..
As I stand here today, I am reminded of the elements which contributed to my transformation from being a young girl with a dream, to a WOMAN WITH A VISION.
FSH changed not only my life, but the life of my intelligent 10 year old princess. I needed help. I needed salvation. I needed shelter. And I needed to be restored. After passing the main location, I called to get more information about the program. I was surprised to discover that there was an orientation I could attend that Friday. After learning about the requirements to become a participant, I knew it was fate. I knew I wanted to obtain a degree in Political Science, and eventually attend Law School. It was like a match made in Heaven, and I was now on my way to the next chapter in my life.
I began checking in each and every day. I no longer had a vehicle and there was not a bus route that went by my parent’s house. So, I walked almost five miles every day to get to the bus stop so that I could attend workshops. I was determined to earn enough points so that I could secure a home for myself and my daughter. I wanted the staff, volunteers, and interns to know who I was without question, I began classes that May. There were times of breakdowns but I was also blessed with a guardian angel as a Family Scholar House participant. Her name is Harvetta Ray (PSH Campus Coordinator & Family Advocate).
There were days I would walk from class, in the blistering heat, sobbing, and confused how I was going to make it. Ms. Ray was there to comfort me, hug me, and reassure me that everything was going to be okay. She hugged me like a mother, and loved me as if I was her child.
The day came that I found out I was chosen to be a resident at the newly constructed Parkland Scholar House. By August 2013, I was in my new apartment, which was so beautiful. I cried as soon as I walked through the door. I rejoiced in knowing my daughter had a beautiful place to call home. She had more than enough kids to play with, and a secure campus to roam. She was thrilled to know her and her mommy had their own rooms to sleep in. I lived in a safe, child-friendly environment. I never worried about strangers at my door, or if I could let my daughter go outside to play.
I cannot thank Ms. Cathe enough for her vision of providing a means for mothers and fathers alike to reach a higher level of education, self-worth, and self-reliance. Family Scholar House is building up mighty soldiers who WILL not only transform themselves, but also transform this world. We have been given the opportunity of a lifetime.
As I walked across the stage Friday December 18, 2015, hearing my name called, I was able to sign “I love you” to my daughter in the crowd, I could not do anything but smile. I thought about this long journey. I thought about the fact that I was a survivor, a fighter, and now a scholar. I gained the faith of accomplishing a goal I set out for myself. I knew that I had achieved, succeeded, and defied the odds. I made it and had the tools to continue to succeed.
There are many nights that I’ve cried myself to sleep- many office visits with Harvetta where I cried, stressed, and worried- computer lab lock-ins where I’ve worked diligently on assignments, and many opportunities to meet and network with city leaders. For each and every experience, I THANK Ms. Cathe, the Family Scholar House Team and everyone that supports FSH. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to do it, and my child wouldn’t have witnessed her mother work so hard.
As I begin this next chapter, pursuing a joint MUP/JD degree, I will always be reminded of my Family Scholar House family, and be graciously thankful for each and every one of the interns and staff, community members volunteering their time and our Chief Possibility Officer, Cathe Dykstra.
I am proud to stand here today, continually evolving to become a better me than I was the day before-transforming into a woman who will make a larger impact in this community. I am a single mother. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I am the proud parent of a Brown School student. I am a Scholar. I am a future lawyer, community activist and Judge. I am the assistant and paralegal to Council Woman Jessica E. Green and The Honorable Felicia J. Nu’Man, Attorney at Law. I am a graduate of the University of Louisville, with a BS in Political Science and AAS in Paralegal Studies. I am, Danita Antonette Hunt, first original resident of the Parkland Scholar House to obtain a four year degree. I am a Family Scholar House Success.