Darra Sellers, Los Angeles, Hampton University
First I would like to express my gratitude for Mothers in Action and the amazing journey that I have shared growing with this organization. I would also like to acknowledge the late Ms. Brenda Mitchell, who by far was one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met. Whenever I visited the LA Sentinel office Ms. Brenda would educate me on community and educational opportunities, check on my family and connect me with important people who also wanted to help me. We’d share a few laughs and I’d run to Starbucks to get her a hot tea and she’d treat me to a caramel frap.
Ms. Brenda and Ms. Tracy were aware that I was in college and knew I was having difficulty meeting certain financial requirements to continue my upcoming semester at Hampton University. I was quickly connected with a local foundation ran by all women, named the Regalettes and they told me about their scholarship opportunities. I visited their website, browsed through bio’s and was intrigued by a plethora of accomplishments and inspiring stories. I quickly applied to their scholarship and anxiously waited for the upcoming interview process.
A couple of weeks later I interviewed with Mothers in Action and a panel of Regalette representatives. I was beyond nervous but felt surprisingly safe sitting around a table of such powerful women. My testimony flowed out of me like water and they were all very honest and supportive of everything I had told them about my life and educational goals. I walked out of the interview confident but unsure if I had shared too much, however, I wasn’t worried I was happy that I trusted them and they listened. I received an email that I was awarded 1,500 dollars for my semester and since then have received almost 5,000 from the Regalettes until this year. I graduated from Hampton University May 10, 2015 and could not have made it this far without Mothers in Action and their faith in me as a young woman. I am forever grateful and extremely blessed.
DONIE HATCHER-WALTERS, EDUCATOR
The late, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell and the women of Mothers in Action were central characters in the opening chapters of my life story. My present personal and professional positions are profoundly the result of Brenda's presence in my life.
Brenda taught me to be selfless. This lesson was taught most effectively through my participation in Mothers in Action's community service initiatives.
Brenda was a "dream manufacturer." No matter how outlandish my dreams were, she supported me and encouraged me to realize each and every dream.
In middle school, I dreamt of becoming a renowned broadcast journalist. She influenced me to pursue print journalism instead. She compelled me to write, revise, edit, and edit more. Then, she published my article in The Sentinel Newspaper. I was proud; I was thirteen and already published (all, because of Brenda)!
Throughout high school, I continued to blossom, as the result of Brenda's nurturing and guidance. Brenda commended me for my stellar academic performance by offering me a paid summer job. In years prior, I had worked with Mothers in Action as a volunteer and/or intern (unpaid). While these opportunities were intrinsically rewarding (another lesson I learned from Brenda), I was elated to finally receive monetary compensation for my efforts. Brenda and Janet required me to work hard for my money; I EARNED every dime. Brenda capitalized on this experience as an opportunity to educate me about the value of financial fortitude. I continue to rely on those lessons today.
Later, during my "militant midget" and "drum major for justice" days throughout college, I dreamt of becoming Secretary of the Department of Education. Again, Brenda encouraged me to fulfill that dream. She helped me secure an internships with Reverend Jesse Jackson at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Headquarters and the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on The Hill.
I considerably interned with the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP). Ultimately, my work in Washington, informed my decision to become a professional educator. The academic achievement gap is the greatest civil rights concern of this era.
Brenda's example of servitude continues to inspire me to serve. Mothers in Action' generosity and financial support during college enabled me to comfortably purchase learning materials and participate in co-curricular activities. Moreover, my ardent passion for community service prevails, as the result of the seminal influence of Brenda and the women of Mothers in Action.