Updated: Mar 22
My life has not been without challenges, as a survivor of childhood trauma, I went on to face even more obstacles that could have easily led to me becoming yet another statistic. However, one woman helped me find my strength and put me on the pathway to becoming a Social Worker and Creative Entrepreneur. In honor of Women's History Month, I wanted to share an intimate part of my personal journey and pay tribute to a special woman who poured into me and led me to a life of helping others.
I became a teen mother at the age of 16. Not long after the birth of my daughter, I learned that I was pregnant yet again. By the time I became a high school senior I was responsible for two small children. Many would assume that a teenage mom of two would end up poverty-stricken with a limited outlook on life, but Ms. Margaret Owens saw beyond my current circumstances.
Ms. Owens was an educator at Aiken High School. She was responsible for leading the school's GRADS program. The course was designed to teach at-risk teens life skills. Ms. Owens, however, taught me about way more than home economics. She taught me how to leverage public resources to propel myself and my young family forward. She helped me apply for assistance, obtain daycare vouchers and get much-needed medical coverage for my children and myself.
Because Ms. Owens went above and beyond, I was able to complete my high school education. But I didn't stop there! I went on to continue my post-secondary education at University of Cincinnati, where I obtained my Associate's Degree. My small family doubled in size with the birth of my twins, but I continued to press on in my quest to become a Licensed Social Worker. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree from Xavier University I returned to UC where I earned my Master's in Social Work in 2007. In 2008, I became a Licensed Social Worker.
Early on, photography became an outlet for me. I began taking pictures as a way to preserve the peaceful moments that I experienced when I looked up. I found peace in taking in the beauty of the world around me and wanted to capture those images as a reminder of those tranquil moments. One day a mentor said she saw a vision of my photos with words on them. I took my photographs and added inspirational quotes and before long, her vision became reality as my very first journal was created.
Today you can find pictures captured by yours truly on a variety of inspirational and motivational products throughout KristiKollections, LLC. online shop. For instance, each item in my adult shower curtain collection contains original photographs with positive messages allowing you to experience the peaceful moments that have brought me great joy.