Sade* stood in front of the kindergarten class, speaking clearly to her students. The teacher she assists had to leave, but trusted Sade completely with the class they led together. Sade asked a question, and the students answered enthusiastically. She smiled to herself, thinking of how far she’d come and how, if someone had asked her even a year ago where she would be now, she couldn’t have imagined this answer.
Sade is a young woman in her early twenties who is part of Back2Back’s Transition Program. She has been under the holistic care of Back2Back from an early age, first in a partnering children’s home, then as a Hope Education Program student, and now as a Transition student. As a young girl she struggled with a speech impediment, leading to additional areas of struggle across her life. Her confidence lacked as a result and she kept mostly to herself, avoiding conversation as much as she could. When staff realized she wouldn’t outgrow her difficulties, they enrolled her in speech therapy, and she has improved remarkably.
The ability to better articulate has grown Sade’s confidence exponentially, and it shows in all areas of her life; she dresses boldly, assured of who she is and what she brings to the table, and is known among her friends as the best dressed. This boldness extends further than her clothing choices, as she has learned to advocate for herself and those she loves.
After completing high school, while awaiting admission to university, she decided to help at her former school as a teacher’s assistance. She wrote a letter of application, turned in a cover letter and resume, and was hired for the position she interviewed. She’s assisted the kindergarten teacher at her alma mater for six months now.
“I love working with the children,” shared Sade. “It is so fulfilling and even the challenges are valuable to me, because I am learning through every experience.” This growth and self-awareness is widely admired by her peers and staff. The Director of the Transition Program, Mathew, recently shared, “Sade has taken the most initiative and responsibility I’ve ever seen.”
As her confidence blossoms, Sade stretches her role in the classroom and picks up entire lessons when the head teacher can’t be in. She has taken this experience into consideration as she thinks about her future and will be studying early childhood education at university.
From unsure of themselves to humbly confident, this is the power of advocacy and prayer – young women go from struggling to thriving as they receive support from safe adults and truly understand the power of their voices and minds.