For #GivingTuesday this year, we wanted to share an in-depth story of one or our Live Your Dream award recipients. Meet Star, a budding urban planner and mother of two who received her award in 2019.

A New Start

In 2017, Star fled an abusive relationship, moving from California to Raleigh to start a new life for herself and her two young children. This new life really meant starting from scratch, however, with limited resources, no car, and no home. But by being persistent and resourceful, and finding support from local women’s groups, withnn a year Star had overcome homelessness and obtained her real estate license.

One of her early supporters noted “Starkeisha worked tireless to rebuild her life from scratch and to re-establish safety and normalcy for her family.“ She observed that even in the most challenging situations, Star remained hopeful and focused on her goals.

Focused on the Future

Star at the 2019 Live Your Dream Awards Tea

Committed to pursuing a career in city planning, Star embarked upon a degree program at Wake Tech with the eventual goal of a Masters degree in urban planning. She feels that her experiences in big cities and rural areas, as a single person and a single mother, have given her a unique perspective and a desire to make communities better for all residents.

Notes Star, “Thanks to my own life journeys of living in communities where I was so personally invested and motivated to do all I could to make a change and to exhibit ideas and appreciation for all that makes a community great.“

Beyond just acquiring a degree, Star expressed that “…this journey of higher education will allow me to show my children that anything you put your mind and determination towards will surround you and create a change for you. “

These statements were part of Star’s application for Soroptimist Raleigh’s Live Your Dream awards. She applied while studying full time at Wake Tech, while balancing parenting and a full-time job. She explained that this award would ease some of the burden of making ends meet, such as having to choose between quality meals and textbooks, or being too tired from work and school to read to her children at night. 

Her compelling personal statement and exemplary recommendations led her to her to be chosen for a Live Your Dream award in 2019.

Working Towards Building Community

Star & her children

Since receiving her award, Star has remained in school full time, as well as balancing two part-time jobs that give her the flexibility she needs for her family. She recently updated us on the events of this past year. Keeping on track with her goals, Star is now enrolled at East Carolina University in the Urban and Regional Planning degree program. While plans for study abroad in Korea were postponed due to the pandemic, she is still on track and her children are also thriving. Following her mother’s lead, her eldest daughter applied and received a scholarship to attend a private primary school when she has already been promoted to a higher grade based on her abilities.

Star commented “Single parenting is a challenging job in itself, minus all the unprecedented details we are faced with in navigating through this pandemic yet the love and encouragement that has been shown to my little family and other thriving mothers is something that makes us smile, makes us proud and is a little nudge to continue moving forward and becoming greater for our communities and setting examples that cannot be shaken. “