She Taught Me To Be Brave

I met Da'Mya while interning at a group home in college. Although I had never experienced what it was like to grow up in foster care, I had an immediate connection with her. I have watched Da'Mya grow from a quiet fourteen year old in the group home that was very unsure of what the word family truly meant, to an outgoing, intelligent, resilient, and extremely kind girl who is now living with her new adoptive family. Da'Mya has consistently left me in awe since the day I met her. She is so hopeful about her future despite the life that was given to her, and she believes in the goodness of people in spite of the wrong many have done to her. She inspired me to get my Master's degree in social work, and now just two years later I am lucky enough to mentor her through the obstacles that come with being a teenager. After being brushed aside by the world, she finally found her forever home at the age of sixteen. She is now embarking on a new journey where she will not only learn and grow with this new family, but where she will be able to spread her joy and hope in them in return. The day before she moved to live with her new family I couldn't help but tell her how proud I was of her and how excited I was to hear the joy in her voice as this next page was about to turn in her story. I gave her the BRAVE key that had hung from my neck for two years so that she would always be reminded of how BRAVE she was and has always been. Without even realizing it, I learned that she taught me to be BRAVE every single day. Through her eyes I was BRAVE, wise, and someone she could count on, but through my eyes she was braver than I could ever hope to be and she to this day inspires me to believe in the goodness of people.