Every cloud has a silver lining…see why this one shines so brightly
Some kids have a stormy start to life, faced with obstacles that could be used as excuses to give up on things like goals, education and bright careers. Other kids have a stormy start to life and decide to see the silver lining. Meet Annie Silver one of the bright lights who demonstrates that challenges can be things on our path put there not to trip us up, but to serve as evidence for how resilient the human spirit can be. Faced with poverty and hunger as a child, she made sacrifices and worked very hard so that she could return to school and complete a degree in Business; currently she is working on her Masters in Business Administration in Executive Management. When asked what inspired her to return to school Annie said, “I didn’t want my boys to ever feel hunger or to be teased because they could only afford second hand clothes.” She knew getting an education for herself was the ticket to a brighter future for herself and her family.
Annie spent time in foster care, has faced discrimination and has had to deal with the difficulties of growing up in a community which was coping with drug an alcohol addictions. She says “I lived a very dark life during my teenage years”. She is a single mother of three small boys, many would have written her off as a hopeless statistic; fortunately Annie did not give up. Instead she rallied her inner strength and found help from some encouraging members of her family and community including her grandparents. She says, “There were days where I felt so alone, but my Grandpa and Grandma really encouraged me to stay with it, continue and finish. Nothing made them happier on graduation day, when I was the Valedictorian and they didn’t know until I walked across the stage to do my speech.”
She currently works for an Aboriginal Child and Family Service agency which is actually the same agency she had been entrusted to as a child. In addition to providing economic and social stability for her own family, her position allows her to build relationships with the community and makes her a great role model for kids and families facing challenges similar to the ones she herself had to overcome. Annie says other things have improved in her life as a result of her education. “My self esteem has grown so much since returning to school. There is a stereotype about Aboriginal people and for single mothers. Society believes that these demographics do not have the ambition and determination to succeed”; clearly Annie debunks this myth.
When asked what advice she would offer to women facing challenges similar to the ones she had to overcome, Annie said, “Don’t be afraid that you can’t do it. Don’t be afraid that you don’t have the strength or determination. We are women, we have amazing determination, especially when it comes to the wellbeing of our children. I always tell my Aboriginal people, show the world what you have! Show them that no matter how hard life gets, there is always a way to overcome it and become empowered!” Clearly for Annie the way she found to become empowered was to earn a formal education. Getting that education meant she had to make some difficult decisions. She said, “One of the hardest challenges that I had to overcome was leaving my one month old while I began school. I had days where I cried on the way to school and sped all the way home to get back to him. It was a challenge to do it, but I had to in order to support my family.” Annie hopes her experience will serve as an example to other single moms about the importance of education, perseverance and community support. When asked about plans for her future she says one of the important things she wants is to be able “to encourage and empower Aboriginal people, marginalized families and single moms.” I think it’s safe to say that Annie Silver is already doing that in spades!
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