GIRLS OF EXCELLENCE
Tante communicates to every student, staff and parent that if you want to prevent student suicide, violence, and school shootings, we must care enough to recognize the signs of bullying.
COMMON GROUND BETWEEN ADULTS & YOUTH
My Story: Tante Robinson
When I was born I was addicted to heroin. My biological mother used heroin during her entire pregnancy with me. When I was born, I weighed in at 2 pounds with many medical issues. I had to have several surgeries including brain surgery because of the effect of drugs on my system. The doctors told my biological mother that I would be a special needs child. They said that I probably wouldn’t have a normal life, or be able to do normal things, such as reading and writing because of my complications from drug use. My biological mother decided at that point that she would not be able to take care of me. She was also continuing to use drugs. From that very moment, she decided to get rid of me and give me away to a family she barely knew. There was no legal adoption.
As a child, I struggled in school. I struggled with knowing who I was. I always wondered how a mother could give her child away to someone she barely knew. I would go through things like feigning for drugs. This would include withdrawal symptoms such as shaking. I dealt with anger issues because I never felt loved as a child. Even though I had a loving family who treated me very well, inside I felt discarded.
When I reached middle school that anger began to manifest itself more. I started asking my parents questions. Questions like, “Why me?” “Why did this happen to me?” They would always love and reassure me but I didn’t know how to accept that love at times. Instead of talking to people about what was bothering me. I began taking my anger out on my teachers and peers. I was very violent and in a dark place.
During that time, I started going to juvenile centers for fighting with teachers and bullying other children. I felt like no one cared about me despite my loving family. I took all of my feelings out on everyone else and never talked about it.
When I was 18, I tried to take my own life. I didn’t know what to do anymore. At that point, I had a youth pastor and another woman step into my life who began to mentor me. They were a part of my life even though I didn’t want them to be. I kept pushing them away but they kept loving me and coming back. I began to slowly change. I became a better person and began to make the right decisions in my life.
At the age of 21, I started mentoring youth who were struggling. I then started my own program called Girls of Excellence Mentoring Program. Because I was a bully, I wanted to help other children who were the bully or who were a victim of bullying. I wanted to let them know that there was hope. I started mentoring girls and helping them with self-esteem and bullying issues. I also helped with suicide prevention.
When I mentor, I use several tools. I try to give the youth a voice. Sometimes you just have to be that listening ear for them and let them know that someone cares. I also use what I call “Talk it Out” sessions. We talk about our feelings and learn how to deal with those feelings and set goals for ourselves. I also use positive reinforcement and encourage positive self-image and self-esteem.
This has become my life’s passion and I will continue to strive to make a difference in girls across the nation and in my community.
Girls of Excellence training classes
Youth workers networking is power