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FAILURE WAS NOT AN OPTION
for Foundation Scholarship Recipient
After attending a year at Sinclair Community College, Vaniti Byrd, then 18, decided to take a break from her education in 2007 to cope with the emotional stress of her parents’ separation. It was the birth of her son, Tervon, in 2008, however, that gave her a new perspective on life...and a goal for her future.
“I always had a thirst for knowledge and was driven to make something of my life, but now I was a single mother. I didn't want this to become an excuse not to succeed,” she said. “I was motivated to complete what I had begun.”
Soon afterwards, she enrolled at Central State University (CSU), and later received two $1,000 scholarships through The Dayton Foundation (The Fannie Vought Fink Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Dayton Chapter of the Links, Inc., Education Fund, a fund of the African-American Community Fund, a component fund group of The Dayton Foundation). Today she is just days away from graduating with honors and receiving her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
"I'm proud to say that I completed my degree in four years," she said enthusiastically. This was no small feat, considering that she also was working two part-time jobs, volunteering for several organizations and raising a son.
Vaniti Byrd currently is employed as a parenting education assistant for the Life Resource Center, and she formerly provided breastfeeding peer support for the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program through the Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County.
"Empowering women, particularly single moms, and advocating for good health is important to me," she said.
According to La’shelle Jefferson, Vaniti Byrd’s sociology professor at CSU, Vaniti demonstrates the desire to be successful in life, while furthering her education and providing love and support to all who surround her. She truly is a shining star."
Vaniti Byrd’s dreams don't end with walking across the stage to accept her diploma. She’s hoping to start working towards her master’s degree at the University of Dayton this fall with a goal to one day open an enrichment center for families and single mothers. The center will provide parenting classes, with an emphasis on good nutrition, and career placement programs, among other services.
"I was blessed to grow up in a two-parent household. Unfortunately this is becoming less of a norm in our society. I want to help single mothers who have the potential, but not necessarily the support they need, to excel," she said. "I want to show them that if you put in the time and effort, the sky is the limit. If I can do it, so can they.
"I'm so grateful to have received these scholarships from The Dayton Foundation that helped me to complete my undergraduate degree," she continued. "Having a child has opened my eyes to so many issues in our world. That is why I thank God every day for empowering me to become self-sufficient so that I can help advocate for those in need."
Interested in opening a scholarship fund to honor or remember a loved one? Contact Joe Baldasare, vice president, Development, at (937) 222-0410 or toll free at 1-877-222-0410.
For recent news and updates about The Dayton Foundation, read our press releases online.
IN HIS WORDS
“You get a good feeling giving to the community through The Dayton Foundation and knowing that you're inspiring future generations.”
– Charles Simms, CEO of Simms Management Corporation and Dayton Foundation Endowment fund donor
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