Latisha’s Story

A young woman adopts vital behaviors to graduate college against the odds.

Latisha wanted a college education. But given her circumstances, her desire felt like a pipedream.

Latisha lived in a neighborhood where drugs were rampant, teen pregnancy abounded, and dropping out was the norm. “I grew up on the east side of Detroit, about five minutes outside of Hamtramck,” she explains. “There was a drug house right on the corner. They had raids, and my brother went to school with some of the kids and so did me and my sisters. It was bad. Not only that, there were people who we grew up with in the neighborhood who didn’t really make it to high school because they became pregnant.” At the time, Detroit had the highest dropout rate in America, with less than twenty-five percent of freshmen finishing high school.

What’s more, Latisha was far from a star student, getting the occasional C and B, but more often completing her classes with Ds. She knew if she was to finish high school and go on to college, something had to change. Without a robust support system, and in the face of such social entropy, Latisha would have to muster some serious discipline.

Or would she?

Latisha earned that college degree, even went on to receive a master’s in human resources and organizational development. But she didn’t do it with white knuckles and pure grit. Instead, she focused on vital behaviors that made crucial differences. And the results speak for themselves. Today, Latisha works in higher education, travels the globe doing missionary work, and runs businesses in real estate and leadership development.

Watch Latisha explain in the video at top how, against the odds, she improved her grades, garnered social support, and achieved formidable goals, positioning herself to influence communities in Michigan and beyond. ◼

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The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the storyteller and do not reflect the view of VitalSmarts.

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