Inspirational Spotlight: D.R.E.A.M Life, Inc
Two years ago student Christina Sturdivant was embarking on the role of a lifetime: being a single mother to a son, Monte. In a situation that would cause many to buckle under the pressure, Sturdivant decided to take the chance to help herself and others by starting a foundation that would help girls in her position to stand firmly on their own two feet and give them the opportunities they need to bring stability to their families. D.R.E.A.M Life, Inc., delivering resources to empower a mother’s life, seeks to encourage young girls to not see their children as setbacks but as springboards into a bright future. We caught up with founder and executive director Christina Sturdivant for a quick discussion about her company and journey as a new mother.
Why did you start the organization?
I was 23 with a 1 year old son so I knew the struggles of being a single mom and fulfilling your dreams and going back to school and I knew many of peers didn’t have those opportunities and resources that they needed. So I decided to start a non profit that could help them get on their feet and be independent.
Share with us your journey as a mom.
I was going to Hampton University and I was coming into my senior year and that summer I ended up getting pregnant with my son so I went back to school for the fall semester but then I came back home to DC to give birth. So I tried to go to class online and it kinda didn’t work. I had my son in April and stayed at home with him for a while. My whole journey as a mom has been difficult. You realize how much you have to value your time. Every second counts now because I don’t have a lot fo time and I need to spend as much of it with my son. Running an organization, working full time, volunteering…it’s a lot but I am really enjoying the journey I’m on right now, it’s really fulfilling.
What’s been the best advice you’ve received during the hard times?
It probably wasn’t advice it was more so the love from my family and friends. Just knowing they were there if I wanted to vent or needed some help. My brothers, my sister, my parents…they were all really supportive. My son’s father, we aren’t together, but we’ve become really good friends over time. The support has helped through it all.
Would you give any advice to young mothers?
Pursue your dreams. Right when I started the organization my main issue was young girls feel like they have a child now so they don’t fulfill dreams and they’re thinking that getting a regular 9 to 5 job is sacrificing for your child but in reality going the full distance, even though it might be hard because you have a child, is going to be more beneficial than you just working a regular job to provide. The more successful you are, the more successful they’re going to be in life. You just gotta keep pushing. Do it for yourself first and then do it for your child. Don’t stop pursuing what you really want to do and don’t use the child as a crutch.
How can people in the DC area get involved with D.R.E.A.M Life?
I have several committees. Administration, marketing, fundraising events, grants, donations and partnerships and I have about 20 volunteers. People can go to the website (http://www.dreamlifedc.org/) and email us about getting involved. I have volunteer interest meetings about 2-3 times a year. Right now specifically, I am looking for mentors with a degree in any counseling field.
If you could go back and tell yourself anything on the day you found out you were pregnant, what would you say?
It’s gonna be ok. He’s a blessing.
Written by: Iman Milner