Sade Burrell, FOS graduate with a Bachelor's degree San Diego State University and Master's degree from University of California, was paired with Susan Clarke Crisafulli, an accomplished business woman/motivational speaker. They share their experiences below.
Susan, about Sade
Sade has turned into the most beautiful young woman!
I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. First she graduated from Cuyamaca College in 2009 with an associates degree and went on to San Diego State University as a recipient of the Alex Smith Foundation Scholarship. On May 18th 2012, she graduated with a degree in Social Work and is already talking about getting her Masters.
I remember at our first meeting in 2007, I thought Sade was a very angry, inner city kid. Mentoring Sade has been like peeling an onion. Every layer I got through allowed me to connect with her on a deeper level.
My mission as her mentor was to get her to see and focus on the positive aspects in her life. I wanted her to realize that no matter how she was raised, she was the person in charge of her life and destiny.
Every month Sade and I would get together and go out to eat. The mission was for Sade to try new types of food. We ate everything from Thai, Sushi, and French food. Over these meals we would talk about what was going on in each other’s lives.
The day she told me she had applied for the Alex Smith Foundation Scholarship I was so excited for her and said, “This is huge! This is a life changing opportunity.” (It’s $10,000 a year at San Diego State University).
She had been a bit hesitant almost like she really didn’t think she had a chance of getting it.
I told her, “You got it! Repeat after me, I, Sade, am the recipient of the Alex Smith Foundation Scholarship!”
It came as not surprise to me that she was indeed awarded the scholarship and able to achieve her goal of graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree. I am so happy she was finally to realize this significant accomplishment in her life.
Sade describes her mentoring experience with Susan
I have known Susan since 2007. The first time I met Susan was at the Tuesday street market in Pacific Beach. We decided to meet there because at the time I had worked at the Peninsula Family YMCA which was close by.
I had just gotten off work and Susan was waiting for me in front of a place selling flowers. After eating, it was time for me to head home, but Susan did something for me that changed me forever. As we were walking back to our cars, we passed the lady selling flowers again and Susan bought me a bouquet of flowers. I took those flowers home and set them in the sunlight. It was that day I realized the impact this woman would have on my life.
When Susan and I are together we LAUGH and have FUN!!! Susan is one of the funniest people I know. We always eat at exotic restaurants and our favorite food is to eat sushi!
Susan and I are also planning a motor home shopping trip after graduation. Susan helps me through personal issues and educational road blocks I have faced in the past. The positive attitude that she has is amazing, and she’s an inspiration to me. When I first met her I was quiet, but after she started sharing her life story, I began to open up. It is that reason, I am grateful to have known such a wonderful woman.
I graduated from SDSU with a degree in Social Work and a Masters in Social Work with honors from University of Southern California. She currently works with at risk youth in the Equal Opportunity Office at Cuyamaca College, is a motivational speaker, and has her own non-profit. Stand For Something.