Shonta Battle, graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology. She was mentored by Debbie Applebee, an educator. Today Shonta works for the YMCA in their Kinship Support Services Program. Shonta and Debbie share their experiences below.
Debbie About Shonta
Shonta has many things of which to be proud. And while Shonta has not had the easiest of childhoods, she did not let that stop her from becoming the first in her family to graduate from college.
When I met Shonta, who was attending the San Diego Center for the Performing Arts, I wondered how she could be in the arts as her demeanor was shy and soft spoken.
On that first day, we shared a coffee at Starbucks where she quietly spoke about her passion for dance and her hopes to get a degree in social work.
Since then we have shared lattes, movies, and the theater together. And, although she did not need me, I was in attendance as she negotiated her first car purchase!
Shonta’s gracious nature is just one of her many positive qualities. She adores and respects the role that her grandmother Shirley has had in her life. I think it is that relationship and her affiliation with the Bay View Baptist Church that gives her direction and leadership while helping others.
Shonta’s work ethic is truly commendable. Every summer she worked for University of San Diego to earn needed funds for school.
Although she has multiple sclerosis, it has not stopped her from working part time for “Just in Time”, an organization that offers services for transitioning foster youth in San Diego. She works as program director for financial fitness while going to school full time.
Shonta aspires to help other foster children learn financial responsibility which she admits is not an easy task given the limited resources for foster youth and these tough economic times.
In addition to that job, Shonta has helped me to mentor a high school student, and she has participated in the MS walk every year since she was diagnosed. She just received a Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology with an emphasis in inter-generational care and a minor in Social Work. She will be an asset to any organization that is fortunate enough to have her work for them.
It really has been my gift to have this young inspirational woman in my life. Dollars for Scholars has afforded me the luxury of knowing this resilient foster child.
With the help of FOSF, we are all blessed because Shonta will go on to accomplish her dreams of making the world a better place for some of the children whose voices are not always heard.
I hope that this is just the beginning of a friendship that will last a lifetime as I believe this compassionate young lady has much to teach me.
Shonta describes her mentoring experience
Since being in Fostering Opportunities Dollars for Scholars, I have had the pleasure to share the last five years with my awesome mentor, Debbie Applebee. When I met Debbie, I knew that I would always have a lifelong friendship with someone who I felt would support me in different ways that others have not.
I can remember meeting Debbie for the first time and being really quiet and to myself but I’ve learned to open up to her.
Over the years, we have shared many memories together during our monthly outings. We have shared time going to see movies/shows, going walking together, getting massages, and especially going to our favorite place to eat: Benihana’s.
She has been a strong supporter, pushing me (along with my grandmother) not to give up on finishing school. Thanks to all the love and support from Debbie, I graduated on May 18th, 2012. I am so happy and excited to be able to carry this friendship to my next journey working full time at an organization called, Fred Finch, as a youth partner.
Though my degree will be in Gerontology (minor in Social Work), I will be doing more social work case management; which is something that I truly desire.
I have made it to a place that I have been dreaming about. Being the first in my family to actually attend a four year university and obtain a degree, my future starts now. But in the future, I see myself having a facility that will teach coping skills through the arts working with both under privileged youth and older adults.