CAP, INC. SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: “COLLEGE WAS MY ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE.”

Editor’s Note: Kenisha Anthony is a first-generation college graduate who used her CAP, Inc. Scholarship to pursue a degree in social work. Through the College Assistance Program, Inc., the Foundation and the Miami-Dade County School Board assist MDCPS students, like Kenisha, who’ve exhausted financial assistance but who have unmet needs to attend the college of their choice. Scholarship applications for the 2020-2021 school year open on January 23rd.

I had a rough start at adulthood, but trial and error and the power of self-perseverance ultimately saved me.

I was removed from the custody of my parents and placed into the foster care system at age four. Although every month, an assigned case manager monitored my well-being, and every six months, a judge did the same, I had not been taught the necessary tools to thrive as a self-sufficient adult. I went from caregiver to caregiver for 13 years. My final placement was classified as non-relative care with the case goal of another permanent planned living arrangement. In this kind of placement, I qualified for case management services, Medicaid, which ended on my 18th birthday, and a college tuition exemption that I would be unable to immediately use. When I turned 18, I was emancipated and released from supervision by the state, and I was frustrated.

Pictured: Kenisha Anthony, author of LABELED: Ward of the State.

The day of my final court hearing, I decided that it would be the last time I would be told what I could or could not do. It was up to me to fend for myself with little to no income. With one year of high school to go, I was going to get my high school diploma and pursue higher education. I saw college as my “road to independence.”

On my journey, through research, networking and building relationships, I found mentors like Suze Guillaume, a Miami Dade College advisor, who were more than willing to support me. I discovered resources and helpful organizations, including Emy’s Promise and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. I found scholarships such as the College Assistance Program, Inc. With the guidance of mentors and resources under my belt, I went on to earn an Associate in Arts from Miami Dade College, a Bachelor of Social Work from Florida State University and a Master of Public Administration from Florida International University.

Now, as a 28-year-old, self-sufficient adult, I reflect on my struggles and wins. I earned the credentials to join the field of child welfare to be the change I hope to see in the world. I use my voice to share my lived experiences to educate others and impact systematic change as a youth and foster care advocate. I share my triumphs to empower others, like me, to show up. There will always be someone who says, “no.” Yet, there will also always be someone ready to open a door.

To students who may find themselves feeling unready to take a leap, I say, “go.” Explore resources, take opportunities and live a fearless life despite any obstacles.

Kenisha Anthony is author of LABELED: Ward of the State. A portion of earnings made from her memoir will contribute to a scholarship fund to aid young adults in their success pursuing higher education and gaining independence. You can hear Kenisha share her story at Books & Books on February 1st.

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10 Comments
  • Kharisma
    Posted at 23:33h, 28 January Reply

    Kenisha Anthony story is so inspirational and she is such a role model for young girls to look up to. I’m definitely reading her book Labeled.

  • Lonzie
    Posted at 23:44h, 28 January Reply

    Such a motivational story.

    “To students who may find themselves feeling unready to take a leap, I say, “go.” Explore resources, take opportunities and live a fearless life despite any obstacles.”
    I’m taking this message with me every day

  • Melissa Martinez-Esteve
    Posted at 02:24h, 29 January Reply

    Kenisha Anthony is a strong, determined and fearless woman committed to be an agent of change by sharing her story of survival and triumph. Kenisha is an exceptional role model to all women, but especially young girls growing up in foster care with limited visions of their futures. Kenisha shows us all that the sky is the limit as long as we believe in possibilities and tirelessly pursue our dreams. I look forward to Kenisha’s next move!!

  • Alexandra Rolle
    Posted at 15:03h, 29 January Reply

    Kenisha Anthony, you’re an inspiration to all of the children growing up in foster care. She refuses to allow her situation define her. She’s motivated, energetic and passionate about her .desires. I commend you and wish you the best on your journey to success.

  • Lakeisha Moss
    Posted at 16:01h, 29 January Reply

    Kenisha., your story is heartfelt. Your courage and drive is nothing short than impeccable. The personality you’ve been blessed with will continue to lead you in the right paths Nobody said the road of life was going to be easy thats why your were given (AAA) ALWAYS ALERT ANTHONY.!!!! I LOVE YOU BABY GIRL AND IM EXTREMELY PROUD OF YOU. The best is yet to come

  • Suze Guillaume
    Posted at 22:23h, 29 January Reply

    Kenisha, words cannot express how proud I am of your journey. Everything you went through was preparing you for this moment in your life. I am truly honored to be your mentor but you are a force to be reckoned with. This is only the beginning to an amazing journey. You are creating so many opportunities for others to follow your footsteps. Your new book, Labeled, is a powerful reminder for us to share our stories. There is a little boy or girl who will need your book as a beacon of hope. Keep writing! Thank you to the Miami Foundation for sharing this beautiful story. Scholarships play an important role in the lives of students. I am also a recipient of the CAP Grant. Thank you to the Miami Foundation for investing in the next generation of leaders :-).

  • Mike Samway
    Posted at 19:17h, 19 February Reply

    Awesome person, awesome book

    Awesome person, awesome book! Kenisha bares her foster life & often her very soul like nothing I’ve read before.

  • Lisa Mozloom
    Posted at 17:23h, 25 February Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your heart-wrenching journey will help more people understand and explore foster care and hopefully make a difference in children’s lives. Thank you for being bold and truthful.

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