This month we are highlighting four of our outstanding past and present IWMF members. Being a part of the IWMF program allows for our youth to join something so much bigger then just an after school program; they join a community of encouraging people all wanting them to succeed at anything they put their mind to. One of the goals of the IWMF is to not only help youth graduate high school but to also empower students to obtain their dreams with post-secondary education.

First up, our past IWMF members are back for summer and here is what they have to say about how the IWMF has helped them in college, what their plans are for the future and the fantastic advice they all have for current IWMF members.

Ke’shell Lambert a transfer student from Concordia College Alabama to Talladega College studying psychology.

1. How did the IWMF prepare you for college? Any special programs that helped you?

“The IWMF prepared my sister and I for college in so many ways. While working full time my sister and I also attended our church (Friendship Missionary Baptist Church) meetings where we attended a program called College Connection in which they paired up with IWMF. There they provide a way for students to go on college tours to give us insight on college life. The best thing about the college tours was that it gave us all so much hope and motivation. I loved everything about it. I can’t thank them enough for all the dedication they showed us. They truly show an interest in our futures and encouraged us to branch out into different areas. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and do not regret anything about it, I would do it all over again.”

2. What are your plans for the future?

“I plan to have my masters in psychology and begin to work in either a facility or open my own practice. I’ve always been intrigued with anything dealing with psychology or helping people in some way, shape, or form. I want to work where I am able to help individuals become a better person for themselves and learning to cope with difficult situations. Helping people is a real passion of mine and I know I will achieve my goal.”

3. Do you have any advice for the kids in the IWMF program?

“Make sure you know why you want to go to school and find that drive to stay committed. Take it serious. Have your fun but never forget your purpose of being in school. You’ll love the college life, make it your very best. Keep faith and stay blessed.”

Edriana Hardin a Florida A&M University student studying Biology Pre-medicine.

1. How did the IWMF prepare you for college? Any special programs that helped you?

“The IWMF prepared me for college because I was given the experience to tour and actually view campuses in many different areas. This allowed me to see what each school had to offer and how to prepare for my education in all aspects.”

2. What are you plans for the future?

“I have big dreams to fulfill. I plan to graduate with a bachelors degree in Bio Pre Med and continue on to graduate school for my Masters. I also have goals to attend Howard University School of Medicine for my PHD to become a Neo-Natal nurse and work my way to become a pediatrician.”

3. Do you have any advice for the kids in the IWMF program? 

– Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

– Try to be as social as possible, meet new people and talk to staff. You will never know who you will need in the long run.

– Make yourself known in positive ways around campus & in the classroom.

– Always work ahead of time.

-Do not be afraid to say, “no”.

– Always put aside extra time to study and go to the library.

– Create study groups with your friend or classmates. Help each other strive and motivate one another to do better.

– Find a church or young adult group you can become a part of because you will have a lot of trials and tribulations where you feel like you want to give up but you have to keep your faith in God and keep pushing no matter the storm.

– Know your worth.

Ke’shae Lambert a transfer student from Concordia College Alabama to Talladega College studying social work.

1. How did the IWMF prepare you for college ? Any special programs that helped you?

“For starters IWMF prepared me for college thankfully for getting my sister and I started by going to College Connection. In high school, we joined the College Connection group at our church (Friendship Missionary Baptist church).The meetings were very helpful because they coached us through all the ins and outs about college. We started traveling and going to different schools on tours to search for the right school where we would fit in. The tours gave me so much hope and inspiration. I was so intrigued to experience real college life and was overly excited about what it had to offer. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity with College Connection at my church and also with IWMF! I do not regret taking the opportunity to get out there and go to college away from home. I learned responsibility, hard work, and I also knew more about college in general.”

2. What are your plans for the future?

“I plan to have my masters in social work and also have a job in my field. I hope to have the chance of working with women and children. I know how single parents are and I wish to assist any mother with emotional support, someone who will listen and give parents an opportunity to talk about their feelings, challenges and life experiences. I want to be that person that someone could call on if they need anything. I want to inspire others.”

3. Do you have any advice for the kids in the IWMF program?

“Stay focused. Don’t get discouraged. Pray when those days get frustrated and you feel like you can’t make it, do not procrastinate( teachers take that very seriously), do not give up because there’s a reason for everything and like I mentioned before “ if God can bring you to it, he’ll see you through it”. I get frustrated all the time but that’s life but with God on your side, anything is possible. College is fun and all but always stick to your studies because everything you worked hard for could come crumbling down. So just keep positive and everything will fall in place by the grace of God.”

Liza Francois, a current high school student in Lee County and youth in the IWMF program. 

1. Do you believe that the IWMF has helped prepare you for college?

I do believe the IWMF has helped prepare me for college. Through I Will I found out about the Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders and that camp helped me develop leadership skills that will help me be successful throughout college.

2. What are your goals for the future?

I plan to attend the University of Central Florida starting next summer and while in college I want to dedicate some of my time to working on one or more social issues. After college I want to give back to my community and hopefully make a lasting impact on others lives and possibly the world.

3. Do you believe others should get involved with IWMF?

I do believe others should get involved with IWMF. I think there is something beneficial here for everyone.

4. Has there been a mentor that has really stood out? What have you learned from them? 

A mentor that has really stood out to me is Dr. Bryson. It is inspiring to see someone from a similar background as I that made it out and has had a successful life. I admire him for choosing to come back and help out the youth in the community. From Dr. Bryson I learned that I can achieve my dreams no matter what obstacles stand in my way and that there are people willing to help. I am thankful to know that there is someone looking out for me.