BeREAL Helped DaVina Overcome Adversity
Nineteen-year-old DaVina Lathers is a go-getter with her eye on a career in the healthcare field and beyond. Despite being dealt a difficult hand at a young age, DaVina refused to let her circumstances define her. Instead, she chased her dreams with a relentless “can do!” attitude. And with the help of Upbring’s BeREAL program, she overcame adversity and is now well on her way to achieving her goals.
DaVina’s journey began at just two years old. Her biological mother’s drug addiction and her father’s absence left her in the foster care system, where she moved from group homes to residential treatment centers. But she never gave up. Instead, she found hope and support through BeREAL, Upbring’s Supervised Independent Living (SIL) program that helps youth aging out of foster care successfully transition to self-sufficiency and independence by providing support, education planning and mentorship.
With the guidance of LaNisha Bell, BeREAL SIL Program Director, DaVina found a home and set priorities for her education and life goals. “She told me, ‘You never struggle in silence. If you need help with something, you call me,’” says DaVina. “BeREAL gave me a sense of relief because I didn’t have to move around anymore,” she adds.
Today, DaVina is studying biology at St. Phillip’s College, working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, and even earned the title of 50th Miss Black San Antonio along with a $2,000 scholarship. She dreams of one day becoming an anesthesiologist and owning a home in the country where she can raise horses and miniature pigs. And she’s proud to be a role model for young African American women with aspirations of their own. She would tell them:
“It’s going to be hard. Don’t expect something to happen if you’re not putting in the effort. I live by that every day—no rain, no flowers!”DaVina Lathers
DaVina’s story is a testament to the power of support and mentorship in changing the course of a young person’s life. Because of your support, young adults like DaVina can write the next chapter in their lives. To learn more about the BeREAL program, visit Upbring.org/BeREAL.