An amazing thing happened in the Summer of 2013 – Tiauna Lewis found her voice when she joined IncluCity, a residential leadership program through Inclusive Communities.
She went back to her high school in the fall and recruited Lincoln High to take part in the program for the first time, bringing 13 delegates to the program in February 2014 and she also recruited 3 faculty members to take part.
It is because of Tiauna’s perseverance, maturity and leadership that she is the recipient of the 2014 Spotlight Gala Award for Youth.
After becoming part of IncluCity, Tiauna joined her school’s slam poetry team, giving her the opportunity to express her new found voice and talk about the experiences she has had in her life. Watch Tiauna express herself in this slam poetry video.
Tiauna also became involved in the NAACP’s local chapter, forensics and so much more.
In May of 2014, she delivered the youth keynote address at Inclusive Communities’ 59th Annual Humanitarian Dinner to a sold-out crowd of more than 900 people and raised more than $53,000 for the agency in a financial appeal – asking donors to give other youth the opportunity she was given to have a life-changing experience.
Tiauna says she will be the first woman in her family to ever go to college. She says she wants to teach English at either the high school or collegiate level. She wants to better her community by bringing out the potential of youth like her.
Here is Tiauna in her own words:
Every aspect of who I am today has been shaped by my experience at IncluCity. The camp truly made me view my entire existence much differently. Before IncluCity I never recognized my potential. I sincerely felt like a failure because I could never achieve the standards of greatness society had presented me with. IncluCity not only believed in my abilities and valued me as a person, they showed me how to view positive aspects of myself. Through this, I became so much more confident and hopeful. I was conditioning myself to be comfortable with ignoring the ills of society before my involvement with Inclusive Communities. Now, every moment of my life is dedicated to education, involvement, and change. IncluCity continues to teach me the importance of the fight for not only tolerance but inclusion above all else.
Tiauna Lewis found her voice – and now she is using that voice to inspire others. For the perseverance she has displayed and the inspiration she has provided, Voices for Children is proud to select Tiauna Lewis for this year’s Spotlight Gala Award for an Youth.
Check out this video from Inclusive Communities to see some of the other amazing kids who have had their lives changed through Inclusive Communities.
The 2014 Spotlight Gala will be held on Saturday, September 13th. Click here for tickets or additional information.