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I can’t seem to understand the logic or thinking of today’s society. How can people dismiss or disregard our young people who are perceived to be at a disadvantage because of their address and family structure?

As a women who grew up in Detroit, Michigan, a city labeled as a rough and a hard place to survive and raise a family, I never allowed this horrible stigma to affect who I am or what I will become. I was raised in a home in which my parents and grandparents instilled the importance of being relentless and having a strong work ethic. They encouraged me to follow my dreams even in the face of adversity.

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My dad once told me that the key to tenacity is the will to rise above and survive life’s obstacles, and to remember where I came from. Today, I continue to keep those words close to my heart.

I have to admit, it’s my family and community who continue to motivate me to excel. I now know –when I win; they win.

Becoming a model took a lot of hard work, perseverance and faith. There have been many ups and downs along my journey which is simply a part of life. Today, I can honestly say that I’m living one of my dreams. As a professional model I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the world modeling in beautiful places such as Hawaii and Germany, and I don’t take these experiences lightly. [pagebreak] I believe that I have been blessed, so that I can be an inspiration to others, which is one of the reasons why I choose to give back. This is part of my winning formula. I want to be of service and encourage others to never loose hope and faith. There is no greater feeling than being able to positively impact someone else’s life.

I realize that you influence your ability to overcome life’s challenges, because life is what you make it. I made the decision to persevere, live life to the fullest, and while on the journey lift up others who may have less in life but still have that sparkle in their eye (like I did. The sparkle to succeed).

This past summer I volunteered with Feed the Children, “Americans Feeding Americans” Campaign to distribute food to over 3,000 families. Also, I had the opportunity to work with amazing children through the Special Needs Network (SNN), which raises public awareness of developmental disabilities (such as autism), while providing education and resources to families, children and adults. No matter where you are in life, there is always an opportunity to serve. What mark will you leave on this world?

***Tiesheko is a model for Frederick’s of Hollywood. You can follow her on Twitter!

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