One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.
Graduating college is one of life's greatest accomplishments. For many of us, the value of education is instilled in us as young children. We are expected to go to college after we graduate high school and prepare for our life as adults. Accomplishing this goal is not as easy however when you have an infant.
Dominique Caminos and her daughter, Aaliyah.
Photographer: Hilary Patterson
Meet Dominique Caminos. Dominique is a college graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College, located in Owensboro, Kentucky. In the Fall of 2016 She earned a Bachelor of Science.
Dominique was not your average college student. At the age of 17, Dominique found out that she was pregnant. She was a senior in high school and had plans to attend her dream school, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Due to her pregnancy, her plans of going to her dream college were put on hold. She was told by many people that she was not going to make it and that she would struggle. Fortunately, the words of others did not stop her. In fact, others words of discouragement only made her push forward and work harder than ever to be successful.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school. Fewer than 2 percent finish college by age 30. Dominique refused to be another statistic. She searched for colleges and opportunities. Eventually her search lead her to Kentucky Wesleyan College.
Being a full time mother and student was not an easy task. On many occasions her daughter was right there with her in the classroom when daycare was unavailable. Finding a balance between being a mother, going to class, working, and volunteering was sometimes a bit overwhelming. However, Dominique focused on her daughter and her future to keep her motivated and pushing forward.
While in college Dominique served as a Student Ambassador with the Admissions Team and as President of the Black Student Union and the Multicultural Club. Serving in these positions allowed Dominique to learn many skills such as leadership and time management. During her time a KWC, Dominique found her passion for diversity and inclusion. She gained experience through internships for non-profit organizations and for the city of Owensboro. Through these amazing opportunities, she was able to explore many career choices, gain positive relationships, and her understanding of others grew tremendously. Dominique hopes to pursue a career that allows her to use her leadership skills and passion for others to help impact change and empower others.
Dominique has been a source of motivation for many young mothers who have decided to beat the odds and pursue an education.
When asked what advice she would give other girls Dominique stated, "Never give up. There is always a way. Through your journey of finding yourself, don't lose yourself. Don't let anyone get in the way of your happiness and your future. You can only rely on yourself and God to make things happen. You cannot change what has happened, but you can help change what is going to happen. Be in charge of your life, your heart, and your future. Remember to always do the right thing and stay humble. God will bless you with things you couldn't even imagine once you start trusting Him."
This blog post is apart of GIRLS and the Letters We Write Project's Shout Out Girls Series. In this series we shout out girls who are beating the odds, serving their communities, impacting change, empowering other women, and serving as role models. If you know of a girl who should be given a shout out email us at email@example.com for more info.