Today we’d like to introduce you to Shakoya Green.
Hi Shakoya, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I remember this experience like it was yesterday: there was a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach as I was being told that I would be living with my grandmother whom I love dearly. I was going from place to place with my mom and at some point, I was diagnosed with scabies. I was seven years old when my grandmother made an extremely hard decision to call the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) due to my mother’s lack of parenting and substance abuse. I would worry and wonder when my mother would return after dropping me off and leaving me at my grandmother’s house for days. It was now coming to an end; we were going to have a place to call HOME. At that moment, the feeling of abandonment and loss of attachment set in… no mom or dad. Who would have thought a little girl that wanted to be a lawyer first encounter with a courtroom would be her own case in Edelman’s Children’s Court? Walking into the courtroom nervous, teary eyed, sick to my stomach, and hearing a judge order visits with my dad who also had been absent and inconsistent for so many years. I was hurt and angry and wondered how and why this had to happen to me. Imagine having to navigate a system of the unknown after taking on the responsibility of your grandchildren, after raising seven children of your own; this was my grandmother… starting her life all over again. My very first social worker was a tall African American man. When I first met him, in my head I said, “here we go again, what is this man going to do for us”.
However, this man was not who I expected, he was empathetic, knowledgeable, patient, caring, and helped my grandmother navigate the foster care system. He helped her understand what was best so that my mother would retain her parental rights and when she maintained her sobriety, she would be able to regain custody. During our first encounter, it was said that the social worker would have to visit our schools. The feeling of disgust and sickness came over me. I thought, not only does my mother or father not attend school functions, I had to have a social worker make his monthly visit to the school as well. I was devastated to say the least, however, he put my mind at ease. He visited the school, talked to the teacher, and then made a special trip to my grandmother’s house for our visits. His ability to provide empathy and his commitment to children has remained with me all this time. He helped to decrease some of the trauma that could be experienced when you are in the foster care system. Who would have thought that I would have stayed in the foster care system until I was 18 years old? At the tender age of 14, I was introduced to who I recall as my last social worker. She was this tall Caucasian woman that stood about 6ft tall and I remember thinking, “what does she want, and how can she help this little black girl. I am over the foster care system and just ready for the court process to end”. My assumption of my new social worker was that she knew nothing about Compton or black children except for what the media portrayed.
To my surprise, she exceeded my expectations connecting me not only to independent living services but also opportunities to work, grow and to assist with preparing me for college. She ensured that I received services after I graduated from high school and while I was attending San Diego State University. When I moved to San Diego to go to college, she made sure that I received a clothing allowance, fees for books, fees for summer school, and funds to purchase items for my apartment. Although being detained from my parents and going into the foster care system was traumatizing, DCFS and my social workers played a pivotal role in my life from the age of 7 – 21 which I attribute to the tremendous supports that was provided to me. While I was eager to no longer be involved in the process (DCFS), I learned to be open and have patience. This experience taught me to trust the process. I have gone from Foster Care to Social Worker. I was the first in my immediate family to obtain my bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. I have a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development with a minor in Social Work, a master’s degree in Psychology, and a Masters degree in Social Work. I am currently the Senior Vice President of Programs at Brotherhood Crusade, I am also a professor and during COVID, I launched SDG Coaching Consulting and Training. SDG Empowers women, businesses and teams to manifest their greatness through strength-based, solution-focused coaching to create a plan of execution.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. Early in life, I dealt with some traumatic incidents. Personally, I have struggled with being told that I was not able to have children, which I have written about in my blog from “Devastation to Existence”. In my 20 year career, there have been several struggles, from being told that I was too young and too black for a position to not being promoted because of my age. As for SDG Consulting and Training there have been lots of learning in the process, from launching, creating programs and learning about social media. Life is a Journey … and we are constantly learning.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have had an amazing career thus far. It all started at the age of 14 as a Peer Educator and it was uphill from there. From ten years of providing direct social work to individuals from birth to death from all different walks of life to the last ten years being in leadership, Co-Founding a Non – Profit B2B (Blessed to Be A Blessing) Support Services Inc., professor to now launching my own coaching business. It is truly a blessing to be able to bless others as I have been blessed over the years. SDG Coaching Consulting Training specializes in empowering women and leaders manifest their dreams. I am most proud to be a Black Woman, Mother and CEO from Compton. I am proud that I was blessed with an amazing support system that supported me on this journey. I am proud that I did not allow my circumstances to dictate my future. I am proud that have gone through the healing process and I am able to share my story so that people understand that where you start does not dictate where you finish.
How do you think about luck?
According to google luck means, “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” Luck played no part in my life or my business. My life story was a test so that I would have a testimony to share with others, to help others get to the next phase in their life. I had a praying grandmother and that is what has played a part in my life and business. From her grave, her prayers are still covering me. I had two aunts that played a huge role in my life growing up. Although my mother may not have raised me her prayers in the last 24 years of my life have played a huge role in my business and life. From my grandmother to my mother to my aunts they have all taught me what prayer, hard work, and dedication could bring. God has his hands on me and I am covered with his grace and that is where my success stems from. Life is a Journey… You have to trust the process!
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