Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina Colin.
Gina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I believe my story is very relatable to a lot of people out there. I was the product of teen parents, born into statistics that predicted a life of poverty and struggle. I lacked guidance as a child and adolescent. I am a survivor of abuse and I was an at-risk youth prior to becoming a teen mom. But my story that I share through Speak To Encourage came to be because of mentors who believed in me, who saw me as more than just a statistic, who spoke into me and encouraged me to do better and be better for myself and my daughter.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My road was anything but easy. I’ve been tested along the way and continue to be tested. Obstacles will always present itself. Sometimes, we’re able to overcome them, and other times we regress. Each time I am challenged, my faith and trust in God has brought me back to myself. I think that having faith and trusting the process, knowing who you are and who you want to be is key not only when starting your journey, but also for maintaining a healthy balance in life. When you’re young, you don’t always know who you are yet, and that’s ok. That’s why I think it’s so important to find a mentor who can help you through your process and give you feedback on the direction you want to go and how to get there.
We’d love to hear more about Speak To Encourage.
Speak To Encourage is a community resource that collaborates with organizations such as homeless shelters, abuse prevention centers, clinics, family resource centers, and continuation schools that support and provide services for at-risk mothers and their families. I speak to and mentor at-risk youth moms both in a class setting and one on one. A large population of women I work with aren’t just teen moms. They are young mothers that were born into cycles of abuse and/or poverty and have a desire to work through their issues and break these cycles. I speak to encourage by sharing my personal story, as well as facilitate my authored motherhood series that is based on self-awareness, a positive self-image, good mental health, and life balance. Speak To Encourage also provides one on one virtual call mentor meetups for moms looking for extra support. I assess each case and align them with opportunities, resources, and support in their area as quickly as possible to help position them to be better mothers, which starts within themselves. My approach is best known for being down to earth, relatable, and effective because of my passion, education and personal experience. I am proud to say that Speak To Encourage has a great community of individuals who are positive, supportive and encouraging to one another. This is what Speak To Encourage stands for.
Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I’ve been fortunate to meet several inspiring women along my journey that epitomized the true meaning of a mentor. They used their platform to influence and encourage young women like myself who lacked guidance and direction. These women made the time and effort to listen to me, discuss my strengths and weaknesses, offer constructive criticism, and help me set goals to position myself to be better. They weren’t afraid to speak their minds or share their hearts with me. My work pays tribute to these amazing women who inspired me and changed my life, which is why I advocate the at-risk youth to seek out a mentor for themselves.
Jaclyn Mansour (Personal picture only)