Years ago I started this site to inspire and empower all by using my story and the stories of others whom I’ve encountered. Although I graduated from Temple University in May of 2012 and, at 25 now own my business, I am still a woman and mother currently living in poverty. There are times when I still have to trek to the welfare office, or to PHA, or to CCIS–all public welfare agency’s here in Philadelphia–and sit for hours waiting to see my caseworker or pray that my benefits or case hasn’t been compromised thanks, in part, to the constant shuffling of caseworkers.
I’m still struggling. I’m still fighting to survive and build my dreams in the process.
And given that I’ve progressed greatly in terms of my education and moving forward in my life, but am still not successful enough to be able to get off of the system, it places me in a very unique position in terms of speaking to poverty-stricken youth and adults. My story is one that represents hope, strength and opportunity; apparently it makes me relatable in such a way that others believe and trust (as they should) that I’m proof of what can happen when one doesn’t give up, back down or take “no” for an answer when it comes to fulfilling their purpose.
So with this in mind, I am dedicated to taking advantage of this unique time in my life. Do I want to be on welfare and struggling as I do? Hell no. That’s why I work as hard as I do to develop opportunities that can lead to increased income; I want to get off of it with a burning passion. However, I also recognize that there’s a time and a place for everything, and this time in my life is for a reason because it’s brought about a connection and trust among diverse audiences like no other.
Whether it’s grade level youth, teenagers, teen-parents, single mothers, or women of all ages and background, I come to speak, connect and lead workshops with them all.
All of the aforementioned work is done through “SiSy’s Here” (pronounced “sissy”, as in SISTER), the community outreach component of the Sincerely Syreeta brand.
W.H.E.W! (Women’s Healing & Empowerment Workshops)
The first project (launched summer 2012) is affectionately titled the W.H.E.W! Project (Women’s Healing & Empowerment Workshops).
WHEW! was conceived with the belief that the impoverished woman’s best chances of succeeding in attaining her goals for love, education, career, family, spirituality, self-esteem and health are best achieved when working together with other women within her community to support one another. While we find community organizations and social services to be extremely critical to the impoverished woman’s success, it is ultimately a strong support system that will greatly influence the fulfillment of her dreams.
SiSy seeks to support the evolution of the impoverished woman into the empowered woman as she attempts to balance her many responsibilities while managing to come up for a little air and letting a “WHEW!” escape her lips.
If you’re interested in volunteering, providing product donations or sponsorship, or booking SS please e-mail SincerelySyreeta@gmail.com for further information.
QueenDiva.com: DIVA’S Against Bullying
I had the pleasure of joining world boxing champ, Danny “Swift” Garcia; Super Bowl champ, Raheem Brock; and Black Label Salon & Spa for the Diva’s Against Bullying School Tour created by none other than the Queen Diva herself, Christina Sanchez. The students listened to my life story, eyes wide; they readily engaged with me in conversation as I asked for their thoughts; and perhaps what made me most happy was how excited they were to share their own dreams, goals and aspirations with me.
Thank you to QD for inviting me to be a part of such a great cause!
Love 4 Mileena Campaign
I met Mileena Davis on May 6th, 2013 while sharing my story with the young women at Germantown High School. It was then that I learned about her story and launched a call-to-action to the public through SiSy’s Here, on her behalf.
Mileena was a mother of one-year-old Miracle who had a kidney condition and she was pregnant with twins, one of which had passed in the womb. She had recently been kicked out of the place that she was staying and after experiencing a tough life in general since childhood, she had finally decided to reach out for help. In essence, she felt she had hit rock bottom. After learning of her story, various businesses, organizations and individuals partnered with me and through our efforts we were able to get her to senior prom; support her in graduating on time; find her housing, and adequately prepare her for the birth of her daughter, Neriah.
I went on to become Neriah’s God-mother. Five months after Neriah was born, on November 17th, 2013, she passed away due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Again, I (and the community) were there with her through it all, including the painful moment of Neriah being taken off of life-support, meeting with social workers and church clergy, planning the memorial and journeying through the mourning process.
Mileena is currently gathering the strength to move forward in her life. She is currently attending a trade school where she is studying to become a nurse. Mileena and Miracle are on the path to a very bright and blessed future.
You can view the pictures of the #Love4Mileena journey below.
Photo credits: DanieG Photography.
Philadelphia Youth Project: Keynote Speaker
In November of 2013, Chris McFadden of the Philadelphia Youth Project, invited me to come as the keynote speaker for the third annual PYP Youth Conference. The conference included a keynote address, workshops, poetry, talent show, a culture presentation, giveaways and food, all free to attendees. The theme for the year’s conference was “Winning the Race” and through my keynote address, I was asked to encourage and empower youth and young adults through my story. It was a phenomenal experience and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it!
Photo credit: D Burton Photography