September 24, 2017
My name is Sabi Kamilah Hinkson, and I am the president of The Strong Hinkson Organization (The SHO)… I think I am the best person to tell you about this nonprofit organization, because this project is one of my “babies”…
First, let me tell you a little bit about myself…My most outstanding achievement is being a mother; I am the mother of 2 beautiful girls, Kiara and Taneia, who are 17 years old and 7 years old respectively… I am 34 years old, so if you’ve already done the math, you will realize that I had my first child very young (I was 16 years old to be exact).
I got pregnant at 16 years old; I found out that I was pregnant on September 24, 1999, and I had just started my last year of high school…At that time, I was one of the “star students” of my high school (Riverside Park Academy in Montreal, Canada): I was on various sports teams, student council, I was class president, and in the previous academic school years, I was always on the honour roll etc. I had a lot going for me, and my ultimate goal was to become a doctor… All I could think to myself was: “Well there goes all of my dreams…”
I was devastated that I was pregnant, but I wanted to keep the baby, and so did my boyfriend at the time… I kept my beautiful baby girl, and decided that although I was pregnant, and despite some people telling me that I should drop out of school, I would continue going to school.
Why did I decide to continue going to school? Because of the bar that had been set for me in my home: my mom had numerous degrees, she was a teacher and an accountant, my sister already had a university degree in Psychology and Education, and my father always told us that he doesn’t care what we do with our lives after, but we MUST FIRST go to school, and at least get one university degree. So I realized at a young age, education is important, and it is important to set these kind of bars because children mimic what they see in their environment; if I wanted my unborn child to be a scholar, she would have to see that I am a scholar. .
I had so much love and support from the people in my environment, I had no choice but to excel and succeed. My mom, dad, Aunt Marion and older sister were there for me EVERY STEP of the way… I went on to College in Pure and Applied Sciences, and eventually graduated from Concordia University with a Biochemistry, Theology and Scientific Research degree (PS my last year of university, I got pregnant with my second princess :-O). I eventually became a scientific laboratory technician and a teacher (Math and Science)…My eldest daughter is now 17 years old, in college, and wants to study science as well.
When my daughter graduated from High School in June 2017, I felt so accomplished; I was so proud of MYSELF (oh yeah, and her too LOL)… But I started to think how hard it was for us to get there; I was going to school, working, and raising these kids simultaneously…Additionally, I was very active in my daughter’s school (I was on the school’s governing board, home and school association, car pooled for the sports teams, and volunteered at various of the school’s events); it was so hard to do all of this! But most importantly, I thought about ALL OF THE SUPPORT I had, and even though I had all of this help, it was still hard.
I began to think further… If I felt like I was drowning, and I had all of this help, what about the single parents out there who have NO SUPPORT? I can’t imagine how they feel… So in June 2017, in my head, I told myself that I must do something to help single-parent-scholars who have no support (I don’t know if single-parent-scholars is a real title, but I will use this title when I’m referring to these superheroes LOL).
I know that there are school loans out there that can “help” single-parents get an education, but are they truly that helpful? I was on the Loans and Bursaries program in Quebec, and by the time I finished university, I owed the government over $50 000.
Additionally, I know that there are academic scholarships out there; but how many of them are understanding about how hard it is to be a parent and a student at the same time? I know that if I could study as much as I wanted to, I would have awesome grades all of the time; but this wasn’t always the case…When you’re a parent, and you get home from school, you have to be a parent; so you don’t have as much time to study as a student who does not have children. With this being said, most of the time, when you are a parent-scholar your grades suffer; and of course, when you apply for academic scholarships, and you must submit your grades, the application forms don’t have an area that says:
“check here if you are a parent, you have outstanding potential, but your grades suck because your priority is being a parent and NOT studying”…
So I wanted to start a nonprofit organization that is just for single-parent-scholars…I wanted to start an organization that supports and understands what it’s like to be a single-parent and a student simultaneously.
First, I told my mother what I wanted to do, and she supported me 100% (like she ALWAYS does)… And of course, as soon as I told my father, and sister what I wanted to do, they supported me 100% as well…
So together, in September 2017 (almost exactly 17 years after finding out that I was going to be a mother), we started The Strong Hinkson Organization… I, Sabi Hinkson, am the president… My mother, Gloria Strong-Hinkson, is the vice president and treasurer, my sister, Kifana Hinkson-Holder, is a director and secretary, and my dad, Cecil Hinkson, is a director… Yes, this organization is my dream, but the Strong-Hinkson family always support each other, so it was only natural that my dream immediately became their dream as well. And we, the Strong-Hinkson family, would like to support the academic dreams of others…
We have big dreams for this organization, and as long as there is a Strong Hinkson alive, we are going to see to it that these dreams become reality.
We hope you stick around for the journey!
Sabi Kamilah Hinkson
(The President of The SHO)
“…Be strong and don’t give up, for all of your hard work will be rewarded.”