The following is taken from the
“Georgia Plan to End Child Homelessness 2011 Project.”
The number of homeless children and youth was unusually high because of the 2005 Hurricanes. During the following school year (2006-2007), the number of homeless children and youth in the state decreased to approximately 24,100. However, by the 2008-2009 school years, that number had grown to approximately 41,500 homeless children and youth. This represents a 72% increase in the number of homeless children and youth in Georgia from school year 2006-2007 to 2008-2009. There is little doubt that the economic downturn has led to the increase in the numbers of homeless children and families. Most of these children are not found living on the streets. Instead, they are living with their parents and siblings in shelters; in unsafe, substandard housing; or are doubled-up out of financial necessity with family or friends I overcrowded, unstable situations.”
K.I.D.S. (Kids In Discovery Of Self) can and do make a difference. Attitude is over half the battle to bring about good and positive change.
Post by Intiasar Ziyad (Fashion Stylist)
(narration of life events, and KIDOS influence and positive effect on our community)
I am one of the original members of Kids In Discovery of Self, Inc., basically because the founder, Sherina Aqeel is actually my biological mother. I am 1/5 of my mother’s biological children. You may ask why I used the term “biological,” in which I will explain. For every one child that my mom has, at least two extra children (not of her own) came along with us because we had a ton of friends and my mother considered them all her children. The environment that we were raised in was not always the best, therefore we were surrounded by uneducated children and parents; low income families; families that suffered from substance abuse; and in some cases even physical, emotional and sexual abuse for many. Our friends flocked to our mom, unconsciously accepting her as their mom – when in many situations they didn’t have a mother or a solid mother figure other than her. Naturally, they open up to her about problems and difficulties that were facing at the time. My mother took time for each and every child; helping to counsel and encourage them to move forward and solve their problems in a positive way.
On other occasions, we had several friends who needed a place to live.
My mother accepted every single child into her home with an understanding that they must be pursuing an attainable goal, furthering education and/or working to bring in income, and they cannot be involved in any illegal or violent activities. It’s quite amazing when I think back at how effortless it was for her to give everything to children who were not her own.
The KIDS program developed innately and has been a positive effect on our community. I am incredibly proud to be apart of a program that has turned around so many lives; that has rerouted paths from a future in the penitentiary to a college educated, family oriented husband/wife with values and morals. And after so many years, my mother is still so passionate and determined to continue her calling. I not only feel this program is needed, I’m confident that it will make a difference – because it’s made a difference in mine. I too have my mother to thank for pushing me to succeed and always being there for me. As I finish my final month towards my MBA and continue my career as an entrepreneur, I can’t believe that I am that same child who didn’t come from much. Because of my mother, I worked hard to achieve more…and I am committed to not letting her down, for she sacrificed too much. I will also always support KIDS and I know I am not alone.
Sincerely, Intiasar Ziyad
Post by Anna Lovejoy (Testimony)
Email from Anna Lovejoy: My Testimony
7/19/2016 11:09 am
Ms. Sherina, or as I sometimes call her, my “Umookti,” (one who is as a Sister to my Mother) was a living angel. An individual I met her through my father, which is another story in itself. When I first encountered her, it was a period where for the most part, I did not have a positive female adult presence. In some ways, she was a mother figure for myself. A mother of 5, she was successful and at peace; the very thing I was seeking for myself.
I had become accustomed and numb to my family dynamics. A healthy family dynamic and environment, was something I wasn’t privileged to have. A brief synopsis of myself at the time we met; I was 15, a junior in high school (one of my bestowed gifts is intelligence, an IQ over 151), which is a double edge sword in itself. I was consumed by anger and resentment, for what many today refer to, as family. By the time I reached 14, I had already been raped twice, molested by two different individuals of which one was a family member and the other was a baby sitter (female). The sitter’s family had known myself through my entirety on this planet. I was and am a person of faith, yet I was infuriated with God.
She did not judge me, nor did she make me feel as if I was less than worthy. She was very accepting, even though she did not know me from a can of paint and I was anything but friendly. Anyway she treated me as if I was one of her own and in time I go to the house a very deep appreciation and love for my Umookti. It did not matter the topic, the time, nor the location; if I needed her, or contacted her, she was ALWAYS there and quick to respond. Her life was so busy with her own family, I honestly have no clue how she had any time remaining for myself. There were times, as I got older, where she provided a safe haven for myself. She did so despite all that was going on around us, despite the influence and horrible comments from my own so-called mother. The relationship I had with my father, which is how we met, even when that would falter, I was still able to communicate with her.
She never forced her own values and beliefs upon me, she simply just listened and provided advice. It takes a humble and wise person, to listen to someone whom has many more years on this place called Earth, and actually take heed to their teachings. The times where I wanted her to be present for significant markers in my life, even if she wasn’t able to do so, due to conflict and other mundane principles, she was still there. I could communicate with her about any subject, whether it be sex, men, women, life, work, school, my anger, etc., she was always there to listen. When I went through periods of cutting off everybody and everything I knew in the world, and pretty much fell off the face of the Earth; whenever I resurfaced, she was right there as if nothing ever happened.
I can honestly say, that if I did not meet her, the path that I was traveling would have either landed me in jail, became another statistic, or I would simply be dead. Her teachings are invaluable, and I still carry them with myself to this day. She is a living angel on this Earth, and can and will be a blessing, saving grace, turnaround point, whichever metaphor suits your liking, to the many in need, IF GIVEN the chance. I will be in her debt as long as air passes through my lungs. Thank you, just isn’t enough.
Post by Mrs. Tenika D. Booth
(This letter is in support of Kids in Discovery of Self, founded by Sherina Aqeel. Thank You Ms. Aqeel!!)
Ms. Aqeel has been an integral part of my life and my family’s life for over 15 years. She loves hard, gives unconditionally and has dedicated her life’s work to helping others. I have always known her to encourage excellence and stress that anything is possible. There is nothing that one can do or give to Ms. Aqeel to thank her for making such a difference in the lives of so many. She maintains a level of integrity that influences others to follow in her pursuit of excellence.
Mrs. Tenika D. Booth
Contact: 404.456.7910 or fill out our contact form.
405 Fairburn Rd. SW #264
Atlanta, GA 30331