Cheryl Albright

How do we build resilient girls? How do you build resiliency in your own life?

In 1969, desegregation forced 9-year-old Cheryl Albright to step out of her familiar black church, school, and community in the foothills of North Carolina into a white school where she and four other black students learned about racism. Singing became her ticket to acceptance. She has lived in Rhode Island since 1980 and has performed throughout the Atlantic seacoast. Her production “Oh Freedom Over Me!” weaves her own story and those of five African-American women singers from 1880 through the turbulent Twentieth Century.

photo by Agapao Productions

Faith has played a key role in my life from early childhood to becoming an adult. I was always taught to believe against the odds even if I did not see or understand how things would happen in my life. I never gave up and took nothing for granted.

As a single and divorced mom, my life was full of test and trials. At times, I did not know how I was going to make ends meet. God placed some very special women in my life to let me know my worth and value.

These positive influences helped me to realize that knowing and loving me is the best gift I can give myself. They let me know I was not in condemnation because of my circumstances. These women were nurturing, supportive, and their words strengthened me. They really helped me to gain a new perspective during a difficult time.

I believe that life’s challenges can be turned into something good. Mentally preparing myself for something great to happen while on this journey far outweighed the obstacles I was facing. I was encouraged to never give up on my dreams.

There is a saying that “life is a bowl of cherries.” What I believe is that “Life does not always go in the ideal direction.” It is important to know there will be bumps and bruises as we grow and mature. Some opportunities are good and others are not. This does not mean that you give up on yourself. Passion and determination helps to overcome most of the obstacles.

The wise must teach and mentor the young so they will gain wisdom and teach others. Speaking positive into someone’s life will always bring about cause and effect change. We must teach young girls to dream and write those dreams down so they are able to visually understand where they are headed in life. We must instill that they are here for a unique purpose only they are able to accomplish (how special can that be). Let’s teach them to never give up and take nothing for granted.

Most of all, let’s encourage them to savor and celebrate those teaching moments that will be nuggets of gold in their lives.