one by one® story: Success 1st
While preparing to write an essay, high school student Sharnice Jones decided to go deep and focus on a difficult yet highly important issue—an uptick in HIV and AIDS among teenagers in minority communities. Sharnice asked her mom, Carlotta Jones, if she knew anyone who was diagnosed with HIV or AIDs whom she could interview for the essay. As it turns out, her mom did know someone—Sharnice’s cousin.
When they sat down together, Sharnice’s cousin told her that the problem didn’t start when she tested positive for HIV at age 19. It started when she was 11 or 12, making decisions that eventually led to her becoming HIV positive. That sparked an idea for Sharnice, who then founded Success 1st. The nonprofit aims to help young people find life goals that become so important to them, they don’t let anything stop them from reaching it. This ultimately helps them make smart life choices along the way. With workshops and prizes like journal giveaways, Success 1st is changing countless young lives.
From student to board member
Success 1st volunteers seek out other volunteers and encourage them to participate in activities to help discover what they want to learn about. One young student named Alana wanted to learn public speaking skills. Carlotta, who’s now the president of Success 1st, gave Alana as many opportunities as possible to help her improve her public speaking. Alana got so good at it that she was chosen as one of the youth speakers for an annual event hosted by Success 1st. She continued to develop her skills while learning how to effectively communicate with the community. When she graduated high school, Alana decided to go to college locally and continue volunteering with Success 1st. Today, she works in chemical engineering and is still volunteering on the board of directors.
Creatively striving for success with journal giveaways
Success 1st hosts an annual program called Creative Expression Weekend. This event includes a three- to four-hour workshop where a seasoned artist gives students projects and encourages them to be creative. This artist could be anyone from a musician to a painter.
“This year, we took the Creative Expression Weekend a step further by giving the young people an opportunity to send in a poem or written piece before the workshop for a prize. Prizes included $100 and the journal giveaway. The journal is perfect because students can use it for anything from creative work to school,” Carlotta said.
A note from Cheryl
It’s wonderful to see how Success 1st is helping students discover and reach big goals in life that help them make great choices for years to come. 4imprint is honored to provide the journal giveaways students can take home and use. If you’re interested in applying for a one by one® grant, visit onebyone.4imprint.com.