Awarded $1,000 Through the Live Your Dream Award.
With the help of the Live Your Dream Awards, Tyra Wright earned her business degree and started her own organization to help other survivors of domestic violence.
Tyra Wright had had enough. Enough of the mental and emotional abuse from her partner. Enough of not having the money to pursue her dreams of a college education and a better life for herself and her daughter. Enough of the physical abuse when she became pregnant with her second child.
So one day, Tyra simply told herself: Enough. She knew if she didn’t stop the cycle, eventually the abuse would happen again. “I knew that wasn’t the life I needed to live,” says the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, resident.
A New Beginning
Mustering her courage, she removed the offending man from her home with an Order of Protection. No longer able to afford to stay in her own house, Tyra moved herself and her family in with her mother. Then she took another positive step: She enrolled at the University of Phoenix in the Philadelphia area with the aim of earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Tyra was also working full time as a billing coordinator at a law firm. Even with that income, however, she was concerned about paying for school. “I didn’t want to take out these insurmountable loans,” she says. “So I started looking for scholarships to attend school because it was costly for books, rent, my children’s tuition. I started searching the Internet and that’s when I found out about Soroptimist.”
The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award was exactly what Tyra was looking for, so she filled out the necessary paperwork. But she knew that many other women in need would also be applying and she doubted she would receive any monies. “I was shocked one day when I got a voicemail telling me I was given an award of $300. Now I could buy my school books, as well as diapers for my daughter. It was such a good feeling and a real blessing.”
Tyra received the award from the SI/Five Points Magneta club in Philadelphia in 2002, attending the ceremony at the home of Wanda Price, immediate past governor of the North Atlantic Region and membership chair for the region.
Since receiving that award, Tyra’s life has changed in many positive ways. For one, she graduated in 2005 with a B.S. degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. She also met a wonderful man two years ago while on a lunch break. The two married this October and Tyra says matter-of-factly, “God is good.”
The club members go out in the community and help women and give them a sense of belonging and assurance. I love that. It’s awesome to be around the most positive women I’ve ever met or seen. It’s such a joy.Tyra Wright, Live Your Dream Award Recipient
Tyra also stayed in touch with the Five Points Magneta club, letting them know of her progress. A few months ago she became a Soroptimist and loves her newfound association, saying, “The club members go out in the community and help women and give them a sense of belonging and assurance. I love that. It’s awesome to be around the most positive women I’ve ever met or seen. It’s such a joy.”
Inspired by others
She’s especially grateful for the club’s help in furthering her education and her life. “I see these women and how passionate they are and that’s what drives me at each and every meeting,” she says. “Wanda tells me that I can jump start our club for a newer generation and that’s exactly what I plan to do. No matter where I am, I always mention that I’m part of Soroptimist and ask women if they’d like to be a part of it.”
The Award allowed me to work with women and gain their lives back with independence and self-sufficiency. This is the greatest feeling in the world. It means the world to me that we are all in this together.Tyra Wright, Live Your Dream Award Recipient
Winning the Award encouraged Tyra to start her own nonprofit called The Women’s Solo Project, Inc., that provides workshops and trainings in prevention and awareness of domestic violence. The organization also teaches volunteers and Fellows from local colleges and universities to recognize the signs of domestic violence. She writes, “The Award allowed me to work with women and gain their lives back with independence and self-sufficiency.” Knowing that women all over the world support Tyra’s goals has made an impact on her. “This is the greatest feeling in the world,” Tyra says, “It means the world to me that we are all in this together.”