Having served over 22 years each, both my parents have honored and sacrificed for our beloved country. The couple first met while stationed in Korea, then moved to Fort Ord, CA, were married and had one child -- me! Being an only child of two military parents meant that I had to solely deal with life challenges: moving to new countries, meeting new friends and missing old ones. Fortunately, my parents' high expectations and support allowed me to be the strong, resilient woman that I am today.
Growing up, I was expected to bring home nothing less than a "B" on my report cards and managed to do so while transferring to numerous schools. My parents simply wanted the best for me and made sure that I achieved it by supporting me 100 percent! No matter what the activity, they were my backbone.
Instilling the meaning of success and the value of hard work were two important lessons that my parents taught me. They made sure that I focused my energy and kept me very active in sports. On a regular basis, they would take me to the gym where I developed the necessary skills to become great. It was clear at a young age that basketball would hold a special place in my heart and as supportive parents, my folks recognized it too.
Even though I had to endure three deployments as a military brat: mom in Bosnia for nine months, father in Saudi Arabia for six months and then another two years in Kuwait and Iraq, I became very strong physically and mentally. It was during my junior and senior years of high school that I truly grasped the effects of war. My father had been gone for some time and since our means of communicating were limited, I truly did not know if I would ever see him again. In the mean time, my mom took on the responsibility of helping me fulfill a dream. She would drive me back and forth from Columbus and Atlanta so that I could make basketball more than a recreational activity. I owe her a great deal of credit for turning my hoop dream into a reality.
Having attained my basketball goals, I knew that I must give thanks to the journey that allowed me to be successful. With the help of my parents, I created the Ketia4Kidz Foundation in August of 2008. This organization recognizes military children and their unique resilience to this stressful life. I moved seven times within 18 years, dealing with the struggles of various schools and relationships. That is why I understand the value of a military child's situation. The kids are our future and I want to contribute a positive impact on their lives and their dreams. I want them to know that I was able to achieve my dreams through hard work and dedication and that they can too!
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