06/14/2012 01:58 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2012

My Experience at UNCF's Inaugural Convention

Being the second oldest of eleven children and coming from a single parent home was the most
fortunate of life events, because it taught me the value of knowledge. I valued education as being the sole route to overcoming poverty and complacency. Education became a reason to live; after God, it has been the foundation of my existence. Being a part of UNCF K-12 social entrepreneurship and attending the Leadership Conference has given me the opportunity to learn while channeling my spirit and creativity through service. My hope is that this experience will allow me to become a beacon of hope and an agent of change to combat the educational inequalities in Washington, DC and the world.

Thus far, the leadership conference has reaffirmed my call to service - not just any service but a service I refer to as Unlocking Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Plato's Allegory of the Cave details a scenario in which Socrates describes humanity as prisoners in a cave, in total bondage, who only have the ability to perceive what lies in front of their faces. The captives are bound by their limited view, unable to perceive what lies beyond them. Plato's philosophical viewpoint on the mentality of humanity is evident in the social ills that continue to deprive individuals of freedom in the 21 st century. This Leadership Conference has served as a reminder that there are many truths in our world that through education we have the power to unlock.

If I could describe the Leadership Conference in one word I would say "Freedom." In life, I believe we are sometimes bound by circumstances, fear, failure, and lack of support, yet the Leadership Conference reinforced the necessity of taking steps to unlock Plato's Cave and expand the limited views of many by educating them. In life, we must be provided an opportunity to see a different perspective so that we may be able to choose the direction in which our lives will lead, and through this conference it reaffirmed that my purpose is a call to service. This opportunity is bigger than me; it is the beginning of the battle to unlocking the chains of complacency that bind the minds of so many.

The UNCF K-12 Social Entrepreneurship program will not only complement my career goals, it will be the foundation for effectively using my passion for humanity and education reform to serve society. By gaining a more in-depth perspective from being in the classroom, observing students, understanding their barriers, and rejoicing in their success will ultimately help me to understand how culture influences education. Acquiring knowledge about the factors that play positive and negative roles in education will allow me to take this knowledge and apply it to educational legislation in the Georgia House of Representatives. This experience will challenge my patience, perseverance, and passion. My patience in the sense of my willingness to seek to understand the truest nature of humanity, my perseverance in the sense of having a firm grasp on my purpose, and my passion in the sense of recognizing that my passion is the source of my life and service. Through these three aspects of my life being challenged, I will be able to embody the essence of freedom through educational social entrepreneurship. Along with complementing my career path involving education reform advocacy, human rights advocacy, and international law endeavors, the greatest endeavor will be in exploring the unknown, giving a face and potential to poverty, personalizing experiences, recognizing the beauty of humanity in the midst of adversity and cultivating it to its truest potential.