Alum Spotlight: Sycrisha Conway
This month we are excited to feature and celebrate one of our program alums, Sycrisha Conway! Sy was introduced to the YWRC by her mom and joined the YWRC when she was 16 years old. Since then, she has completed several certifications and degrees, and runs her own successful business.
We’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Sy’s journey and are grateful for her sharing how the YWRC has played a small part in it. Read on to learn about how it started, her incredible motivation, and the advice she has for youth today.
“Being a young mother, my mom would always look out for different support groups or opportunities for young moms. I participated in support groups at the time – gathering with other young moms sharing thoughts in a safe environment.”
Sy continued to participate with the YWRC because of the support and care she received, in addition to the unique environment it provided.
“If I had not participated in YWRC I do not think I would have been exposed to different opportunities or knowledge I hold from the different teaching within the support groups. To be in a safe place with other young women with relatable stories like mines helped me get through. The leaders at the time were so helpful with giving resources and catering towards specific needs, they made a significant impact. My favorite part was roundtable support discussions.”
While participating in group, Sy’s “ah-ha” moment was when she realized “it’s okay” and that she could determine what was next on her path.
“The most valuable piece of information I carry with me from being a participant in the YWRC is “it’s okay”. Simple and it stuck with me. It is okay I was a young mother; it’s okay my story did not fit the typical teenage lifestyle. I am the author of my story, this is my journey. From that point I was not ashamed I was a mom at 16, I was not ashamed to tell my story. It’s okay because I could keep going.”
What a valuable lesson for all of us – to know that if things take a different direction than we had planned, “it’s okay” and we have the power to determine what is next. From this “ah-ha” moment, Sy’s confidence continued to grow.
“I learned to be confident and okay with my journey as a young mom. My leaders help me get through the thought processes of being a young mom still learning and growing. I also built confidence talking with individuals I did not know, being a shy girl growing up talking with people I didn’t know was not the easiest thing for me to do. YWRC is a part of my confidence that still is prevalent today.”
There is no doubt that Sy is a motivated, driven individual. She has been setting and achieving her goals since becoming a mother.
“My career path started early. I knew when I became a mother at a young age, I had to figure out something quickly so I could support my child. While in high school, I completed my certificate to become a CNA. I worked as a CNA for years then I started courses at Kaplan University for a degree as a Medical Assistant. After graduating I accepted a position at an OB/GYN clinic while working there I held two roles including laboratory lead and medical assistant for one provider.
During those roles I knew I wanted to do more. Five years later I went back to Kaplan University completing my RN degree. Nursing school was one of the hardest periods of my life juggling school, work, and our three children – but I got through!”
Sy has continued building and expanding her careers in recent years.
“Now I hold two positions as a Registered Nurse ED nurse at a local hospital and in a Surgery Office. Within the past two years I successfully started my own business called Melanin Laced. I used my knowledge as a nurse and personal herbal studies to create all-natural hair care products.”
With so many continual achievements, we had to ask Sy what helps to motivate her to keep going.
“Many areas of my life are motivation. Waking up and looking at my family is my biggest motivation. What I do in life is a great motivator as well. As a nurse, I know I am making a difference in the patient’s life and their families – prolonging life. As a young entrepreneur in hair care, it motivates me to hear my customers tell me, “My hair is growing back!” As women our hair is our crown when we look good, we feel good about ourselves, it brings out confidence, I love that I’m making a difference in someone’s life.”
Making a difference in the lives of others, striving for greatness, and being a positive influence is something Sy learned from her role model growing up, and still to this day, her Great-Grandmother Ruby.
“She spoke life and encouragement into my life every time I saw her. She spoke of wisdom and love, words I would never forget. She told me to always challenge myself to strive for greatness and never give up. She will always be my role model. Words I live by: ‘get an education/degree because no one can ever take that away from you’”.
In addition to all the roles Sy holds, she is also committed to being an active community member and supporting local efforts.
“Supporting organizations like the YWRC is important in promoting community well-being, empowering young women, and fostering positive social change. Community involvement can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.”
Sy’s advice for youth today:
“Embrace curiosity, cultivate resilience, and prioritize continuous learning. Your journey is a process of growth, so stay open-minded, learn from setbacks, and believe in your ability to adapt and succeed.”
Thank you, Sy, for sharing your story with us! You are a true role model for the girls and young women we serve. We count ourselves very fortunate to have reconnected and have you as part of our community!