Before abandoning her, Samaria's mother always told her she was worthless. She never met her father, and though her grandmother put a roof over her head, Samaria never felt loved or supported.
As a teenager, she entered the foster care system, struggled in school and thought she would never make anything of herself. Her life changed when she enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County's Inspire Within program, which pairs teens aging out of foster care with caring adult mentors.
Samaria was "matched" to Tausha, a Ph.D. and author. Though it took time to gain Samaria's trust, Tausha patiently allowed their friendship to grow. Tausha helped Samaria with homework and taught her about working hard for success. One night, Samaria was rushed to the emergency room after suffering an epileptic seizure. She called Tausha who arrived at 1 a.m. and stayed by her side. "That night, she became family," said Samaria.
Samaria is now 23 years old and visits with Tausha weekly. She attends college, has been employed at a law firm for three years and wants to pursue a law degree. Thanks to love and support from her Big Sister, Samaria is now mentoring an Inspire Within teen who reminds her of herself when she entered the program.