2nd Annual AUM Foundation Fundraiser
The Bollywood comes to Burritt fundraiser was held Thursday, October 3, 2019 at Burritt on the Mountain. It was an exciting evening of Bollywood fun with music, dinner, and dancing. Guests immersed themselves in the smells, tastes, and music of India while overlooking the city lights.
Our primary funding comes from our annual benefit. All net funds will go directly to cover program incurred costs. Donations made will help us to continue making a difference in the lives of deserving young women.
Mr. Frank Williams of FJW Enterprises invited our students to share their stories of how they’re rewriting their family legacy and LaSonya Spears was the lucky student who won the contest!
It takes awesome people in our community like Mr. Williams to make such great things happen!
Here is LaSonya’s story:
November 14, 2016 my mom came home and said she had a surprise for me and my sister. We waited patiently together. We then heard a knock on the door, and in came a woman with a tiny chihuahua mixed puppy. We watched as he ran around becoming familiarized with what would become home to him. We decided to name him Tubby due to his chubbiness, but we changed it to Toby once his baby fat wore away. I was on first watch that night and was tired, so I decided to take a nap but was soon awakened to the yelling of my mom asking where he was. We spent all night looking for him only to find him asleep under the bed. From that first day, I knew we had a new family member – a silly member who runs into walls, sneaks into bed with you, and doesn’t let his size stop him. I’ll never forget the day when Toby ran outside and saw a dog that had to be five times his size but straightened all seven inches of his body and let out a giant size bark against all odds. Even though I don’t have Toby in my family right now, his dogged, tenacious spirit still inspires me.
My name is Lasonya Spears, I am currently a Senior at New Century Technology High School and like my dog I’ve had to face some really big challenges, but despite my odds, I still have a strong passion for my community. Not only have I volunteer for the Alzheimer’s walk and Special Olympics, I also tutor and have raised funds for the Boys and Girls Club. I do these things because I want to help people. Interacting with other volunteers and participants has taught me compassion and reshaped my perception of altruism.
My activities have taught me ways to show compassion, but my life has taught me the need for compassion. I was raised by a single mother who worked hard to provide for me and my siblings day and night. Due to our circumstances, we never stayed in one place for long. In fact, the longest we’ve stayed in a home was three years just when we were getting settled, we had to move because we couldn’t pay the rent. I was twelve years old. Three years and two houses later, just as I was starting high school, I started to notice my mother stay home and sleep more. Our lights were turned off as we started to struggle to pay bills. There was less food in the fridge, and my mom had her car repossessed. It wasn’t until my mom walked out of her room and fell to the floor that I realized something more drastic than usual was truly wrong. For the first time in my life my mom wasn’t moving. She lay as still as could be. The doctor diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis and determined that she couldn’t work again. Summer came, and we were evicted from our home. In just a few seconds we became homeless. We had to give up everything even our dog, Toby. He wasn’t the smartest dog, but he was courageous and I loved him, and just like that we had to give him away. But I haven’t forgotten him. I haven’t forgotten his courage.
We now live in an emergency placement home, and as every day passes my mom continues to work hard because nothing stops her from doing everything, she can for us. Like Toby she has a dogged spirit and she’s passed it on to me. My mother always tells me to work hard because in the end it’ll pay off. So, I continue to work hard and give everything my all not only for myself but to make my mom proud. I started with JROTC and worked my way up to the Battalion Commander. I joined HOSA-future health professionals and was elected as Alabama’s 1st vice President/Secretary for HOSA in this capacity, I was given opportunity to speak to Alabama students. I chose to tell my story hoping it would encourage students who were facing difficult situations, I wanted to show them by explain how important it is to stand tall.
Through both JROTC and HOSA I’m able to keep developing myself as a human being and as a leader. I strongly believe that what you go through in life does not define you, you define yourself, which is why I work hard each day to ensure that I am defining my purpose in life. After high school, I will be the first in my family to not only go to college, but finish. I do come from a low-income family, but I will stop the generational poverty by continuing to strive to ensure my commitment to not only my family but to myself is kept, the commit to graduate high school and continue my education at college. I want my family legacy to be one of overcoming all obstacles. I want it to be known that there were hard times, but through those hard times I stood up with the encouragement of those around me and made it through college and medical school. Courtney my mentor is one of those people; although she has just entered my life, she continues to encourage me and makes sure that I’m doing ok. She is an incredible person who is without a doubt someone I look up to. One day I hope to tell my story and be that person in someone else’s life. I want to be someone who encourages them to stand tall and keep going because in the end give up is not an option.
Sponsors have a valuable role in the AUM Fundraiser. With help from our supporters, we’ve been able to provide scholarships, computers, access to private ACT prep, career exploration opportunities, mentor support, enrichment classes, and college tours.
Moving forward, we want to make an even greater impact. In order to do so, we need the help and support of friends like you.
Thank you for your support!