Soledad O’Brien, broadcast journalist and executive producer, hosted her 4th Annual PowHERful Summit, an action packed day of empowerment for high school students. The summit is part of the Starfish Foundation, a foundations set to provide young women in unprivileged communities the resources they need to succeed. Focusing on educational, professional and personal development, the summit sparks inspiration in the minds and hearts of young female students throughout New York City. This year O’Brien was joined together with key speaker, Dominican actress Dascha Polanco.
Inspiring even her own peers with her “Here’s How: True Grit” speech, Polanco talked about her struggles attending college as a young Latina mother while trying to provide for her family.
“My credentials say I have grit,” @DashaPolanco keeps it real at @SoledadFdn‘s #PowHERul2016.
— Nicole Acevedo (@Nicolemarie_A) July 23, 2016
Grit indeed. Polanco went on to describe what her experience was like trying to balance school and work as a young mother, including taking her daughter with her to her night shifts in order to make ends meat. However, her story is one of triumph, successfully graduating from Hunter’s college with a bachelors degree in Psychology.
Looking into a crowd of about 300 young women, she held nothing back when speaking of her struggles with her body image and what it was like being body shamed by her very own family and “friends.”
“All of my struggles have made me who I am and have proven to me that focus, drive and ambition can get you anywhere in life,” she shared. “You are your only competition. Forget those you see on Instagram, Facebook an Snapchat – you are your own star.” And a star is what she is. Today, Polanco is the shining star of Netflix’s biggest hit show Orange is the New Black (OITNB) and the romantic comedy film, The Perfect Match.
Congrats to all of the scholars who hustled no matter the situation! @soledadfdn and to @soledadobrien for all of the work she does. Let’s unite to uplift our youth. #PowHERFul
A photo posted by SHEISDASH (@sheisdash) on
Young powHERful girls were so inspired by Polanco’s speech, that they took to Twitter to thank the actress for her words.
My experience at #PowHERful2016 was amazing and super inspiring! I got to meet one of my idols @DashaPolanco pic.twitter.com/YJFYv08nT0
— Princess in Purple (@KnightOfHeartsP) July 24, 2016
.@DashaPolanco from @OITNB is so sexy and inspiring here at @google and she’s wearing grills #PowHERful2016 pic.twitter.com/NIW5wSdv5Q
— arlynn (@ArlynnRose1) July 23, 2016
Words can not express how much I appreciated @SheIsDash coming to talk to us today. She was so inspiring💕😇 #PowHERful2016
— Sydney Sheppard (@sydneyysheppard) July 23, 2016
For upcoming PowHERful™ summits click here.