Imagine being asked to describe yourself in one word. Could you do it easily or would it be tough to find the right word to sum up your life? For DeAngelic, an UpTogether member living in Dallas, Texas, that question quickly landed on one answer: Overcomer.
“I am an overcomer. I have endured through all the things that I’ve been through. Somehow, I’m always prospering.”
DeAngelic is actually a Detroit, Michigan, native but moved to Texas eight years ago to pursue a communications degree from Paul Quinn College. While the focus was on academics, her first few years in Dallas were emotionally turbulent.
“I lost both of my parents while I was in undergrad. Two years apart I lost them,” she shared.
DeAngelic persevered through the pain, completing her degree in 2019, and closing the chapter on a challenging stretch in her life.
“I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression a couple of years ago in undergrad. Since then it has been a consistent journey of being in a healing place, working out, getting healthy.”
DeAngelic revealed that she often writes her thoughts down as a way to maintain balance in her life.
“I started writing at [age] 12. My first poem was published at age 13. I write about whatever I’m feeling. I write letters of gratitude. I write manifestations. I write when I’m sad or if I’m having a happy moment.”
She credited her ability to stay happy and reach her graduation day to the community around her—a group of close-knit friends whom she fondly refers to as family.
“I think that’s kind of what keeps me here. Sometimes I wonder why I’m still here [in Dallas] but when I ever think about leaving I don’t ever think about going back home to Michigan,” she admitted.
After college, DeAngelic jumped right into the Dallas community, gaining employment as a lead teacher with various after-school organizations.
“I loved working with youth, but that’s not my end goal. I haven’t been able to afford a decent living or been able to have a stable living. So, I’m always working more than one job,” she said before revealing that safety concerns at the start of the pandemic made her leave her teaching job—a decision that immediately put her in a financial bind. “I bring home $300-$400 every two weeks. My rent is $800. I don’t have a vehicle, but I spend money on gas for people to take me places.”
A sorority sister of hers knew about DeAngelic’s circumstances and shared information about the UpTogether platform. Before long, she was connected to a fund available in her area.
“Getting the funding has been such a great help,” she said.
“I was surprised - this is a free $250! l get to utilize it for something that is a need, which is a roof over my head. It means a lot to me. To get out of a bind with extra money I don’t have to pay back. Who would not want that?”
DeAngelic has a college degree, lived experience as a teacher, and a ton of pride. She also has a story that disproves the assumptions people make about what having a higher education guarantees. For her, being resourceful and receiving unrestricted investments has made a lot more impact than her graduation cap.
“Reaching out for help with rent from friends and family, who believe since you have a college degree, you’re supposed to attain a certain amount of money now that you have that degree, is an automatic stigma,” she added. “It can be discouraging. But somehow, I always make it. God is always finding a resource for me.”