Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenisha E. Anthony.
Kenisha E., can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
There are many underlying causes that led me to this call of action. I’ll start here; At the age of four, I was removed from the care and custody of my parents and placed into the foster care system. Both my mother and father suffered from drug addiction and were deemed unfit to care for me. We were not able to be reunified and I never returned home.
As a child, I experienced a great deal of abuse, abandonment and neglect. I went from caregiver to caregiver for 13 years. I fell through the cracks of a broken system. At some point of my life the system didn’t have eyes on me subjecting me to further trauma. But when they did, every month, an assigned case manager monitored my well-being, and every six months, a judge did the same. Still, I had not been taught the necessary skills to thrive as a self-sufficient adult. When I turned 18, I aged out of the system and was released from supervision by the state. At that time of my life, I was frustrated, hopeless and without guidance, stability or resources. I was left to fend for myself with little to no income.
I had a rough start at adulthood, but trial and error and the power of self-perseverance ultimately saved me. As a child, I experienced things that I do not believe no child should have to endure. I didn’t have a strong support system within my biological family and was placed into a system that was designed to protect children but was ultimately failing us. They failed me. It is my social responsibility to bring their short-comings to the light, educate others about how they can get involved and the benefits of utilizing community resources and inspire the youth and young adults to live their best life despite obstacles.
College was my Road to Independence, but as a college student, I was on my own. Most college students have the support of their parents; however, that was not my reality with no one to depend on, not even the State of Florida. Through research, networking and building relationships, I found mentors who were more than willing to support me. I discovered helpful organizations and scholarships. With the guidance of mentors and resources under my belt, I went on to earn an Associate in Arts from Miami Dade College, a Bachelor of Social Work from Florida State University and a Master of Public Administration from Florida International University.
With my lived experiences and degrees, I was able to pursue a career in social work focusing on child welfare, law and policies. My idea was to be on the inside and be a catalyst for change in the foster care system. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I earned a position as a Dependency Case Manager. While earning my master’s degree, I interned for Broward County in the Homeless Initiative Partnership section focusing on contracts for homelessness and affordable housing. The more experience I gained in my career, I learned there was more I could do and wanted to do to contribute to the betterment of my community.
Today, I am an author, advocate, child welfare professional and philanthropist. My goal is to inspire, educate and advocate on behalf of children and families. Furthermore, to help alleviate barriers by providing resources through scholarships to individuals facing socio-economic hardships.
Has it been a smooth road?
My journey has not been a smooth road, but I am optimistic. There was a time when I didn’t know that resources existed. I was told by my assigned Independent Living Coordinator that I did not qualify for available resources. As a result, I made mistake after mistake trying to take care of myself.
I was eager to join the social work field. I knew the challenges that came with the job, but I didn’t fully understand them until I was in the thick of it. After two years, eight months and ten days on the frontline, I resigned. Being a social worker was challenging and overwhelming. There were times I felt more could be done to help children and families versus hindering them; however, due to laws and policies as a professional, I was unable to act. I grew to be frustrated working under someone else’s mission that didn’t always align with my morals. Lastly, the demands of the job were causing me to neglect my health. I wouldn’t be able to help anyone if I was dead. So, I was forced to return to the drawing board to find how I can be most effective.
On a personal level, along the way, I faced depression; the effects of being abused, neglected, abandoned led to me having suicidal ideations. And, the effects of poverty and being incarcerated several times in my life were additional stressors. I am a parentless child, both of my parents are deceased. We were never able to have a healthy relationship. Although people tell me that my parents loved me, I’ll never experience their love to know for myself.
My business is triggering as my childhood traumas are at the forefront of it. In a way, talking about it is therapeutic for me outside of my weekly therapy session; however, it’s still challenging. I have learned new things about the past and other things continue to arise as I continue on this path. My focus is to invest in my mental health. I practice self-care and am always open to learning new coping skills to stay healthy. This is my life.
Please tell us about State of the Muse.
State of the Muse is a company educating, inspiring and empowering others through ideas, thoughts and actions. I am known for being resilient and bold. I am not afraid to challenge the status quo. I specialize in writing, speaking, consulting and educating youth, young adults and the community.
I am most proud of my growing scholarship fund. Also, the publication of my book, Labeled: Ward of the State which is more than a memoir. It is a social awareness tool for anyone who’s faced adversity, beat the odds and refused to be labeled. I am not just a bookseller. I am an advocate with lived experiences and the unique perspective of a child once in foster care, advocate and a child welfare professional who seeks to impact lives and systematic change.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Miami is a great market for philanthropists, advocates and authors. If interested, I would suggest to first educate yourself about the social issue which you are passionate about to understand how you can be most effective and then get involved. It’s lots to do here! For an author, we have the Miami Book Fair which is a huge annual event and great for networking. Furthermore, the public library system is a reliable resource.
- Labeled: Ward of the State (Hardcover) – $26.00
- Labeled: Ward of the State (Ebook) – $9.99
- Labeled Tee – $30.00
- Address: 6625 Miami Lakes Dr. STE 411 Miami Lakes, FL 33014
- Website: www.kenishaanthony.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aboutkenisha/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/aboutkenisha
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/aboutlabeled/
Kristen Stubbs, Joyanne Panton