A Bright Future
As a young girl, Doniqua Burton had aspirations to be a pediatrician. She always had a desire to help people.
But at the age of 16, Doniqua was the one who needed help. Doniqua found herself with a one year-old, a baby on the way and little hope for her future after dropping out of high school in the 10th grade.
“I didn’t feel like high school was a good fit for me, but I was having so many problems and getting into so much trouble – there weren’t many places for me to go so I dropped out,” Doniqua said.
Doniqua quickly learned that her opportunities were very limited without a high school diploma in hand. In 2017, she took the steps to earn a GED and subsequently opened up a door of opportunity with PowerCorps Camden.Despite having a brother involved with PowerCorps, Doniqua knew very little about the program.
“I thought it was a program where people picked up trash around the city and got paid for it”, Doniqua said.
What she knew was that she was in need of life and leadership skills and believed PowerCorps Camden was a good place to start. She was correct.
“It was one of the best decisions I could have made,” Doniqua shared.
Armed with a desire to create a better life for her and her children, Doniqua committed her time and talents to PowerCorps.
“PowerCorps kept me busy from 8am to 4pm and changed my life,” Doniqua said. “It turned my idle time into time I could make a difference in the community and help people.”
Over the course of three cohorts and equipped with a host of leadership skills acquired during the program, Doniqua has moved through the ranks from a member to an Associate Crew Leader. During her participation in the program, Doniqua has learned about green infrastructure, storm water management, and the effects illegal dumping has on the city that she calls home.
On a personal level, she has learned the importance of maintaining a good attitude, individual accountability and the impact of being part of an extended family.
Doniqua believes that you get out of PowerCorps what you put into it. She credits the program for motivating her to think beyond her obstacles and seize opportunities for success. Thanks to the support and resources available to her through Center For Family Services, Doniqua has received her driver’s license, and purchased a car as well as her own home. She is planning to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree at Liberty University in the fall.
“PowerCorps has shown me that there is life beyond the streets and that there are opportunities to better your life,” said Doniqua.
While Doniqua is excited about the next steps in her journey, she knows it won’t be easy. She now has three children - ages four, two and one – as well as a job and school on the horizon, which is a lot to manage personally and professionally. As a member of PowerCorps, she continues to access supports and resources available to her.
“I am not sure how I will manage being a full-time mother, full-time student and working full-time, but I am willing to give it a try,” Doniqua said.
“PowerCorps has given me a lot. I want to give back and I want to help people like this program has helped me. I believe a degree in social work will help me to do that.”