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“You can't control where you are born, but you can control where you go and who you become”

My name is Edna Aurelus. I was born and raised in Haiti, an impoverished country where misery can be seen daily in multiple young faces. However, to me, succumbing to that was not an option. Growing up in Haiti, I resented poverty; in my mind I think big, very big even when I did not know what big was. I knew that what I wanted to be was not what I was seeing around me. 

 I would always asked my mother, why do we lack some basic necessities such as a fridge and a stove in the house, and her answer would be, “it’s not our time yet”. In my concrete mind, I could not wait for that time to come. I wanted to have it all if it was made for me as a human being to have it all, whatever what “it” was, I wanted it. I would watch TV and saw how the kids in the US and in France were living, why can’t I be like this, I would ask myself. I was determined to change my life, and as young as I was, I knew the road to my success was through education. I excelled in school, not knowing where I would end up, but kept on studying and excelling. 

In December 1996, I was given the opportunity to come to the United States of America, “the land of opportunities”, where I would focus on my education and continue to thrive academically. I chose a career in healthcare and became a registered nurse in 2005, shortly after; I furthered my career as a Family Nurse Practitioner in December 2008. Then in May 2014 I earned my Doctorate in Nursing Practice. I never said that it was a smooth road, there were many bumps along the way, but I never stayed down, I regained momentum and stayed focus through my faith in the almighty God. 

I firmly believe that there are many brilliant young women just like myself that have the hunger to learn but lack the access to attain it. Therefore, the idea of EVS Smile Foundation came to mind shortly after I graduated with my Doctorate. I decided to go back to my childhood hometown to reach out for young girls and promote self-esteem, self-respect and self-acceptance through education and social event such as sport. 

I started a soccer program where 83 girls registered to participate. They were very enthusiastic and dedicated. They showed up for practice even when it was raining. Their dedication makes me realize that I should not stop working for them. I will not stop because when you educate or change one girl’s life you educate and change a village, this is WHY I do what I do. 

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