2016 Regions Riding Forward® Scholarship Essay Contest Winning Essay by Alyssa R. / Indianapolis, IN

2016 Regions Riding Forward® Scholarship Essay Contest Winning Essay by Alyssa R. / Indianapolis, IN
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Inspiration comes in many forms. It makes many sounds, walks in varying strides, and radiates many colors. It shouts as an overcoming hero from the pages of acclaimed novels and broadcasts its bravery in black and white across headlines. It’s the silent, unseen giver and the brave, resilient soul searcher. Inspiration hides in the black of the deepest oceans, echoes in the chirps of birds, and glistens on the wet rocks along a river bend. It lives far away in stories, foreign lands, and in the imagination hovering over our consciousness. It is as close as your next breath, travels with you on your morning commute, and resonates in the laughter of your dearest loved ones. Inspiration lives all around us; we simply must be willing to look for it. I have searched, and continue to find swells of it in the every day life of my dear friend, Monique Moss.

Monique is as a modern-day heroine should be: a breaker of boundaries. She seeks out life’s best, regardless of what the world says, and refuses to do what’s expected. After receiving a full-ride scholarship to pursue her passion of basketball at the collegiate level, she decided there was something better for her life; something with greater impact and a longer shelf life than merely playing a game for the world to watch. She let go of her parent’s dream, the American dream, in pursuit of her own. Instead of finding her spot in the limelight running down a basketball court, she found herself volunteering on the streets of New York City, handing out meals to hungry families, shooting the breeze with the desolate, and giving herself to serve others left behind in the shattered remains of hurricane Sandy. She spent that entire year in servitude to the broken souls of the boroughs. Years later, she can still describe their faces and name them. She exchanged her love of the game for the love of people, the kind of love that shatters all divisions among us.

I hear her now in my car on the local UIndy radio station- a radio personality in training. The University of Indianapolis presents her next ceiling to shatter. She knows the statistics. She knows the percentage of those who “make it big” in this industry. She knows very few of them are young African American women. Yet, there’s no shake in her voice, not an ounce of doubt. She speaks with the same joy, clarity, and confidence she possessed when she left for New York City. I listen to her warn of traffic on I-465 and smile because I know she is finally getting her limelight, that she is once again pursuing her dreams and not adhering to anyone else’s. She runs where she feels led, and is finding her voice despite the naysayers around her (and sometimes within her). I smile, thinking of all who hear her strong voice with me. I feel inspired, and turn up the radio.
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