I have had access to a microphone for many years. Any message I wanted to convey or issue I desired to discuss, I have had an attentive and available audience willing to hear my words. That is a blessing not afforded most people. Yet if we passed the microphone to most people, most moms, the stories of trials. lessons learned, and victories claimed would echo through the earth. One such story is that of Newark, New Jersey native, Christine Carter-Davis. She survived years abuse, neglect, and the loss of her parents and became a Sexy Mom who is a successful business owner and community advocate. Here is her story.
Denise: When a once challenged person emerges victorious, there were, undoubtedly, influential people and events that helped propel them to who they are today. Who or what influenced you?
Christine: Life greatly influenced me to be the person I am today. I was the daughter of teen parents ravaged by
drug addiction, prostitution and crime. Both my parents lost their battle with drugs and died from AIDS. After entering the foster system I endured years of neglect, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, homelessness, and academic failure. I was a little girl from the projects who was used as a drug mule at the age of 6, inept, and expected to fail. One day I decided I wanted more. I decided I wanted to beat the odds. I had dogged determination, graduated from high school, went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Norfolk State University with an undergraduate degree in Social Work, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and an extensive post-graduate education. “Life,” and a few divinely placed people, was my motivator. I had the choice to lie down and quit or fight like hell…I chose the latter…against all odds.
Denise: Tell me more about the challenges you have overcome.
Christine: I was parentless, abused, neglected, homeless and literally left for dead but my obstacles didn’t end there. I failed the High School Proficiency test, scored poorly on the SAT’s, and bathed in my high school’s bathroom. Although I beat those insurmountable odds, more obstacles remained. Starting a nonprofit agency without funding, resources, or support was daunting but I realized obstacles were my fuel for pressing onward to achieve my goals. The poem “Invictus” describes it best “my head was bloodied but unbowed.”
Denise: What keeps you motivated and staying on course to reach your goals today?
Christine: I am reminded every day the impact that my life’s mission has on others. To be empowered is to be reminded of that. I am extremely motivated to ensure that one child’s success is no longer the exception but the norm. That’s my personal mantra and that of Against All Odds Foundation.
Denise: Considering all your professional success, what’s one defining moment in your career?
Christine: The day I left my career and followed my dream of serving others— on my own terms.
Denise: Tell us about your agency.
Christine: Against All Odds Foundation was founded in 2004 and is a leading nonprofit multi-service agency whose mission is to provide essential educational & social service programs to at-risk children and families by empowering, equipping & educating the underserved. We are based in New Jersey and have served thousands of children & families through our innovative K-12 education division. The Against All Odds Academy offers free tutoring to children under the No Child Left Behind Act, while the Against All Odds- Family Success Center provides needed social services to families through our Newark based Community center.
Denise: What projects or activities do you have planned next?
Christine: I AM Against All Odds! Education Campaign is an aggressive multimedia
ad campaign that amplifies the mantra, ‘I Am Against All Odds!’- Inspiring children & families to beat the odds. Our 5-second PSAs showcase champions who have inarguably ‘beaten the odds,’ from celebrities to community leaders, entrepreneurs, public officials, clergy and more. They have boldly decided to take a stand and say “I Am AgainstAll Odds.”
Denise: What words do you have for others pressing to succeed?
Christine: People are often debilitated by fear. Fear is what hinders most people from pursuing their dreams and fulfilling their purpose. I would encourage those on the rise to embrace fear because “it’s a fighter’s best friend.” It keeps you sharp and makes you want to survive. The thing is you have to learn how to control it because fear is like a fire burning deep inside. If you control it, it’ll make you hot, but if it controls you, it will consume you.
Christine Carter-Davis runs the educational division of her agency from her office in the heart of downtown Newark, NJ. Her Family Success Center remains in the Seth Boyden projects of Newark – the same projects where she beat the odds. She is regularly featured as a motivational speaker and partners with many community organizations to further the vision and service. She believes that the success of one child should be the norm and not the exception. Learn more about the Against All Odds Foundation at www.AgainstAllOddsNJ.org.