My Life Makes A Difference: Angela’s Story
When we are young and have our whole lives ahead of us, we often have visions of what that life looks like. We imagine our careers, our relationships, our family life. We may dream about who we will marry, what we will become, places we will travel, lives we will touch. But what happens when things don’t go the way we planned?
A Utah native, Angela grew up in a religious community that was heavily focused on marriage and family. As a young girl, Angela assumed she would follow the traditional route of getting married and having children. She envisioned herself as a stay-at-home mom and taking care of her children while her husband worked a traditional 9-5pm job. During her teenage years, she took Home Economics classes at school and spent nights at youth group making quiet books and quilts for her future home and children. In Angela’s young mind, becoming a wife and mother was the number one goal of her life. But she always felt like she could do more. She chose to serve a mission for her church when mostly boys went. Few girls went at that time. She remembers being asked in a group setting of boys and girls if anyone in the room wanted to serve a mission. She felt like an exception because she was one of the few girls who raised her hand. She had a desire to try new things.
After high school, Angela went on to pursue a higher education. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in 1998, she took a job as a Program Manager for a The Boys and Girls club of Greater Salt Lake. She then worked full time and earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling which then took her to the San Francisco area where she currently lives. With her psychology and educational counseling background, she’s taught men, women and children of all ages a variety of topics; from substance abuse, to English, to religion, to disaster preparedness, to Yoga…she has a passion for sharing her knowledge and helping others along the way.
Her Amazing Life.
Angela currently runs a small nonprofit, Given Tree, teaches yoga at Stanford and is involved with so many good causes and fulfilling adventures!
Angela has a genuine love and compassion for people, with a belief that every single life makes a difference. With her heart of gold, Angela has involved herself in humanitarian work, leading expeditions to Africa and third world countries. While abroad, she led programs educating people on AIDS prevention. She has seen, firsthand, the devastating effects of this horrible disease and uses her skills and experience to help make a difference in battling this epidemic and so many other problems relating to poverty and inequality.
She became so passionate about charity work that she made the decision to start her own non-profit, Given Tree in 2010. Through her non-profit, they certify small charities around the world and help them improve. She has also been able to partner with other charities, making a big impact in small village communities by doing things such as building community centers and health clinics. The result of this work has provided care for thousands of people in need.
Angela leads a very fulfilling, inspiring life.
It is much different than the vision she had for herself when she was a young girl. She has not yet married or had children, which sets her apart from many other members of her faith. Living in a culture that focuses so largely on marriage and family has been a bit of a struggle for Angela over the years. It is hard for one who fits into the cultural mold to understand the emotional struggles that one in Angela’s shoes may go through. The questions and comments that sometimes arise, even when well-intended, can be hurtful. There are moments of pain and loneliness; moments of disappointment but above all she knows she is living the life meant for her. And she’s living it the fullest!
Angela once had a dream:
It was a setting where whites felt superior over blacks. A white kid kicked over a chair that a black man was sitting in. He reveled in what he did. Angela walked over to the white kid, took him by the arm, walked him over to the black man and held out her hand to him to say hello. The entire group of whites were irate. When she walked back over to the group of whites, they told her that she was in trouble, that she just needed to wait until her husband got home and then she’d get it. She walked away from them, telling them she was single. At that moment, it was as if she could read their thoughts. They all stood there, frozen, and couldn’t do anything. They couldn’t touch her. They couldn’t retaliate and hurt her spouse or her children because she had neither. Her spouse wouldn’t tell her to change what she did; she didn’t have one. And above all, she knew she was in a position to do what she needed to do and wanted you do because of her singleness. She walked away knowing they could do nothing.
The dream ended there; with Angela walking away. When she awoke, she felt that she could accomplish things in this life being single that she couldn’t if she were married. Or, rather, that it was a lot easier to do certain things being single. She had the ability to make a difference in this life on a different level than she could if she were raising a family.
Some people may consider the absence of a husband or children to be a lemon in life. What Angela has learned is that everyone has a different path to travel. She has made deep lasting friendships with men and women in a way she couldn’t being married. Angela says there’s a bond between those who go through life single and the struggles they have and how they can empathize with others on a very different level. It’s become a huge blessing in her life.
No matter the path we each are on, our lives can, and do, make a difference. Angela has taken that lemon, and made lemonade. She has learned to draw upon her inner strength and do things that she probably wouldn’t have done were she married or raising children; from simple things like taking care of her finances or fixing her car, to extraordinary things, such as traveling the world!
Through her experiences, Angela has been able to support and uplift other women struggling with the challenges and other life circumstances that are not in the vision one has for themselves. She helps to empower women; to give them confidence that they can do anything they set their minds to; that they do not have to depend on other people to get a job done. She understands the value of friendships and hold them close to her heart, always lending a listening ear and support when she can.
Angela has learned what many of us spend a lifetime striving to learn; to find joy in every moment. She has learned to rise to challenges and embrace each new day. Angela writes a blog, sharing her life experiences and giving encouragement to her readers, to let them know that their life does, indeed, make a difference. Truly, her path in life was inspired. She has touched countless lives through her positivity and selflessness.
Places you can find Angela: