Rosalynn Fliggins, a 1998 graduate from Westover Comprehensive High School, says that it's an honor to go to work each day.
As the associate executive director for Open Arms, Fliggins gets to help young people who find themselves homeless, precariously housed, or living in situations that are harsh.
Open Arms is an organization that I have been employed with for over 15 years, and because of what we do for abused and homeless youth, it is an honor to go to work every day, knowing that what I do truly matters. I have worked in almost every capacity in the organization, from advocate to forensic interviewer, and now, I am the Associate Executive Director," she says.
In that role, she works day in and day out to help find funding to support her organization's mission and purpose, which is ultimately to help Albany and Dougherty County's youth.
"It is my job to make sure that funds are secure so that we can keep fighting child abuse, neglect, and homelessness. I have been blessed to be able to secure millions of dollars for this community. Many people think it is because of my own skills, but it really is because of the amazing staff, volunteers, board members, and stakeholders that work tirelessly and effectively to prove that we are truly fighting these issues in our community. I am blessed to be a part of such an amazing team, and if I had my way, they would be the nominees. Nonetheless, I am thankful that someone thought so much of me," she said.
While in the DCSS, Fliggins said that it was the work of one teacher who helped keep her focused on her goals even after she unexpectedly got pregnant.
"Mrs. Rebecca Flanigan was my most influential teacher. After I got pregnant in high school, she made sure that I did not lose sight of my goals. I was in the top tenth percentile of my class, Student Body President; but after I got pregnant, it meant nothing to a lot of people that I looked to as mentors. I thought I would have to change my plans for my life completely, but Mrs. Flanigan was not having it. She made sure I enrolled in college, and even submitted some of the essays I wrote in her English class for scholarships. She never looked at me as another statistic; she saw me for who I was, not my circumstance. With her inspiration, encouragement, and dedication, I started at Darton in the Fall Semester after graduating. Because she cared for me as a student and a person, I succeeded and made it a mission to make sure that her investment in me yielded returns. When I didn't even believe in me, she did and so even when I wanted to give up, I didn't because I knew I owed her for all she did for me. I thanked her years later in word and in deed, and her influence and love will forever be etched into my heart."
As for advice for current students, Fliggins urges them to remain undeterred no matter what life gives them.
"Do not let anyone or anything stop you from reaching the goals you have set for yourself. Your past does not have to define your future, but try to live your life everyday with a future-oriented focus. Think about what you do and say and ask yourself does this have the potential to hurt or help you; then act accordingly. Take the limits off of yourself and do not ever put God in a box. The world is yours, and you can do ANYTHING! Love your parents and/or those who have your best interest at heart. Realize that they are human and may make mistakes, but your well-being is at the core of their actions. Work hard and give your all in what you do. Pay everything forward. Remember those who help you on your way to success, and thank them in word and in deed."
If you know of a DCSS Alumnus who is doing great things for their community whether near or far, you can nominate them here: http://www.docoschools.org/apps/form/form.DOUCSS.qdjKneZ.1EF