Sweetbay Supermarket, 805 E Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tampa, FL 33603, hosted a Black History Festival for the community. There was free food, games, entertainment, exibitors, and vendors. This event was free for the community. I have to say thanks you to all the supporters who made this event suc...cessful. Children With A Vision, Inc. will always play its roll in supporting community efforts.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I want to start off thanking everyone who came out for the BBQ for Haiti @ the H.O.P.E. Center. With the Partnership of Children With A Vision, Inc., and volunteers. In the bad cold and rainy condition, the total raised to send to Haiti, off of the dinner sales was $1,450.00. What a excellent turnout due to the condition. Thumbs up to the FB family, you came out in numbers. Thank you so much everyone!!!!
Bio of Mrs. Tonya M. Lewis
As a child, I grew up in Miami with my brother and single mother. At a young age I watch my mother going through a lot of trials with my abusive father. I watched my father throw hot grease on my mother. My brother and I were separated from our mother for six months in a foster home, where people treated you like you were nothing. My mother made some wrong choices in life, but she raised us as best as she could.
I was molested at the ages of five and seven. I asked God why me? At such a young age, I had a lot of responsibilities, more than the average child should have had to worry about. I felt as if the world was on my shoulders. I did not have the chance to be a child.
I was pregnant at the age of thirteen, looking for love in all the wrong places. I gave birth to a still born little girl, name Tonya Maria Tillman. It bothered me, but God knows best.
I left home at the age of fourteen, and lived in many places that were not safe. Imagine being exposed to a world full of surprises. Such as getting caught up in the world of selling drugs at a young age in order to survive. Eventually that world caught up with me and I served sixty days in Yulee, Florida canoeing on the Suwannee River. Boy what an experience! It kept me out of trouble for a short time.
After going through these things, I should have learned. Later in life meeting a young man and became pregnant again at the age of seventeen. And going through emergency surgery losing yet again another child. Again, I asked God why and how much more?
Going out into the world again, this time I met a gentlemen by the of name Mr. Oliver Wendell Lewis whom I later married. But once again tragedy, my husband was an innocent bystander and was killed by a stray bullet. If I had have ever felt like the world ended at that point, I thought mine did. Still the pain is unbearable today.
At the age of twenty, I was going through many obstacles in my life. I was placed in prison for eighteen months. At that time, prison was a joke because they had movies, games, and all kind of things to pass the time away. I was released from prison and met another young man whom had a lot of money, and took me all around different places. Only to find out that he was into a drug lifestyle. The unlimited money captured my attention at such a young age. You know the lavish life. Again I got caught up in the system at the age of twenty-two, only this time it was against me. The prosecution tried to sentence me to thirty-three years, not because of the crime which I was accused of, but for the information they wanted. I would rather have did time to provide them with some dangerous information that would have cost me my life.
Prison, again. This is where it stops, I was tired! I was sentenced to seven years prison, followed by twelve years probation. Going in circles again. My life was just revolved around problems, circumstances, and choices.
Doing prison time, was not in vain this time. I enrolled myself in school, achieved a couple of certificates in vocational classes: small engine repair, cosmetology, substance abuse 1 & 2, professional cooking and calligraphy class. God opened my eyes this time, and made it work for me. I graduated, and successfully received my G.E.D.
I went through a lot upon returning home, because society rejects a convicted felon. With all the education and experience, I was subject to working at a Dunkin Donuts and Eldorado Grand Prix Car Wash. I worked at both jobs for six months, generating $300 per week.
I knew it had to be something better than that. In 1995 started mowing yards with my ex-finance. Things did not work out, I went downtown, and obtained my business license for Lewis Lawn Care, Inc.
Just when I thought things were going well with my lawn service. In 1996, I was the victim of first degree attempted murder. I was stabbed twenty one times in my sleep, by a fifteen year old name Chaquail Lewis, my in-law, whom I was raising. She received ten years in Florida State prison. Everyone deserves a chance. At least I thought. At that point in my life. In addition to this my Ex-fiancé was killed in a motorcycle accident. I really asked God why me? I knew somewhere in my life I needed to change something. So I asked God to guide my life from that point. I purchased a house at the age of twenty five. And things were hard, because being an African American woman in a predominately male industry was slim. But I succeeded. Eleven years. Thank God. Well in 2004, I completed twelve years probation. Thank God for his grace and mercy. Such a very hard road to travel. Thanks to God, he allowed me to make it, when they said “I wouldn’t make it”.
But I just did not want to stop there. I wanted to contribute back to the community, and kids. So I formed a foundation, which is called Children With a Vision, Inc... It holds so many different titles. One is a networking between business owners, community gatherings, and most of all school supplies for the kids. And most of all mentoring the youth on life skills, consequences, and choices in life. And the most important thing of all I have my rights back to VOTE. Now I mean something in today’s society. I have a voice.
I was once a Child With a Vision, and along the way people didn’t give up on me. So if I can help your child and many others, then God utilized me the way he intended. By the grace and mercy of God, learning from my mistakes has made me into the prosperous woman that I am today.
I just wanted to say “thank you” for the people who’ve been in my life for a season through my trials and tribulations, most of all my Success.
I’m also a “Child With a Vision”
Friday, February 5, 2010
Tampa Housing Authority had a graduation ceremony for the adults who completed Introduction to Computer A+ Certification. Great ceremony, and I'm glad Children With A Vision, Inc. was apart of a nice event.It is wonderful for adults to go back and improve themselves for technology. It will help them. I'm so proud of these adults for their accomplishment. God Bless them on their next journey.