Essay Contest



Our 2013 Essay Winner

(L-R): Jamilah Sims and first lady of Faithful Central Bible Church Togetta Ulmer

Wells Fargo VP Tara Dekine, 16th Annual First Ladies High Tea essay contest winner Jamilah Sims & First Lady Togetta Ulmer at the tea.

Winning Essay Excerpt


The statistics could be scary. I should not be on track to have a prosperous, successful and joyous life. After all, I am a foster child, I am a “child with a child”, I am the child of a recovering substance abuser, and I am a child being educated in a school district with issues.

But I am not afraid, because I am also a child of the living God. And my Father wants the best for me. What choices am I making to insure a good future for myself and my child? I choose to listen, to believe, and to work.

I choose to listen, for the voice of God. Sometimes it will come in the instructions and counsel of the caring grown-ups in my life, my guardians, my mentor or my pastor’s words on Sunday morning.  Sometimes I hear it in the breathing of my son when I hold him quietly. I do not have to be perfect to hear the voice of God, but I must listen. Isaiah 30:21 tells us….”and if you leave God’s path and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, ‘No, this is the way; walk here.’

I choose to believe. I believe God’s promises. There are many places in the bible where He tells us what he will do for his children.  Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite of many people. I like that one too. But now that I have a child I like the ones that say that my son will be happy also. I am pleased that my son is growing up in church. Proverbs 22:6 tells us “Teach a child the right path and when he is older he will remain upon it”.

I choose to work to make the effort to be successful. I go to Proverbs again, chapter 28, verse 19: “Hard work brings prosperity; playing around brings poverty”. I must do well at school for now, and later in whatever career path I choose. As a single parent I face additional challenges. But I trust God.

I am not afraid of the future. I may make missteps but one version of Psalms 73: 23-24 says “But even so you (God) love me!….You will keep on guiding me all my life with your wisdom and counsel…”.  That is why I choose to listen, believe and work.

(Jamilah Sims is 17year old. She is a senior at Washington Preparatory High School. Her GPA is 3.11. She was born in Los Angeles.  Jamilah attends Lincoln Memorial United Church of Christ. She will continue her education after high school.)

Want to read more about Jamilah Sims’ story? Check out the full story at L.A. Focus Newspaper here.

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