From poverty to proprietor

by Brenda Moss

Brenda Moss is a graduate of UMFS’ ‘Getting Ahead’ program, a community-based initiative that engages people who are living in poverty and provides inspiration and tools for success. Here is her story. 

I would like to tell you about a great program that literally changed my thinking. I know you thought I would have said change my life. I found out before you can change your life you must change the way you think. I started the Getting Ahead program in February of 2015. I saw the flyer posted at the public library. I had my expectations for the program either way. I just wanted to do something to get my mind out of the place it was in. My oldest son had been murdered in August of 2014. This tragedy caused me to look at where I was in life and where I wanted to be. I wasn’t looking for anyone to approve the changes I wanted to make. I just wanted to make sure that the changes were real and not just throwing caution to the wind. I’ve always been a person of great creativity, so entering the Getting Ahead program offered the option to think differently. The getting Ahead program provided an atmosphere to explore other options in life and decide where you wanted to be. It offers the option of thinking outside the box. You can have your cake and your life. I learned that the only thing that can stop you is you. Getting Ahead caused you to really think and make life changes. One of the exercises asked what we wanted our life to look like when we finished. We used mental models and pictures to illustrate our future story. I remember cutting out a nice chair. The chair represented that I would be at rest when I finished. At the time, I was working 12 hour shifts, going home, eat and go to sleep only to repeat the same routine the next day.

So, I made the decision to quit my job. Yes, I quit a job while others in the room wanted a job. This transition was made easy for me with the help of the very professional and caring facilitators. They made you feel like you could be superman and a phone booth wasn’t needed to change. Poverty is a word that has a negative connotation. Some see it as helpless, unworthy, poor and without hope. I’ve made it my mission to change the image of poverty. I took out a new canvas and I painted a new picture. I am Brenda Moss–the proud owner of “The Lunch Run”, “Wear the Word Tee shirts”, and “The Clippers Couponing Class”. I am the author of 2 books “Just Say the Word” and “Released to Love,” with a third book in publication. I am a stage play writer. The founder of The SWAG (The Shawn Moss Wellness and Growth) Foundation which was set up for families of tragedy. I am the founder of D.I.V.A.S. (Determined, Inspired, Victorious, Ambitious, Sisters a network that brings women together to empower each other.  I have had the awesome opportunity to speak to the community about this great program, declaring that “we may be down but we are not out”. I am a graduate of the Getting Ahead Class and I still benefit from the program. On any given day I can go by the office and still get the support and encouragement that I need from Jamesia Harrison–her commitment to your success never changes.

Please let me introduce myself.

I am Brenda Moss– a proud graduate of The Getting Ahead Initiative.

For more information about “Getting Ahead” watch the video below or visit our website here.

Getting Ahead: Education for all in Lynchburg VA from studio.UMFS on Vimeo.