Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. 50-something Norma Heath is proof of that.
Born in Honduras, Norma’s family moved to Boston when she was four years old.
“We moved to a Black neighborhood. And being from a different country, kids used to tease me, pick on me and beat me up,” confesses Norma. “I couldn’t speak proper english. I looked different. My hair was different. My clothing was different and kids used to pick on me.”
Four years later, the family moved to a new neighborhood.
“We moved to a white neighborhood and they didn’t accept me either,” Norma says. “That’s when the self-hatred began.”
At just 12-years-old Norma turned to drugs and alcohol. “My drug of choice was crack cocaine and marijuana. And everything that came with it: the lying, the stealing, the prostitution, I did it.”
She eventually found herself homeless.
Then trying to make ends meet, Norma got a job, but then was dealt another blow and lost her job.
After losing her job, Norma became depressed and entered into the downward spiral again that left her homeless and drug addicted.
“I was depressed, doing drugs and just wasting my life away,” Norma told WCVB-TV. Addiction, abuse and self-hatred left her with nothing. It all came crashing down when she had a mental breakdown.
“I wasn’t able to think. I wasn’t able to read, I wasn’t able to write,” confessed Norma.
And all of that stayed the same for years until two years ago when she found Rosie’s Place – a women’s shelter in Boston, Massachusetts.
It was at Rosie’s Place that she learned the power of goal setting. Setting, reaching and attaining small goals that all add up to big goals. While there she was required to write goals down for every week.
“I want to make it to my doctors appointment” was one of Norma’s first goal.
“I want to stay away from people doing drugs” was another.
“And then I said ‘Hey, this goal stuff is good once you start reaching them. So I said I want to graduate from Harvard.” And the counselor said “You can do it.” And that’s exactly what Norma did.
Norma is graduating with her Psychology degree from Harvard University.
It was because of the counseling and treatment Norma received at Rosie’s Place, that she was able to…