Bereatha Howard: A Catalyst for Change
I was born in Overtown and raised in Allapattah. I was fortunate to receive two degrees from Miami Dade College, which helped me readily start my career. But then the recession hit, and my workplace started to cut down my hours. I found myself needing to find employment in order to make ends meet. That’s when I got connected with a local nonprofit that helps individuals start their own business, and, while there, I learned about the services and programs Catalyst Miami offers.
I’ve lived here long enough to see a lot of changes take place in my community. I’ve driven through neighborhoods and have wanted to help, but I never knew how—it just overwhelmed me. I joined the Parent Leadership Training Institute because I wanted to know how I could make a difference in my community. Catalyst Miami equipped me with the foundation and the information I needed to become civically active.
I am now engaged in many initiatives across the community. I went to Tallahassee with Catalyst Miami to advocate for Medicaid expansion, an issue I care greatly about as an uninsured resident. I became a VITA volunteer to help individuals prepare their taxes at no cost. I became a volunteer navigator during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment period. I became a certified computer instructor to assist senior citizens. I organized a resource fair to help youth aging out of the foster care system learn and connect with the resources that are available to them in the community. I went from a shy, reserved person who did not know where to begin, to a confident, engaged person eager to do more for my community.
I’ve learned that one person can make a big difference, and that we should never underestimate the power of a small group of people who believe in the same goals. I plan to do my part, even if it’s a small part. I have a voice. I believe I am a Catalyst for Change.
You should support Catalyst Miami so that others can also access these opportunities, which will help them grow and make a difference in their community.