Volunteer Satra Sampson-Arokium

Satra Sampson-ArokiumMeet Satra Sampson-Arokium, celebrating her 10th year as a PeerForward volunteer, currently serving as a Writing Coach Coordinator in the Connecticut Region. Her motto is: “Don’t give up. Continue to reach beyond the sky. Obstacles may come your way, but just keep fighting.”

I am not a product of the United States. I was born on the island of Dominica and raised there until the age of 9, when we moved to the Bronx. I come from a middle-class family of career-minded individuals. My mother was a registered nurse, my father was a mechanical engineer. My grandfather was actually a politician! Needless to say, education was instilled in me from birth.

College in the United States is a strange and scary thing. But I was actually motivated by the culture change. I always knew I was going to be a successful and I always knew I was going to be married. Quite the determined child I was!

After high school, I went off to SUNY Albany, where I immersed myself in an academically rigorous course load – and met my husband of 16 years.

Just a few days before my college graduation, my life was turned upside down when my father was killed in a car accident. I think this tragedy was what pushed me to ensure that I achieved whatever I wanted to achieve, to do whatever in life would make me happy.

Because tomorrow’s promised to no one.

My husband and I made some great friends at SUNY – and we all decided we would go to NYC after graduation and become lawyers. My first real job out-of-school job was at a law firm as a paralegal and office manager…that’s where I changed my mind about becoming a lawyer. In fact, only one of us successfully went to law school, even though we all took the LSAT together.

At the age of 24, I got married and had my first child. I stayed at the law firm until right before 9/11, when I realized I had a higher calling. I wanted to be an advocate and a mentor.

I saw a position online at Deloitte and sent them my resume. I would not have been introduced to PeerForward if it had not been for Deloitte. It was hook-line-sinker and I’ve never tuned back since. Now, after 12 wonderful years there, I’m going back to a law firm to serve as their Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

PeerForward changed my life. My childhood was so different from so many of the Peer Leaders I’ve coached. But we connect because so many aren’t born here, and are figuring out how to navigate this world as much as I did.

Every year, I see the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. I want my children to see that – and be inspired to give back. Just like my Peer Leaders, my children inspire me, more than they know. My youngest child was born at 2 lbs. She fought for her life and then had to undergo open heart surgery at the age of 5. Two years later, at the age of 7 she survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. My daughters are my heroes.

I look at Peer Leaders and think “One day, they could be my children’s bosses.” I hope so.

For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit peerforward.org/volunteer. If you have any questions or would like to request more information, please contact Natasha Bailey at nbailey@peerforward.org

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