Born and raised in Brunswick, GA., Sonya McKinzie – a single mommy to an amazing 7-year old daughter (McKinzie Alise Baker), makes it clear that her daughter is her greatest gift from God. Sonya, a 16-year, second-generation survivor of domestic violence, suicide, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and anxiety, serves as a symbol of strength to those in need and is living proof that a vicious cycle of abuse can in fact be broken. In 2003, Sonya relocated to Marietta, GA. to reclaim her strength from the hands of an abusive ex-boyfriend she once feared. She has gone from perceived victim to purposeful victor and is becoming a recognizable pillar of certainty and encouragement for women and men who seek to fortify their existence (as a means of breaking the cycle of abuse). In addition to ridding herself of her offender, Sonya sought the comfort of internal solace. Determined to operate in a realm of faith and betterment, she began to pursue new employment opportunities; but to her dismay, she learned that her limited education created a professional hindrance. With an even greater sense of determination, she pursued the quest for higher learning – and began celebrating the fruits of academic enlightenment that no offender can attack or extract (A.A.- Business Administration, B.A.- Business Management, M.A.- Human Services Counseling, with minors in Addictions & Recovery, receiving 5 certifications in varied human-related fields of interest: Victims Advocacy, Corporate Leadership and Management, Call Center Management, Six Sigma (Green Belt), and Human Resources). Sonya is currently pursuing her 4th degree (2nd Master’s in Communications) with a concentration in Public Relations. One could understandably ask, why so much education? Well, it’s because Sonya understands the importance of higher learning, and she places significant value on its benefit and permanence.
As Founder and Executive Director of the Women of Virtue Transitional Foundation (Est. February 2016), Sonya sought to operate under the obedience of God, and was rewarded with clarity of vision to display RAW, REAL and TRANSPARENT awareness that exposes the signs of domestic violence and abuse. Through verbal modalities, she has helped bridge the gap between the public/community, survivors, victims, and their families – in a manner that vocalizes the courage of domestic victors (often mistaken as victims). The organization also hosts several events throughout the year to raise funds for empowerment programs and services, forge professional partnerships, and provide donations to sister organizations (i.e., Rainbow Village). In a concerted effort to honor the elderly, the Elderly Outreach in Brunswick, GA. was established (in memory of her grandmother), to help address the needs of the senior population. Sonya, along with a host of close family members, extend themselves to elderly members within the community – by providing handmade lap-throws, and facilitating wish fulfillment (for approximately 25 elderly residents). And if that’s not enough, Sonya McKinzie also hosts 1- 2 Girls of Virtue Empowered (G.O.V.E.) workshops each year for girls between the age of 6-15 years old.
Amid a litany of selfless accomplishments – Sonya’s hard work and dedication have not fallen on deaf ears. She is the recipient of well-deserved awards and prestigious accolades that make her personal journey toward ‘betterment’ all the more extraordinary (i.e., 2017 Trinity Award for Cruelty Prevention Program). As an extension of her academic and humanitarian prowess, she is revered as a best-selling author (with 5 books to her credit), and currently holds the title of ‘Cover Girl’ for the December 2018 issue of the TZelement MAG. In recognition of her God-given gifts that meet people where they are, we are pleased to also cite her contributions as a blogger (Walk in Your Purpose and The ThriveHer), which helps to advance the dialog of authors/distributors who bring awareness to their brand/books in exchange for literary donations that benefit local women’s shelters. Pending the trademark “ThriveHer” – Sonya seeks to create a new program that will host women’s and/or young women’s conferences, create complimentary educational materials, and provide an array of valuable products that aid in offerings of compassion and generosity to survivors (who may very well be encouraged to follow in her philanthropic footsteps). Sonya is a woman (strong and certain) who understands all too well the crafty manner in which fear can cripple a person into modes of isolation. Yet, thankfully she sought the courage to strip away layers of dishonesty that once clouded her reality – in order to push her story through a vein of transparency. She is Sonya McKinzie. Gatekeeper of Truth?—Most definitely. Humanitarian?—Absolutely!
Positivity Questions For Sonya
TZelement MAG: What’s the 1 word you would use to describe yourself, and why?
Sonya: I’m Tenacious; because, it’s akin to being ‘Persistent’ and ‘Unwavering’. You see, I have experienced suicide attempts, domestic and emotional abuse, homelessness, depression, diagnosis with infertility, and many, many more; however, I continue to live, strive and essentially thrive in my survivor-ship. Through the Women of Virtue Transitional Foundation, we seek to empower girls and women to live healthy, productive and fulfilling lives. The vision is to empower girls and women to reach their full potential in life, and to bring awareness to bullying, as well as domestic and teen violence. I’m working to diminish the violence epidemic. As a second generation survivor of abuse, it was important for me to make a mark in this world, especially after being diagnosed with infertility. God blessed me with my daughter (McKinzie Baker), and it’s important for her to know that Domestic Violence is not an option. When I was younger, my mother and I didn’t talk about it, we simply existed in a world where I witnessed her abuse, and I later went on to experience it myself. With all of my trials and tribulations, I remained determined, TENACIOUS and unwavering in my pursuit to be more than a statistic. I share my message with others and pray my words make a difference.
TZelement MAG: If you were granted the authority to change 3 adverse things in the world, what would they be?
Sonya: I would change the acts of Domestic Violence, Racism, and stigmas associated with Mental Illness. Over the course of decades, domestic violence has become an epidemic, racism has become a killer, and lack of compassion and adequate care leave persons with mental illness ill-equipped to combat the effects of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Domestic Violence, racism, and Mental Illness have become monsters (that when not properly addressed), leave children without parents, mothers without sons and daughters, and our world with fewer-and-fewer voices to speak positivity and truth into the universe.
TZelement MAG: What positive message could you share with those struggling with low self-esteem and/or social acceptance?
Sonya: I would say, you are not alone. You are not stuck. You are ENOUGH, and you must love yourself in order for others to love and value you.
Contact and/or connect with Sonya via her foundation website and social media handle:
Website: www.perfectly-imperfect-womenofvirtue.com | Twitter: WOVTFoundation
*Professional Bio’s recreated by TJ Speaks