September 1, 2018
Davina Hollin, my first and longest best friend, is the most incredible person I know. But her story was unbeknownst to me for quite some time, and she had lived a life I was completely unaware of. Davina and I met in the 8th grade at Baines Middle School in Mrs. Barton’s class. I was sitting in the front row of the classroom, completely quiet (as usual) waiting for class to start when this petitie, pale, flaming red head little girl came and sat next to me. I paid her no mind because I was extremely shy, but Davina, in her all of her boldness turned to me and said “Hi, I’m Davina!” Little did I know, that moment birthed a friendship that has lasted longer than a decade. We were polar opposites. I was black, she was white. I was tall, she was short. I was shy, she was fearless. I was fragile, but she was bulletproof. We spent 85% of our time together. She knew everything about me, but there was SO much I didn’t know about her at the time. I knew she was a foster child and that her mother had a substance abuse problem, but that was the extent of my knowledge about her. She would reveal to me new stories and facts about her past and present life sporadically over the years, but I still didn’t understand that her story was not a story of life, but a story of survival.
Davina has experienced more hardship and pain in one lifetime than many could ever imagine. The child of TWO parents with addiction and alcoholism, Davina entered the foster care system at just 11 years old following years of sexual abuse. In high school she ran away from Texas and went to Oklahoma to live with her biological mother and had exposure to the “real world”. Being forced to grow up very quickly, Davina taught herself how to drive, ENROLLED HERSELF back into school, and obtained her first job. During the year following her runaway, she helped take care of her brother Chris’ daughter, and her niece (and one of the cutest kids on the planet!) Alela. Davina and Chris were always extremely close and she even lived with him shortly after moving to Oklahoma. After realizing that living in Oklahoma was not healthy for her, she moved back to Houston to finish high school. A little over six years ago, Davina received the tragic news that Chris was killed in a car accident. Her world turned upside down and her will to continue fighting decreased. After a year and a half of living with suicidal thoughts, she found a mentor that gave her a reason to live. She continued her education and knew she had to keep going for Alela.
So, here’s a fun fact: Only 3% of foster youth graduate from higher education. Davina doesn’t just have one degree, she has TWO. Put some respeck on her name! My girl has traveled the country giving speeches to foster care youth to show them that they can because she did. She currently serves on Governor Greg Abbott’s Family and Protective Services Council, where she studies and makes recommendations regarding the management and operation of the Department of Family and Protective Services. Davina has devoted her personal and professional life to enhancing the lives of foster youth as a volunteer and mentor, as well as earning both of her degrees in Social Work. Davina, it has been nothing short of an honor to not only know you, but also be your best friend all these years. I think of you and I remember that anything is possible. Your strength and resilience has given me motivation even in my darkest moments. You have seen me through so many things, good, bad, and ugly. You’ve never judged me and I have NEVER had to question your loyalty. I hope you know how amazing you truly are and how much you inspire others and me every single day. I know you didn’t think you would make it to 25 but baby, you did, and you will see 25 more. You have done so much in only a quarter of a century and I can’t wait to see what you do in a lifetime! I love you so much, and you know this, MAN!! Happy birthday baby girl.
To read more about Davina’s story, check out her post here.
The Life Therapist