Hurricane Katrina Survivor Builds a Successful Life After Disaster Struck

A young girl caught in the destructive pathway of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 recounted her story of hardships and success.

Keisha Hale was only 12 years old when she carried her mother and grandmother on her back and swam for safety after a tumultuous natural disaster struck New Orleans. The hurricane claimed thousands of lives and left thousands more homeless including her family.

However, Hale survived the storm and built a good life for herself in Washington, D.C.

Keisha Hale

(photo credit: News 4)

“I wouldn’t say that I’ve reached the best point in my life; I’m still figuring things out,” the young woman told News 4. “I’m just excited for the future and I feel like I’m finally in a place where I’ll be able to help kids in need.”

Hale recently graduated from Bowie State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, but her road to success wasn’t easy.

The survivor’s family was unable to take care of her after moving to D.C. Hale’s mother struggled with substance abuse and the pre-teen became a ward of the state.

The college grad stayed at several foster homes as a kid and even tried to run away. Hale was losing hope and didn’t see things getting any better.

“I want to help kids realize that things might suck right now, but they can get so much better. You just have to stay hopeful, you have to stay resilient, you have to find ways to think about what matters to you,” she told the news station.

That’s exactly what Hale did, she stayed resilient and graduated from high school. The young woman aimed for college. However, the absence of her family’s support still affected her in many ways.

“I felt like I was trying so hard to overcompensate for what I felt like I was lacking from my peers,” she noted. “I remember during my orientation I had people ask me, ‘Oh, where’s your mom and your dad?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m here by myself.'”

Thankfully, Hale had people close to her who helped during the hard times and keep her “head up.”

She added, “It might have been rough, but I had a good social worker, I had a good lawyer, and even though I couldn’t see the positivity in myself, they always reminded me of the things I could do.”

Hale is currently working towards her Master’s degree in applied sociology at the University of Maryland. She hopes to help other foster children like herself who may be facing hardships. She also holds an administrative job at Creative Associates International, a developmental organization.

Hale is climbing the ladder of success and hasn’t stepped foot in New Orleans since.

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