Brianna has been dancing most of her life, nearing year 14 heading into her second year in college. She has experienced many hardships along the way, none more challenging than the passing of her father, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward G.
But dance has been her one constant in the chaos that kept on the right track.
“While my life has been very hard, from moving to the States when I was seven to losing my father when I was only nine, dance was the only constant in my life,” Brianna said. “It was an outlet from the chaos that my life had fallen into, and it is where I met my second family.”
With money tight in a single-parent househould, Brianna’s passion for dance was not interupted thanks to the support of Angels.
“Being in a household with a single mother, many times funding my competitive dance activities on top of my brother’s soccer costs was a significant stressor in my mother’s life,” Brianna said. “However, with the help of Angel of America’s Fallen, I was able to continue my passion for dance without adding stress to my mother.”
Brianna understands first-hand the value given to Angels from those who support the program.
“I will be forever grateful and hope to give back in the future,” Brianna said. “I want to thank all the sponsors and people who have supported Angels of American Fallen Foundation and their ‘Angels.'”
Today, there are more than 16,000 children in the United States who have lost a parent who volunteered to serve their country in the military or as a first responder. Most of the children are very young at the time of loss (average age – 7 years).
Statistics show that these children have a greater likelihood for depression, anxiety, poor academic performance, behavior problems, substance abuse, and even suicide. Angels of America’s Fallen mitigates these risks by providing regular opportunities for participation in extracurricular interest such as sports, fitness, art, music, theater and other activities. Research demonstrates that feeling connected and engaged with at least two areas outside of family such as school/afterschool activities, positive peers, athletics, employment, religion, culture and the arts is a protective factor that can mitigate the risks associated with parental loss. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health, April 2016)