Strong-minded, loving, and caring are all words that Tiyonda Davis uses to describe herself. When evaluating her life those words seem to be the perfect fit, a Cinderella story.

This 21-year-old senior social work major at Savannah State University takes pride in a number of things. She takes pride in her family, her relationship, her academics, and her athletics.

On Monday morning, Sept. 19, 2016, Tiyonda slowly gets out of bed and prepares herself for yet another fun filled workout session with her head coach Cedric Baker. Though pre-season workouts and requirements are her least favorite things to do, she understands that she must go through this to get to the part that she loves, playing in games.

“I have to be at my internship every Tuesday morning at 8:30, and I am excited about going to my internship," she said.

This was the reason, or maybe excuse, that was given as to why she was so excited to get out of a Tuesday morning weight session much earlier than the rest of her teammates.

While Tiyonda may not love everything about being an athlete, she loves everything about her major, future work field, and environment of being a social worker.

“I always want to help the people that need help or need my assistance," she said. “Knowing that I can help someone in need makes me feel 100% better."

With this mindset, it is no surprise why Tiyonda chose to major in such a thing as social work.

After leaving the Monday workouts, I witnessed the passion in the eyes of Tiyonda Davis as she sat in the courtroom paying full attention to the cases of domestic violence that came forth.

Besides her passion and dedication to helping others, typically people that she does not know, she puts her all into helping her own. Family. A word that seems to go unappreciated by most but holds great value in Tiyonda Davis’ life.

Back in “The Great City of Athens, Georgia," as she calls it, Tiyonda has a mother, stepfather, and three younger sisters. Tiyonda’s sisters mean the world to her and she feels as though her role in their lives and her family’s life in general is of major importance.

Tiyonda feels as though when it comes to her little sisters she is to protect them, be a role model by showing them that all things are possible, and to provide for them especially if it’s something that maybe their mother or stepfather cannot provide.

Tiyonda aims to guide her little sisters based on her own experiences in life. She hopes that instead of making their own, they can learn from her mistakes.

Managing being a key player and factor on the basketball court, in her family, and the lives of other people sounds like a tough task and duty. Just think, where and how does a personal relationship fit into the scenario? In Tiyonda Davis’ world, like those three dynamic words, it seems to fit just right.

Tay, Tiyonda’s boyfriend, plays a major role in her life and helps mold her into the person she is and is becoming. While getting a little emotional at the thought of her relationship, that’s Tiyonda for you, she explains that Tay has a strong and positive impact on her life.

“He’s the one that’s not going to sugar coat anything, he’s the reason I still play basketball, and he’s the reason I am still at Savannah State."

So, it seems as if Tiyonda is living the perfect life. It’s almost like a fairytale. But, can everything really be so great and so lovely? Are there any changes Tiyonda Davis wishes she could make in her life? Are there any insecurities?

I asked a simple yet kind of personal question. I wondered, if she could change anything about her life what would it be. “I would love to bring my grandmother back." Tiyonda lost her grandmother to cancer some years ago and feels as if having her back would make her family more complete.

Her grandfather, still living, is here but only seems concerned about financial and material needs.

Of course, every grandchild loves getting money from a grandparent, but it’s no secret that they want love, affection, care, and maybe just a simple “How’s your day going?"

Her passion in families and helping other people could very well explain why she’s so passionate about this situation that, from the outside looking in, no one would know anything about.

Strong-minded, loving, and caring is not only what she is, but, in dealing with the life of Tiyonda Davis, it’s what she has to be. She’s an inspiration to her family, her teammates, the people around her, and as we laughed, talked, and shared stories, she became more of an inspiration to me.

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