Tori Correia’s passion and dedication to addressing injustice and helping others are traits that have been long recognized by her family and friends, particularly her late mother and her Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. sisters at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH)—all of whom have played a critical role in developing that strength within her.
Today, the depth of Correia’s character is frequently recognized off campus, most recently by the Torrance Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, which honored her Feb. 24 with the “2016 Inspirational Spirt Award” at the 19th Annual Black History Celebration.
“I was shocked when I found that I was going get the award. People always say to me ‘You’re so busy. You do a lot of things,’ but I didn’t think it would get me nominated for something like that,” said Correia, a senior studying human resource management and minoring in computer information systems at CSUDH.
During her remarks, Correia shared her deep love and admiration for her family, such as her father James Dunn, who attended the ceremony with her grandmother Evelyn Singleton. She also talked about her mother Tamara Singleton, who passed away from cervical cancer when Correia was 16 years old.
“My mother’s passing change my life completely. My mom was my best friend, and I’m not just saying that. She truly was my best friend. Not only did she die, but I watched her die. She had stage 4 cancer when the doctors found it, but she beat it,” Correia shared. “But it was the hardship of the chemotherapy that ended her life. I watched her go through everything that she had to go through. She was really trying to hold on until I graduated from high school, but that was over a year away.
“When you’re a kid you take things for granted, you’re like ‘All I have to do is call my mom, so no problem,’” she added. “My mom was the kind of parent who would be there for you completely—even now at 22 years old she’d still let me fall back on her.”
A Little Help from Her Friends
Correia then praised her sorority sisters—two of them were at the celebration to support her—as those who have helped guide her the most through her personal achievements and ambitious academic goals at CSUDH, and have also been there for her when Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a condition she has had her entire life, puts her health at risk.
“During my first two years as a college student I felt disconnected from campus life because I have a life-threatening condition, which made it difficult at times for me to be actively involved in the campus community,” said Correia, who lives in Los Angeles. “However, during my second year, I met a group of women who are members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Since then, my excitement has overshadowed my illness. They have helped me find the support, energy and enthusiasm to volunteer my time, and be an active participant in the community and on campus.”
READ MORE – http://www.csudhnews.com/2016/03/tori-correia/