Girlz B Sweet caught up with community leader and retired health administrator, Dianne Jamerson to ask her about her passions. This amazing woman will keep you on your toes because she's just that involved in community building and leadership.
Originally from El Dorado, Arkansas, Dianne found a unique path in life that led her to California. Her courage to live life to its fullest potential stems from a love for learning, a love for reading, and a love for writing. "I grew up in Southern rural Arkansas and they desegregated our schools when I started 6th grade. They had to bus us an hour to the White school. They began to turn the Black elementary schools into learning centers. Middle schools were consolidated into one and the secondary/H.S. was closed. My 1st grade teacher, Lois Meekens, was so encouraging to me and supportive to me. She would say, 'You just gotta do what you gotta do. You’re so smart. You’re so bright', and I believed that."
Besides Mrs. Meekens, Dianne experienced encouragement from another teacher who during the time period of desegregation would be the least likely person she would expect encouragement from - Mrs. Barbara Haynie, the first Caucasian teacher that Dianne ever had. "She was warm, loving, and nurturing. She was so encouraging to me. She had us do research on a state, and I chose California. I stood before the class and gave my report. I said when I graduate from high school, I am going to college on scholarship and am moving to California. The kids laughed me to shame, but Mrs. Haynie said, 'You are going to do what you want.'"
Dianne proved Mrs. Haynie right! She did just as she set out to do and made a life in California. Dianne is retired from Riverside County previously serving as a Hospital Admissions Supervisor and Hospital Safety Officer and Certified Trainer. Because of her love for education, she continues to serve as a part time adjunct faculty at the University of Phoenix, teaching courses in the health services, while currently earning her Ph.D. in the field of Health Services and Leadership. She is also a published author with a featured journal article entitled, “Insurance Verification Done Right: A Success Story”, published by the National Association of Healthcare Access Managers Association (Dec. 2009).
Dianne's accomplishments aren't by happenstance. As a young girl, she was encouraged by not only her teachers, but first by her mother. "My mom was my first source of inspiration. She worked hard and only had a 10th grade education. Her father passed away when she was in 10th grade, and so she had to drop out of high school to help her mother put the others through school. She always said, 'I work hard with my hands, but I want you to work hard with your heads.' She worked two and three jobs to support us."
Girlz B Sweet asked Dianne who is the source of her inspiration now. "My mom and my children. Every time I go home to see my mom who is 81 years old, she asks me, 'Are you in school?' She asks me all the time. Children/grands…Letting them see that the sky is the limit. If we can dream it, we can achieve it."
Dianne's inspirational life has a positive impact on her community. She is very involved with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and does excellent community outreach on a regular basis. Dianne shared with Girlz B Sweet some of the community programs she's involved in.
"Growing and Empowering Myself Scholastically (GEMS) program – mentor high school girls. Mentor them on academics, discipline, anti-bullying, combating teen violence and human sex trafficking. We [Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.] take them to Youth State to allow them to develop a program that will bring about social change in the community. We provide transportation and lodging and food. We meet every 2nd Sat. from 9-12 at Cal Poly Pomona (Sept. – May). The focus is on sisterhood, scholarship and service. Our sorority partners with March of Dimes, House of Ruth, and Habitat for Humanity – helping to rebuild and improve housing.
Also, we incorporate a College Life program – mentor them on college aspirations. Help them research possible colleges and put on a program where college reps come out and speak to the girls about college life. Career Day – professionals come out and speak to the girls about various careers that focus on S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and educate them in this area.
Also, I am an Associate Pastor at Loveland Church - my focus is on mentoring the teen, young adult and adult women; I am the church clerk and secretary to the board for the Sunrise Senior Citizens project."
Wow!!! What an amazing community activist!!! Although Dianne is busy doing great work, she definitely finds time to keep up with her sports. Girlz B Sweet inquired about her side hobbies. "I am a die-hard sports fan. My favorite teams are the Dallas Cowboys and the Spurs. We are a big time sports family. I love to travel and I like writing, particularly freelance writing.
If anyone is in need of some inspiration, Dianne Jamerson is a source of strength. She is well rounded, gifted, and has a history of overcoming obstacles. Her message to young girls now who need motivation to achieve is "Listen to your parents. Pay attention in school; do your very best in school. Just focus on what it is you want to do in life, and go for it. And fight for that dream and finish well. My Motto: Focus. Faith. Fight. Finish."
And to top off our interview, Dianne left us with this quote to ponder:
“Our destiny is not written for us, it's written by us.” – President Barack Obama
Thank you, Dianne, for an amazing dose of inspiration!