Making Choices

"If you don't have a test, you won't have a testimony in the end."

October 17, 2013
MIA ARTIS: You think I'm kidding. If you ask my son, what does your mom say to you every day? Make good choices.

My grandfather used to always say, if you don't have a test, you won't have a testimony in the end.

I've had ups and downs in my life, and what I share with people is that no one can live in this world alone.

Family's first. Family is the nucleus of it all.

My biggest obstacle in life is just really providing for my children, and being able to make the right choice for all of us.

You know, it's been hard. And being a single parent has been very hard. I went to school with a vengeance. And we all went to college together. Literally.

I honestly took 15 credits one semester, and I wanted it bad because I really needed to complete something.

Getting the diploma from Touro was the most amazing feeling, because I wanted my children to see that there's a start and a finish. And finishing was like, the highlight of all of our lives.

My kids will say to me, make good choices, mommy. And it's true. And I explain to them that all the choices I make, that I've made thus far, I make with them in mind.

GSSW Class of ’11 graduate Mia Artis first heard those words from her grandfather. And that’s only fitting, since for Artis, “family is the nucleus of it all.” In fact, while earning her Associate’s Degree at Kingsborough College, the mother of three brought all her children along to school. Even at their young ages of 8, 12 and 16, the kids already reflected their mother’s life lessons. “As a single parent, I didn’t have a choice,” she says. “They sat quietly through everything, even four-hour bio classes. They knew I was doing this for all of us.”

That first year at Touro, the pressure from keeping up with myriad demands on her time would have Artis in tears on the bus en route to campus.. But by following through on her goals and continuing to juggle work, school and being a mom, she demonstrated to her kids “that there’s a start, and a finish,” and they could do it too.

Artis wants to eventually set up a program working with incarcerated parents returning home to their families. “No one says. ‘I don’t want my child to succeed,’” she says of ex-inmates. “They just might not know how to be a good parent. And no matter what a parent has done, a child always wants that parent’s love.”

This is Mia Artis’ story.