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Dawn Baker Awards $2,000 in Scholarships

"I’m on top of the world after awarding my “Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship” to two young ladies with chronic/life-threatening illnesses,”  WTOC Anchor and Author Dawn Baker said on May 22, 2015.  This year's recipients of the $1,000 academic scholarships are Savannah Arts Academy graduating seniors, T'Andre Char’ya Turner and Deborah LaFaye Stevens.

T’Andre Turner was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, leaving her unable to eat or drink. As a result, she has endured more than 15 surgeries since birth, including bone marrow transplants, jaw surgery and many other surgeries. In spite of her lifelong health challenges, she has maintained an 88.2 grade point average. Teachers say she is intelligent, dedicated, dependable, trustworthy, hard-working and caring. These are just some of the reasons why I am proud to present one of my $1,000 Dawning of a Miracle Scholarships to her.” I feel very grateful, and I am excited and thankful for getting the scholarship," T’Andre said. She plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design and study animation.

My second recipient is Deborah Stevens. In spite of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 4 years ago, this brave young lady has persevered. "Whether it's struggling to climb all the stairs at school, or enduring the frustration of vertigo or double-vision, being diagnosed with M.S. has reminded me each day that I am blessed, loved and strong," Deborah added.

Many of Deborah’s' teachers describe her as tenacious, determined and committed to her studies. They also say she's a leader and an “over-comer” who triumphs in adversity. She is truly an inspiration to everyone she meets. Deborah is graduating with a 90.5 grade point average and plans to attend Valdosta State University this fall to study music therapy. "It's just a great honor. I didn't think that I'd be getting this many awards and everything, but it's really a great accomplishment finishing my high school year,” Deborah said.

These brave ladies aren't letting their health conditions stand in the way of making their dreams come true. “They make me so proud of what I am able to do through this scholarship each year. These young ladies can teach all of us about perseverance and what it means to succeed in spite of the odds. There really aren’t any words to adequately explain how blessed I feel to play a small part in their journey. These young ladies and all of the scholarship recipients throughout the last four years inspire me every day,” Dawn Baker added.   

“When I wrote my book, “Dawn's Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know”, a self-help book for teen and young adult females, I decided to give a portion of the proceeds toward a scholarship for young ladies who suffer from chronic/life-threatening illnesses. I was inspired by more than 20 years serving as host of the annual Children's Miracle Network Telethon, where I work closely with families who have children with serious illnesses. For years, I have wondered how every day, working class parents with chronically-ill children begin to think about how they will pay for those children's college education. I hope my scholarship can assist them in a small way,” Dawn Baker explained.

 

 

   

The Dawning of A Miracle Scholarship Awarded

 

 

More Miracles for Nia... “These days, the news is often depressing - unspeakable violence, corruption, you name it! It’s easy to feel helpless. I can honestly say that very few nights have gone by in the past 24 years that I have not fought back the tears as I have delivered the news on WTOC –TV.  Too often, young people are the subject of those stories, either as the perpetrator or the victim. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I deliver this fantastic news about a phenomenal young lady whom everyone should know,” says Dawn Baker, WTOC News Anchor and Author of Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know.

On June 7, 2013, Dawn Baker presented the second The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship to Nia Dawson, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Dawson.  When Dawn wrote her book, Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know, a self-help book for teen and young adult females, she decided to give a portion of the proceeds toward a scholarship for young ladies who suffer from chronic/ life-threatening illnesses.  Dawn was inspired by her more than 20 years serving as host of the annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, where she works closely with families who have children with serious illnesses.  The scholarship is an annual $1,000 academic scholarship for chronically-ill graduating senior young ladies who plan to pursue an education at a four-year college or university. Dawn says, “For years, I have wondered how every day, working class parents with chronically-ill children even begin to think about how they will pay for those children’s college education. In a country where more than one in three full-time students work to pay for the cost of higher education, being in poor health can make going to college seem like an impossible dream or a miracle. This scholarship is my gift to those families who have endured so much.”

How ironic, that the second The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship would go to a Savannah Arts Academy graduating senior.  Savannah Arts Academy is the original Savannah High School. Baker graduated from Savannah High School in 1984.  Dawson has also decided to attend Howard University, which is also Baker’s Alma Mater. “Nia is a phenomenal young lady and a remarkable student. As you can see, this was meant to be,” says Baker. 

This dynamic scholarship recipient is an honor graduate who maintained a 3.97 grade point average in spite of enduring a rare condition, known as POTS -an abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous system. This brave young lady describes POTS as a thief who took away most of her sophomore and junior years. Nia also became paralyzed and had to learn how to walk again.  She held on to her “A” average by using Skype from her hospital bed whenever possible so that she would not miss school.  One teacher shared with the scholarship committee that once Nia realized that POTS made it harder for her to comprehend things in the morning hours she started recording her morning lectures and often took some of those classes a second time in the afternoons so that she would not miss out on class participation credit.  “I have been through a lot these last couple of years and it has taken me a long road to get where I am. I am truly excited and ready to see what life has in store for me,” adds Nia Dawson. 

“The sky is certainly the limit for Nia. She doesn’t accept pity, but sets the bar as she continues to inspire her peers as well as just about everyone who learns about her story.  She is nothing short of amazing,” explains Baker. “POTS taught me to cast out self-doubt and fear, and I know I can emerge from any turbulent situation,” says Dawson. That’s a lesson all of us can learn from this young survivor. Nia plans to major in Psychology at Howard University in the fall.

The first The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship recipient, Aijalon Lawrence, is an engineering major at Armstrong Atlantic State University.  “I am deeply honored to play a small part in these brilliant, courageous young ladies’ journeys.  I want to thank my community for supporting me by purchasing my book, making donations and supporting my Movement in the Park (a health and wellness fair scholarship fundraiser).  Without your support, my dreams would not come true.  Together, we are making a huge difference and changing lives!” says Baker.

The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship is administered by the Savannah Community Foundation, Inc.  Applications are sent to all Chatham County public and private school counselors in January of every year. Scholarships are awarded in June.  To learn more about the scholarship, go to http://www.dawnbakeronline.com/scholarship.  Books may be purchased online http://www.dawnbakeronline.com/.

 

Dawn Baker Awards $1500.00 Academic Scholarship to Graduating Senior

“This is by far one of the happiest days of my life! Today, I know I have made a positive change in someone’s life. There is no better feeling than that!” exclaims Dawn Baker, WTOC-TV Anchor and author.  She’s on fire about awarding her first scholarship to Aijalon Geneva Lawrence.

When Dawn wrote her book, Dawn's Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know, a self-help book for teen and young adult females, she decided to give 20% of the proceeds to a young lady who suffers from a chronic/ life-threatening disease in the form of a scholarship that she named “The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship.” It is an annual $1,000 scholarship for chronically-ill graduating senior young ladies who plan to pursue an education at a four-year college or university.  Dawn’s twenty years as co-host of the Children’s Miracle Telethon on WTOC-TV and her close interaction with chronically-ill children and their parents inspired her to develop this scholarship.  Dawn’s says, “For years, I have wondered how do every day, working class parents with chronically-ill children even begin to think about how they will pay for those children’s college education?  In a country where more than one in three full-time students work to pay for the cost of higher education,  being in poor health can make going to college seem like an impossible dream or a miracle.  Dawn adds, “My dream came true on June 6, 2012, when I had the honor of presenting the scholarship to Aijalon, a 2012 graduating senior from A.E. Beach High School, live on WTOC’s Mid-Morning Live Show.  She is a cancer survivor who has been living with a brain stem tumor since she was only 10 years old.” 

Aijalon was so brave as she sat on live television and explained to the Jody Chapin and Tim Guidera, the hosts of the show, her personal struggle since being diagnosed with the tumor.  She said, "I was 10 years old when I was diagnosed. I was kind of shocked. I was wondering why I was in the hospital for so long.  It all happened during the summer so my summer break went downhill. My classmates went on to 5th grade and left me behind.  I was wheelchair bound for 4 years. It was difficult.  I would see everybody running, jumping and playing. T hen, I told myself I want to get out of this wheelchair and I did. I thank God that I am alive right now."

Aijalon was moved to tears when Dawn announced during their live interview that she would be getting an additional $500 thanks to a special donation from the United Methodist Women of Trinity United Methodist Church. The organization requested that its $500.00 donation be added to Dawn’s $1,000 scholarship amount.  The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship Committee selected Aijalon from among several highly qualified young ladies from Savannah Chatham County public and private schools.

Dawn says, “This honor could not have gone to a more deserving young lady.” Aijalon has a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 and ranks in the top ten of her graduating class.  She plans to attend Armstrong Atlantic State University and enroll in the university’s Pre-engineering program.  Her aspirations include continuing her education at Southern Polytechnic University and earning a degree in mechanical engineering.  Despite Aijalon’s struggles with a brain stem tumor, she wrote in her scholarship essay, “I feel as though one of my purposes is to spread the philosophy of gratitude and optimism.  I came up with this mindset: your glass isn’t half-empty nor half-full;  it’s always full (half air, half water). And if someone says that’s stupid, I say, you really must be amazing.  How do you survive without air? I thank God for giving me the chance to overcome my circumstances and tell my story to others.  This isn’t merely an opportunity, but a blessing.  I keep faith close to my heart and know my life is in God’s hands.” 

If you would like to join Dawn on her mission to empower young ladies, visit  http://www.dawnbakeronline.com/scholarship.

The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship will be awarded annually. It is administered by the Savannah Community Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit Georgia corporation classified by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) public charity.  *To make a tax-deductible donation, please make your check payable to Savannah Community Foundation and write The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship on the Memo/For line at the bottom of your check.

Please mail your check to: Savannah Community Foundation, Inc. / 7393 Hodgson Memorial Drive - Suite #204 / Savannah, GA 31406.

You may contact Dawn Baker at 1-888-749-9133 or contactus@dawnbakeronline.com.     

 

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Hometown TV personality Dawn Baker to present at Savannah Book Festival

 

Posted: February 12, 2012 - 12:07am | Updated: February 12, 2012 - 10:46am
WTOC news anchor Dawn Baker has written a self-help book, "Dawn's Daughter: Everything a Woman Needs to Know," which she will discuss and sign at the Savannah Book Festival.
WTOC news anchor Dawn Baker has written a self-help book, "Dawn's Daughter: Everything a Woman Needs to Know," which she will discuss and sign at the Savannah Book Festival.

She may work in television, but Dawn Baker doesn’t always approve of the content of today’s TV programs.

“It’s my opinion that reality TV is destroying our youth,” the WTOC news anchor says. “Yes, a lot of adults watch it as guilty pleasure, but we know from living that these things aren’t real.

“I sit back and wonder why TV has changed and society has changed and why it’s so violent,” she says. “Why aren’t people setting goals and trying to be all they can be?”

Baker decided she wanted to be part of the solution. The result is her self-help book, “Dawn’s Daughter: Everything a Woman Needs to Know,” which she will present Feb. 18 at the Savannah Book Festival.

At 4 p.m., Baker will discuss her book in the Jepson Center board room. From 5:15-6:15 p.m., she’ll sign copies in Telfair Square.

“I’m honored to be a part of it," Baker says. "It’s such an over-the-top year for the festival.”

Baker grew up in Riceboro, a community of 750 people in Liberty County, and went to high school in Hinesville. “If I allowed people’s perception of me to matter, I wouldn’t have accomplished anything.

“It appeared as if the educators viewed all us country kids as different from all the city kids or military kids,” Baker says. “They didn’t expect much from us."

Baker’s mother, Lula L. Baker, an English teacher, was a huge influence. “My mom didn’t push me in terms of being a straight-A student, but she always asked, ‘Did you do your best?’

“I want those girls to know they have everything they need if they take education seriously and be prepared to work hard," Baker says.

Although Baker has no children of her own, she included all the things she’d want a daughter to know. “I realize we’re all the same, no matter what ethnic background, no matter what country we come from."

Twenty percent of proceeds from sales of the book will go to Dawning of a Miracle, a scholarship program Baker has set up for young women with chronic illnesses. “I’ve always wondered how regular families, when they give all their money to keep a child alive, how do they pay for college?” she says. “I hope I can do more.”

The book is available online at www.dawnsdaughter.com, www.dawnbakeronline.com or www.amazon.com, and an eBook version is available for download at www.smashwords.com. Books also are available at E. Shaver Bookseller, The Book Lady, the Diaspora Marketplace and the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.

“There so many issues out there that even younger girls are facing," Baker says. "There are issues at elementary schools that I had no idea about.”

And presenting the book has been a growing experience for her.

“The girls really are bringing up topics I wasn’t aware of. Sometimes we don’t realize how much those lessons we were taught as kids remain with us throughout our lives.”

http://savannahnow.com/accent/2012-02-12/hometown-tv-personality-dawn-baker-present-savannah-book-festival

 

 

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Dawn Baker debuts book on WTOC-TV's Mid Morning Live

Armstrong hosts International Girls Day

Workshops, consultations help young women prepare for future

By Whitney Mattox
The Inkwell Online
Posted November 29, 2011

Organizer Patrina Lingard (left) and keynote speaker Dawn Baker (right) taught young girls about self-confidence Nov. 19.The university hosted International Girls Day Nov. 19. Held in the Student Union, the event was open to girls ages 5-19 years old. Psychology major Patrina Lingard coordinated the event, which she said was designed to "bring attention to the gender and women's studies program, as well as to discuss how the word ‘woman' is constructed."

The theme of the event was "All girls are…" because, said Lingard, "Girls can be anything. They're all different, and all are beautiful."

WTOC news anchor Dawn Baker gave the keynote address.

"Patrina emailed me and told me about her idea, and I thought it was great," Baker said. "It's seldom that you see an event designed to bring together all ages and races."

Baker encouraged girls to never give up, regardless of what may happen.

"You may not achieve everything that you try, but don't give up, because it might not be the plan for your life," she told the crowd.

She also encouraged the young women in attendance to not base their self-perception on what others think.

"Don't wait on someone to tell you what you already know," Baker said. "… All of us have a story, and all of us are powerful beyond our own imagination."

Several facilitators and sponsors also hosted workshops. Lingard was able to get the facilitators for the event by attending Fashion's Night Out, a national after-hours shopping event in September that took place downtown.

"I met most of the facilitators at Fashion's Night Out, and the ones that I met helped recruit the other sponsors," Lingard said.

Workshops were held by organizations such as U-Hatin' University and Grow a Girl Network on overcoming molestation and abuse issues, bullying and other emotional issues. These organizations encouraged girls to rise above their pasts and above their circumstances.

The Grow a Girl Network out of Hinesville featured several speakers who told the girls to be aware of their bodies and the hormonal connection between sex and possible abusive relationships. The speakers spoke candidly about their pasts, with their hope being to encourage girls, as one of the speakers said, to look beyond what society tells them should happen.

Workshops were also held on entrepreneurship, running a business and other related topics. The goal of these individuals was best summed up by Princess Preneurs CEO Belina Bradley, who said the goal of their organization is "to teach young ladies how to become self-sufficient and not have to be dependent on anyone to get the things that they want."

The Savannah Day Spa's glam team also gave free makeovers, and the Style House hosted teen-image consultations, which were designed to help young women gain confidence in their quests for careers and college.

Lingard's final statement best summed up the hope for the entire day: "We want the girls to attend this event to realize that they are beautiful, and they deserve more that the stars. The entire universe is theirs if they want to take it."


Riceboro native’s book offers guidance for young women

By Lewis Levine
The Coastal Courier
Posted November 21, 2011

Riceboro native Dawn Baker, a local television anchor and reporter, can add another achievement to her resume: She’s now an author. Baker’s recently released book, “Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know,” a 142-page, softcover publication, is now on local shelves.

Baker recently hosted an invitation-only book delivery party in Savannah, where hundreds of people from her hometown and the surrounding areas came to pick up copies of the book, which the author describes as a labor of love.

The book, written for teenage girls and young women, is broken down into seven chapters. It includes a forward by Paula Deen, Food Network star and owner of The Lady & Sons. “I was very touched by the premise of Savannah’s own Dawn Baker’s book,” Deen wrote. “‘Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Need To Know’ is exactly what we need for our teen girls and young adults today.”

Baker tackles subjects ranging from weight issues to relationships to managing careers in short, easy-to-understand segments. In one segment, titled “Make Your Word Your Bond,” Baker reminds readers to keep their word, whether it’s to a friend or a business contact. If you cannot follow through on what you promised, Baker wrote, you should let that person know as soon as possible. “People respect you when you respect their time. One of the goals all of us should share is trying to become the kind of person that people can depend on.”

Baker even addressed a recent fad, the tattoo, which can have lifelong effects on women. Baker pleads with the reader: “Whatever you do, do not tattoo any man’s name on your body. Countless women have gotten tattoos with their boyfriend’s and husband’s names. When they broke up, they were stuck with those names on their bodies as a constant reminder of the love they lost and a mistake they could not take back.” Baker went on to describe how brides fret over old tattoos that seem cute at 18 but send negative messages at 25 on the most important day of their lives. If a tattoo is a must, Baker recommended keeping it out of sight or just getting a temporary one.

In her book, Baker recalled growing up in the small town of Riceboro, where everyone knows each other and neighbors take care of one another. Her parents divorced when she was 2, and she was raised by her mother, Lula Baker, who was a teacher, and her grandparents, Mary Alice and George LeCounte.

When she told her grandfather she was majoring in broadcast journalism, Baker recalled in the book, he looked at her and said, “You wasting your mama’s money to go to that expensive school to learn how to talk? You have been talking long before you were supposed to.” She recalled that when she returned to Riceboro years later to accept a position with WTOC and take care of her ailing grandmother, George LeCounte told her she was doing a great job. In the book, Baker said she not only got an apology from her grandfather for his comment, but she also had earned his respect, which was priceless.

Baker said in an interview during the delivery party that she wrote the book because she was concerned about what she was witnessing in the world around her. “In a time when morality, respect and good old-fashioned manners are somewhat taboo, many of us have been disturbed, angry, critical and have often lashed out at our youth; and yes, for a while I went on my silent rants as well. But I paused as I recalled the familiar saying, ‘If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.’”

Baker, who has no children, calls this book her daughter. She said it took her a year and a half to put on paper the mistakes she and others have made and compile it into a handbook, which she hopes will serve as a guide to the pitfalls many young women make in their formative years. “I decided to channel my energy in the direction of writing ‘Dawn’s Daughter: Everything A Woman Needs To Know’ to the many young women who are lost. Women seem to be preoccupied with superficial things, sacrificing who they are to fit in, doing anything they can dream of in order to get attention from men, wasting their time gossiping and being jealous of others.” Baker said she hopes young girls and women who read the book will devote time to working on themselves.

Baker is donating 20 percent of the book sales to a scholarship fund: Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship Fund for high school female seniors diagnosed with chronic/life-threatening illnesses.

The book can be purchased at the following websites and Savannah locations: E. Shaver Bookseller at 326 Bull St., Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace House at 10 E. Oglethorpe Ave., www.dawnsdaughter.com and www.amazon.com or call 1-888-749-9133. An e-book version is available at www.smashwords.com.