“Do not quit.” Tonya Bolden-Ball, Southwest Kiwanis Citizen of the Year, inspires youth to persevere


A Lafayette woman who has spent the majority of her life in community service shares her story of perseverance.

Whether it’s from being a program director at South Louisiana Community College’s Center for Minority Excellence, or on the radio in her ‘Moments of Elevation’ series,’ Tonya Bolden-Ball takes pride in her work mentoring and inspiring future leaders.

“At the end of the day, everybody has a story. The core of my story is perseverance,” said Tonya Bolden-Ball. She has spent many years pouring back into the city she says has given her so much.

“The core of every job I’ve had so far has always been about helping people,” she said. 

From being a summer camp counselor at Parks and Recreations to currently leading the Center of Minority Excellence at SLCC, she describes her journey as far from easy.

“I started college as a single parent but, it’s amazing how the tables turn because the same area where I used to catch the bus, is now the same area where I’m going to buildings and having meetings with committee’s and organizations,” said Bolden-Ball. 

Her message is used to inspire students across Acadiana, bringing a form of light to many who are facing disparities. “There’s lack of employment. Lack of transportation. Many of the students, they’re going hungry,” she said.

She opened a food pantry for students in the CME student lounge. She spends her time doing public speaking, mentorship program, and more to reach students inside and outside the classroom. 

Bolden-Ball is also the President of the Faith House Board of Directors.”Have I made mistakes along the way? Yes. Will I continue to make mistakes, yes. I’m not perfect. At the end of the day, the one thing that I want to impart on them is to do not quit!” 

Bolden-Ball was recently recognized with an award by the National Association of University Woman and named the Southwest Kiwanis 2019 Citizen of the Year. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Local News

More Local