Always a “Good Girl”
Paula Creed-Smith was raised in a conservative Jamaican home where young girls were to be seen and not heard. Sadly, at a very young age, she learned to please the people around her. Always, the needs of others came before her own. As you might expect, this mentality caused quite a bit of internal confusion as she tried to find her place in the world as a strong young woman. The was a constant struggle of who she wanted to be versus who she thought she should be. Couple that with the pain of sexual abuse, Paula experienced significant hardship as a young girl.
A Dark Path
The loss of her beloved grandmother pushed Paula over the edge. Devastated, her life was completely rocked. With her grandmother’s absence, Paula went down a path of depression and self-destruction. Unfortunately, she resorted to drinking, smoking and skipping school at the young age of 12. Additionally, her mother’s overwhelming grief led to a neglect that landed Paula in the foster care system.
Eventually, Paula’s self-sabotaging behaviors resulted in bouncing from home to home in the foster care system. Finally, she landed in a youth lockdown facility where she finally decided to straighten herself out. Paula discovered there was a power within herself to make drastic changes. Bravely, she became determined to turn her life around.
“I am more than this!”
After realizing her life was worth fully living, Paula took action. She aged out of the foster care system and moved on to independent living. Believing that the “system” needed care and improvement, Paula joined an initiative advocating for children both in foster care and aging out of the system. Proudly, she took a position as a Life Skills teacher, providing education and real-life preparation for children aging out of the foster care system. Because of her true determination, Paula aims to provide resources, on-the-job training, and entrepreneurial education for young people moving on to independent living.
Other resources mentioned in Paula’s interview
Florida Department of Children and Families – Foster Care
Florida’s Center for Child Welfare – Normalcy Resources
More About Paula
Now, Paula is the owner of Ceh Flora Gift Co., a luxury gift company located in sunny Florida. She offers pre-curated and custom curated gift boxes, favors/swag and stationery. Happily, Paula is a married mother of two. She has been with her husband Sheldon for 12 years and they have 2 daughters, Azzaryha, 6 and Lael, 4. Paula is deeply committed to her faith, family and a small circle of friends. Some of her favorite things include all things coffee, rum raisin ice cream, music, and singing.
Before Ceh Flora, Paula worked in social work for several years, inspired by her time in foster care. She approaches every interaction as a social worker. The heart of a servant, with a detail-oriented mind and pursues goal driven outcomes with each business exchange.