Dr. Bertice Berry, author and speaker


Raising Hope: A Journey from the Streets to Success

On Thursday, April 20, Dr. Bertice Berry, inspirational speaker and best-selling author of “I’m On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head,” will step on stage to share her inspiring story as this year’s keynote speaker at Raising Hope, Union Mission’s annual spring fundraising event.

The sixth of seven children, Berry grew up poor in Wilmington, Delaware. Told by a high school teacher that she was “not college material,” Berry was nonetheless gifted with the support of another instructor who believed she was destined for more. With help and hope, Berry applied to college, eventually graduating Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University in Florida. She would go on to earn a Ph.D. in Sociology from Kent State University.

Far from the poverty of her youth, Berry was now the teacher inspiring hope in the hearts of young adults. She began teaching at Kent, her lectures becoming so popular the school had to find larger lecture halls to accommodate the ever-increasing number of students.

“A colleague said to me, ‘You’re funny,’ and I said, ‘No I’m not, I’m a scholar,” recounts Dr. Berry.

It was then she realized using humor in her lectures to address such difficult subjects made a profound impact. From there, Dr. Berry became an award-winning entertainer, lecturer, and comedian, even winning the coveted national Comedian of the Year Award. Soon her schedule came to include over 200 appearances a year.

Today, Dr. Berry lives with her five adopted children in Savannah, where she has taken a very active role in supporting organizations that benefit those in need – a support that has not gone unrecognized. In 2011, Savannah Technical College President Dr. Kathy Love along with Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson dedicated a new Student Enrichment Facility to Dr. Berry and presented her with the Bertice Berry Change & Transformation Classrooms.


In addition to her community involvement, Berry has graciously donated all of the royalties from the sales of her books to organizations that help families in transition, raise funds for scholarships, and provide resource information to low-income families. She understands that people need more than just encouragement to move forward, but believes motivation and purpose are the foundation of change which will get individuals on the right journey.

“When you walk with purpose,” Dr. Berry says, “you collide with destiny!”

Raising Hope will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah. The evening will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Dress is business casual and tickets are $125 a person or $1,100 for a table of 10. For patron tickets and sponsorship opportunities, contact Laura Lane McKinnon at (912) 236- 7423 ext. 1148 or lmckinnon@unionmission.org.


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