Colts honor IUPUI employee as Anthem Angel
December 13, 2016
As the scholarship coordinator for IUPUI's 21st Century Scholars program, Brooke Moreland-Williams is used to making a difference in young people's lives. But how much of a difference she didn't know -- until several of the students she has helped nominated her for the 2016 Indianapolis Colts Anthem Angels program.
The program is a collaboration between the Colts and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield to honor everyday heroes who make a difference in the community.
Moreland-Williams' selection provided her and four guests with tickets for the Nov. 20 Colts home game against the Tennessee Titans. Her recognition wasn't the only thing celebrated that week; that game was also the time the Colts chose to welcome home former players and coaches who were part of the organization's Super Bowl championship team for the 2006 NFL season.
Stephanie Pemberton, left, senior director of marketing for the Indianapolis Colts, presented a plaque to Brooke Moreland-Williams of IUPUI's 21st Century Scholars program as a memento of being chosen as an Anthem Angel. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BROOKE MORELAND-WILLIAMS AND THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
The "welcome home" aspects of that weekend were particularly meaningful for Moreland-Williams, who overcame homelessness as a youngster to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees. Her life's journey has helped her assist scores of the more than 2,000 IUPUI students who are part of the 21st Century Scholars program.
"I am a first-generation college student who graduated from the Indianapolis Public Schools system," she said. "Statistics said I would face many challenges not only in graduating from college on time, but in trying to earn my master's degree in higher education and student affairs. Now I have the opportunity to help students who struggle with some of the same issues that I faced as a high school and college student."
Moreland-Williams has used her background to help build a year-round financial literacy program called ScholarCents, which educates students on ways to handle their student accounts, manage their finances and navigate their way through offices on campus.
Her life has given Moreland-Williams a unique perspective. "I have developed community programs and worked with homeless, marginalized and even low socio-economic student populations," she said. "It is an honor to work for the 21st Century Scholars Program because I was part of that program in high school and when I attended Butler University."
Moreland-Williams' experiences have also made her determined to add a doctoral degree to her portfolio, which would move her closer to her long-range goal: to work in student affairs or as the dean of a school of education. Education was the key that unlocked the door to her success, she says, and she intends to play a pivotal role in helping others emulate her success story.
Those who nominated her described Moreland-Williams as "compassionate, positive, selfless and dedicated," qualities she uses to encourage others. She knows the power that college provided her, and she wants others to enjoy the same opportunity. Toward that end, she started the Rose of Hope Foundation, a mentoring organization that encourages youth to make better decisions and offers resources to help achieve success.