It's time to value education beyond measurements of achievement and titles, and keep up with our brilliant young people who are becoming innovators, creators, and compassionate problem solvers.
"I protect the worth and authenticity of teens so that they feel ready to take on the world with every sense of who they are and will become. It took time to completely understand my contribution in this way.
Being in higher education for over two decades humbled me. The longer I stayed in this profession, the more I began to understand that it wasn’t morally right for me to represent only one path after high school. My movement changing roles within college admissions - working for a university, then a high school, and finally an independent college consultant - was driven by my personal mission to keep college planning teen-centered. In order to stay the course, I worked with entire families to ensure that core values and the words we used with our teens were aligned. Through these experiences, it became clear that my responsibilities as their educator could influence the outcomes that would last way beyond their college years - both in how teens would make decisions along the way of their educational journey and how they would build upon their bonds with the adults who raised them.
When it was finally my turn to raise a teen, it was a moment of utter vulnerability where I finally understood the annoyances of parent anxiety. The lessons and work to overcome the worries, concerns, and fears took time. I had to learn how to trust my teen and the relationship we shared. It was that simple, but it was tough. It remains the greatest learning lesson in my lifetime as I continue parenting, educating, and becoming a good human being.."
"After hearing Allie's interview with Paul Rogers this past summer, I read my first issue of AwareNow and two significant discoveries happened: 1. I realized that AwareNow and Awareness Ties was my NEWS. The stories, people, and call to action within these causes and magazine would be the way I would learn about my world, my responsibilities, and my contribution. 2. Awareness Ties is everything inclusive. There are no outsiders or even insiders. Instead, there is universal sense of belonging, which has become my core value as a parent, educator, and entrepreneur. This is a family I want to belong to."
Sonja has served more than twenty-one years in the college admissions profession, having extensive experience in the areas of freshman, transfer, and international admissions. During her time working with thousands of teens and young adults worldwide, she began to witness many societies creating an unhealthy college-bound culture that misguides our young people in their pursuit of living a life of fulfillment. In 2021, Sonja met Hilary Bilbrey to begin something amazing. They created The DH Effect – The Decided Heart Effect with a mission to guide individuals, schools, and organizations to build high-trust relationships and belonging through self-discovery and personal accountability. Together, Sonja and Hilary come with over 40 years of experience consulting in the areas of college admissions, life coaching, education, parenting, marriage and friendship. For Sonja, she believes that The DH Effect will help heal and unite those who influence the lives of children, which can shift the needle in how adults inspire our children to dream beyond the titles of engineers, business leaders, teachers, and doctors. Instead, our children will aspire to become innovators, creators, and compassionate problem solvers, which is what our world requires right now.