Annette Rodgers is a true testament of life changing success. A South Philadelphia native, she went by the moniker “Teen.” Her father, who tirelessly worked to raise all seven of his children after the death of his beloved wife Carolyn Ann, cared for her. Due to her love of and talent for basketball, she became one of the most popular kids in the neighborhood. It was all but predestined that Annette was heading for the NCAA.
In 1986, Annette’s senior year of high school, she became pregnant with her only son. Annette’s pregnancy was vaguely noticeable, which kept the focus on her phenomenal moves and plays. College scouts watched her from the edge of their seats, intrigued by her talent. After the birth of her son Ishmael, and her graduation from South Philadelphia High School, Annette was approached by many universities. However, she chose Cheyney University because they seemed almost like a second family, showing no judgment toward her difficult situation as a teen mother and all of the support they offered her. She went on to accept a basketball scholarship invitation from Cheyney, becoming one of the Lady Wolves basketball players and a team MVP. Known by her nickname “Big Moe” she carried the Lady Wolves to the Final Four within two years of her admission to Cheney. In 2010, “Big Moe” was inducted into the Cheyney University Athletic Hall of Fame. She holds the record for rebounds (29) and for points scored (over 1,000). To date no one has broken these records.
In 1990 however, Annette’s life would take a turn for the worst. She dropped out of college and became dependent upon drugs, ultimately resulting in homelessness. By Annette’s recollection, she recalls that she engaged in 18 years of addiction-based behaviors. In 2007, Annette reached out to a relative for help and entered “One Day at a Time” (ODAAT) for treatment. She completed her treatment program and remains drug free to date. She was offered employment as a residential advisor due to her exceptional recovery experience, and served in that capacity for approximately four years. During her tenure as residential advisor, she began to see who she once was through the eyes, and behavior of her clients. Today she is committed to helping others through mentorship and public speaking about her tumultuous experiences with drugs, and assists others in maintaining their sobriety.
A year after her time served as a residential advisor, Annette signed a lease with 1260 housing, a subsidiary through Shelter Plus Care and now resides in a beautiful apartment located in the West Philadelphia area of the city. Annette represents the welcome committee for her building and is always willing to lend a hand to everyone.
Later Annette’s health took a nosedive as she required two hip replacements and was unable to work at the time. While on medical leave from her job, she assessed her life’s current progress and made a conscious decision to return to Cheyney University. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in May 2014. She is currently completing her senior year as an intern at “One Day at a Time,” gaining the 480 hours of field experience required for her graduation. In addition to her already remarkable achievements, Annette maintains a commendable 4.0 GPA.
In summation, living in recovery is never an easy task. However, anything is possible with enough faith, along with the drive to live a purposeful life. After obtaining her degree, Annette anticipates opening Project T.E.E.N. (Taking Experience Encouraging Newness), a nonprofit personal care home for addicts and homeless individuals. She will enrich the lives of others profoundly with her experience and this, her newest accomplishment. These second chances were a great blessing, and Annette owes all her thanks to ODAAT and Cheyney University for believing in her.