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Celebrating Black History Month: My Mentoring Story, Sanita Virgil

This Black History Month, BBBS is thrilled to highlight the mentoring stories of our Black staff and board members.

Sanita Virgil, Housing Court Liaison & Court Manager at Neighborhoods Inc. and BBBS board member, shares her mentoring story.

I come from a long line of strong Black women. There were three black women that “mentored” me and were part of the reason I am who I am today. 

My mother, Edna Rosell, was my first mentor. She had me as a young teenager and wanted me to graduate high school without a baby. From an early age, she told me to read.  She taught me that education was the secret to success. She often said, “You get your education, and no one can take that from you. As a Black girl in this world, you are gonna need every bit of help you can get.” She also taught me to never lie or steal.

When I got older, she always used to say, “Don’t be afraid of nobody!  Everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time just like you do. So, no matter who they are, or their title or position, they are no better than you.

My second mentor was my maternal grandmother, Edna Mae Knox, whom I affectionately called Dear because I couldn’t say “Ma’Dear” as a little girl.  She taught me that believing in God was important. She dressed me up in black patent leather shoes, white gloves, a fancy dress and gave me a purse with a dollar in it to take to church. She believed if you didn’t believe in something, you’d fall for anything. She also taught me it is important to make a good first impression. 

My great-grandmother, Eugene Carter, Big Mama, was my third mentor.  She taught me to be sweet. “You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar,” she always said.  She also taught me to be humble and kind.

All three of these women are gone now. They would be very proud of the Black woman I am today because I am all the things they taught me to be and more. The life lessons they taught me I share with those I mentor.