What motivates you? Ask this of a random crowd, and you will probably get wildly different responses across the board. For Macomb student Tranyssa Booker, the answer is as unique as her name: helping others with the sole intent of making the world a better place.
Booker spent much of her childhood volunteering, raking leaves and shoveling walkways for neighbors, as well as feeding the less fortunate. Now 28, she actively passes her passion for altruism, community service and cultural awareness to her daughter, 13. The duo has participated in Macomb’s annual MLK Day of Service and is currently working toward earning a Macomb Multicultural International Initiatives certificate.
“If we help one another, the world would really be a better place,” says Booker, who recently returned from a welfare trip to Puerto Rico. While there, she discovered that some people are still without lights following Hurricane Maria, the catastrophic storm that hit the island in 2017. She hopes to collaborate with a couple of individuals she met there and in Saint Martin to establish a program where she can assist residents with basic needs, such as clothing.
“My dream job would be to travel the world and help people,” says Booker, whose drive led her to establish a non-profit community garden, Brazill Eden of Nourishment (BEON), in 2016. She also actively volunteers with Keep Growing Detroit, a garden-based organization which, in turn, provides her with seeds for BEON. In order to grow her charitable efforts, she came to Macomb to pursue a degree in pre-social work.
Years prior, Booker attended community college in her hometown of Grand Rapids, after high school. She felt she wasn’t adequately prepared for it, and she struggled. Her experiences at Macomb changed everything.
“I’ve attended several community colleges,” says Booker, “and I actually love Macomb most out of all of them.”
Macomb has provided Booker with the resources she needs to succeed, “from the Reading and Writing Studios to the math tutors.” In addition, she receives monetary aid through the Federal Work-Study program, now serving her second semester with the Provost’s Office. “I don’t feel like I’m in it by myself at Macomb,” says Booker, who believes the supportive atmosphere on campus has greatly contributed toward her success.
“It gives me that extra motivation to do what I have to do,” says Booker. “Not only do I care, but the people that are actually here to help me progress care.”
While Booker plans to graduate in May, she has already created a lasting impression on her family, the first among her grandmother’s 12 kids and her nine cousins to receive a college degree. Not content to stop there, she will continue her social work studies at Oakland University, where she plans to pursue both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
“I hope to make a generational change for those coming and those before me,” says Booker. “I hope that my accomplishments do change the course of my family and the things that they see are attainable.”