Bryana Sanders: A Bright Light
“I wasn’t an athlete,” says Bryana Sanders. “I didn’t get to study abroad. I didn’t complete an ACRE project. But I was known at Albright for my character and my optimism. I was the Spirit Officer. Brighten up their day with a smile. I was just being myself. Despite any tough situations I faced throughout my life, I’ve always been optimistic.”
Homelessness. That’s what Sanders was dealing with when she first came to Albright. Her home life, she says, was jumping from house to house of family or friends, or motels, or transitional stays. With worries about her mom and little brother, Sanders says it was hard to focus at school. On school breaks she would join them wherever they were. “It was difficult going to different places—not having a stable home.”
In 2016, after three years of being displaced, their situation improved. “We weren’t homeless anymore,” says Sanders. “I was able to focus more at school. It was liberating to know my family had a home and wasn’t being kicked out or mistreated.”
Sanders sums up her harrowing experience with grace, integrity, and wisdom beyond her years: “If you focus on the optimism, on the light, on your purpose in life—and that everything is not about you—then how could you not accept the call on your life? How can you not accept that you’re a human being and that there are others, like you, who need help? How do you not want better for everyone?
“If you focus on that rather than yourself, there’s a world of possibilities out there. There’s only one way of doing things. There’s only positivity and love going forward. You just focus on that. There’s always been light in the darkness for me.”
With that bright outlook, Sanders not only thrived on campus but also found time to volunteer with the 13th Street Educational Partnership and the PA Migrant Education Program where she tutored and mentored children. “These experiences were some of the most challenging and rewarding of my entire Albright career, and the ones that I truly cherish most. I love those kids.”
Sanders, with her wealth of optimism, is exploring her next opportunity. Perhaps graduate school to earn a master’s degree in counseling.