The beautiful Blessing Sam is a radio and TV presenter, an event compere and Educationist. Currently working with teenagers, Blessing uses her famous radio and TV program, Teens’ Issues Africa, as a means of reaching out to both teenagers, parents and the society at large with the aim of proffering solutions to pertinent issues that affect young people especially teenagers.
“It was an area noted for high crime. My mum had her first child at thirteen and two of my older sisters got pregnant before they turned seventeen and dropped out of school. Growing up in such an environment, seeing my sisters and several of my class mates, dropping out of school was enough motivation…”
Some of the things Blessing has accomplished, asides her weekly on air programs, is reaching out to students with lots of interesting programs that will make them eager to participate and give their listening ears at last. Some of the programs she has hosted through Teens’ Issues Africa include: Calabar Teens Poetry competition 2017 and 2018 Edition, Calabar Teens Show 2016 and 2017 Edition, School tours and sensitization programs for teenagers, and weekly talent exhibition programs for teenagers on TV which is ongoing currently. Working with young people indeed gives Blessing a sense of fulfilment and hope for the future. Her experience while growing up helped her uderstand that the teenage years are a very challenging one and if teens get it right early, then their future is secured.
Blessing Sam narrates her story herself
“I grew up in a community, “Calabar South,” in Cross River State, Nigeria. It was an area noted for high crime. My mum had her first child at thirteen and two of my older sisters got pregnant before they turned seventeen and dropped out of school. Growing up in such an environment, seeing my sisters and several of my class mates, dropping out of school was enough motivation, compelling me to make a difference. At 13, my involvement in the teens church and peer educator group, built my confidence and gave me opportunities to start talking to my classmates and other peers on premarital and unprotected sex, sexually transmitted diseases, peer pressure and having positive self esteem. And as a teen leader in our local teens church, the desire to talk to other young people and making conscious efforts to be a good example kept growing.
My burning desire to reach out to more people beyond the church environment, knowing that there are more vulnerable teens on the streets and homes than in church gave birth to Teens’ Issues Africa. It was not easy when I started, the first person I shared my TV program idea with did not see the possibility, I was walked out of the first TV studio I went to start up presenting because I was not qualified, my first 3 recorded audios for radio were not aired because the producer said it wasn’t good enough for airing, the studio manager at the TV studio I did my first production insisted on changing my program arrangement because for her it was not usual and made no sense to her… she did not see the same pictures in my mind, and this almost cost my airtime but I was not jarred or discouraged by disappointment and snags. I knew that if God could put the idea in my mind, it was possible to be a reality.
Tough times don’t last but tough people do, and they understand the importance of moving ahead.
“What I am doing is important because it gives me joy and a sense of fulfilment each time teenagers and parents thank me for being a blessing and giving tangible solutions when they really needed it through my programmes. My program helps teenagers stand out, chart a course for their lives, discover their potentials, shun violence, peer pressure and social vices, giving them a sense of care while helping them make informed decisions.
My life experience is a model for many teenagers to follow, I may not have reached the top of social climb or fame, I may not have achieved things men use as a yard stick to judge outstanding achievements in our contemporary society, however, I seek to use my life experiences and program to assure teenagers that whatever challenges that betide them, they can come out strong. As a teenagers, are you an orphan or raised by a single parent, are you faced with financial challenges in school or living with your foster parents? Are you having pressures from friends to give into sexual promiscuity or join bad a gang or cult? I faced these challenges, I came out strong.
I lost my mum at 13 and my Dad was not financially bouyant to foot my academics nor play the role of a mother in my life while growing up. I needed money to take care of myself and my academics and I had options of tolling the part of sexual promiscuity to meet my financial needs, but I chose to hawk goods on the streets just to keep myself in school. Haven gone through all these and other challenges which time will not permit me to state here, I bagged my first degree, my programe is being aired weekly on radio and TV, I anchor live TV programs on the state TV (Cross River State Broadcasting Cooperation) I have received awards recognizing my contribution and influence in the lives of teenagers and all of these are just but the beginning of many great things ahead!”