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Halifax Community College (HCC) welcomed Dr. Angelia D. Nelson during a reading of her book, "The Ghetto Is Not My Final Destination," Feb. 21. The event, sponsored by Student Support Services and Student Government Association, was part of Black History Month festivities on campus.

A Philadelphia, Pa. resident, Nelson grew up in Garysburg, N.C. "You don't have to be from a big city to realize your dreams," said Nelson. "Be serious and passionate about living your best life."

An inspirational speaker, Nelson is driven to positively affect the lives of urban youth who have suffered from inadequate schooling, a lack of parental guidance, poverty, and neighborhoods infested with violence and drugs. She wrote "The Ghetto Is Not My Final Destination" in 2005 to provide young girls with motivating and insightful information to assist them on their journey to securing a brighter future.

"Most people think of the ghetto as being a physical place, but it's a state of mind. It can be any restriction that you have placed on yourself or allowed someone else to place on you," Nelson continued. "Recognize and embrace your greatness and manifest the glory of God."

Nelson also emphasized gaining knowledge, living one's imagination, being around only positive people and claiming one's future. She added, "Find your niche, your passion. What is that thing that keeps you locked and focused?"

A former Tuskegee University women's basketball head coach, Nelson has more than 15 years of experience working with underprivileged children. She is currently working with three-time USA Olympian and professional basketball player Dawn Staley, creating quality academic, cultural and sport programs for inner city children in Philadelphia.

Nelson is the youngest of four children. She earned her undergraduate degree from Elizabeth City State University, a master's degree in sport administration from Florida A&M University, and a doctorate from Florida State University in sport administration.