Struthers students hope to inspire others with messages of faith
By Samantha Phillips
Some Struthers students are putting pens to paper and self-publishing books they hope will inspire other people.
Three students in particular share a love of writing, faith in God and an appreciation for the role models who helped guide them.
Ayana Symone Beulah wrote a book called “How I Fell in Love with Myself.” She is a Struthers senior, and through the Youngstown State University College Credit Plus program, she has about 21 college credit hours under her belt. She plans to earn an English degree.
Her fictional story is about a young woman who is going through a break-up and goes on a journey of self-discovery, while grappling with issues such as self-doubt, self-esteem and betrayal. The titular character, Christa, is a reflection of herself, she said.
“The book talks about faith a lot. I was really confident in my faith and what I can achieve through Jesus Christ, and in that way I could make the book about my own life and not just about me,” she said.
“In this society, there are so many things changing, and this book addresses those issues. Is this OK? Is this acceptable? I’m hoping to answer some of those questions in the book and make it relatable for readers.”
Ever since she read “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume, she said she felt inspired to write a book, and started writing her book as a freshman. She hopes to someday move to New York and start a career as an author.
“I always knew she was going to be someone special. I couldn’t be more grateful and proud,” said Gerald Beulah, her father.
A pair of siblings from Struthers credit their mother for encouraging them to pursue writing.
“My mother is my motivator,” said Brialan Douglass, a Struthers junior. His sister, Arlessa Douglass, said she was inspired by watching her mother write poetry.
Brialan wrote a book called “From My Heart to Yours: The Hopeful Journey of an Autistic Child,” a compilation of short fictional stories and poems.
“I wanted to create characters with a story that reflects on my own life. I love to write. It was healing to write about my past,” he said.
Brialan said his fictional short stories are based on his experiences and emotions as a domestic-abuse survivor.
“I want to help others. I want to help kids who are going through what I went through,” he said. “My greatest strength, I found, was the courage to be a voice for those people.”
He said he hopes to someday become a mentor for young kids.
Arlessa Douglass, a Struthers graduate, wrote a prayer book with their mother, Michelle Carter-Douglass, called “In Our Storms We Have God.”
“My mom is so strong. She is my inspiration,” she said.
Watching her mother struggle with depression after a divorce and then start to heal by writing compelled her to try her hand at it. In the prayer book, she wrote with her mom, she included prayers and poems to comfort people going through rough times.
The books can be bought on Amazon, and Beulah’s book can be bought on the website ayanasymone.com.