“A smile and a hug is the same in any language and that is a gift I can keep giving.”
This is the mantra and mission of Gayann Dacosta, today’s #RealLifeWonderWoman. She is a wife, mother, Delta Air Lines Brand Advisor and a passionate servant leader.
Volunteering is her jam! She uses her superpowers to deliver support and unconditional love to children all over the world.
I’m so pleased to introduce you to real-life Wonder Woman, Gayann Dacosta!
KR: Please tell us about what brings you joy and fulfillment.
GD: First I am a wife and mother to a 14 year old daughter who aspires to be the CEO of a major airline company one day.
I am a determined, passionate and optimistic person who finds the most joy from giving back. Volunteering is my life’s passion and is my DNA, ever since I was around 10 years of age when some missionaries came to my church in Jamaica and I was drawn to this particular lady named Ms. Sophia. Her smile made the world seemed so small and in those two short weeks I felt like I was the only kid among hundreds who gathered each evening for church service. I would rush every evening to attend service just so I could get a hug from her and sit next to her as I listen to hear sing, dance and entertain us. On the last night she was leaving I was so sad and crying as we said our goodbyes. She hugged me really tight and said in my ear, “You can get to hug other kids just like me when you grow up and you will never feel sad.” Those words I remember to this day and it is my life mission to give as many hugs and brighten smiles all over the globe.
I am an active member of several Business Resource Groups (BRG) at work which provides volunteer opportunities and I am always just making sure my schedule is just right so I can participate in upcoming events.
I am currently a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa bay and I have a little sister who I get to hang out with every week. We just have so much fun. I am fulfilled each day I walk into her school and she looks up from her desk and sees me standing in the doorway. At that moment nothing else matters as she races across the class to give me the biggest hugs. Recently I travelled to Jerusalem and volunteered at an orphanage that takes care of disabled kids. Most of them cannot speak and the ones that do, speak no English and yet with a hug and a smile you become fast friends. I always say a smile and a hug is the same in any language and that is a gift I can keep giving.
As an active volunteer and fundraiser for Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, and She is Safe, I use my time and voice to share love all over the world. I also sponsor less fortunate children who get a chance at an education at Stratton Early Childhood Education Center in Kingston Jamaica since 2014.
My dream is to wake up every day and volunteer my time; give from my heart and to share love unconditionally. This will ensure that more children have a fair chance at education and the necessities of life without worrying where their next meal is coming from.
KR: We all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
GD: I would say some of my inner superpowers are:
Humility – growing up in Manchester Jamaica under some harsh circumstances has caused me to be very humble. I do not take any thing in life for granted and I welcome feedback as I strive to be the best “me.” Life is truly a gift!
Compassion – I care about people, I have been told so many times by different individuals that I cannot save every child, I sure wish I could. But I am committed to at least save one more.
Kindness – Someone made a difference to me by volunteering in Jamaica when I was only 10 years-old and every day I pass that kindness along. Nothing is too important that I cannot share it with someone else.
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
GD: My mother has had the greatest impact on my life in so many ways. She is an immigrant to the United States and was not given the opportunity to attend school as she was the oldest daughter in a family of ten siblings. She was tasked with taking care of her younger siblings daily while the other children went to school. She would use their books and teach herself to read then went on to earn a certificate from a cooking school which she used to get a job in the hotel industry leading her to become the Head Cook before she migrated to the USA. After coming to the USA, she went back to school to become a Certified Nursing Assistant which she pursued until she retired recently. I am reminded every day that no matter what challenges I face, if she did it without a proper education I can do anything with all the opportunities that come my way. Her strength and remarkable work ethics can be seen in her five successful children who have all attended college and are productive citizens in this great country. I am so proud of the influence she has given me to make a difference in this world and to never give up.
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be?
GD: One super-human power I would like to have would be flying. When a child is in danger anywhere around the world I would be there in a jiffy to rescue them.
KR: What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
GD: I travel for fun with my family, always looking at our schedules to see when we can have some time to take another three-day trip to another country. I also love playing Mexican train with my mom and her friends.
KR: Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
GD: Take school more seriously and go straight to college after high school.