CONTACT: Kenneth A. Brown, OSBA, 800-282-6556 or 614-487-4426
Columbus, OHIO (April 23, 2012) – Sonya Cook is a driven individual with a passion for helping others. Becoming a mother shortly before her freshman year of college was a challenge, not a roadblock. She went on to complete her undergraduate studies and earn both a master’s degree and her law degree. Cook is now using her personal experience to help central Ohio teenage mothers obtain college degrees.
Cook has created a nonprofit organization called Purposed. She explains, “My goal is to help young ladies navigate academia and ultimately find their professional niche—to help them understand that, regardless of the fact they’ve become teenaged mothers, they don’t have to become negative statistics.” Cook chose the name “Purposed” in order to stress that despite circumstances, these young women are still “purposed” to do something meaningful and significant.
Although Purposed is still in its early stages, Cook expects the organization will serve both the academic and non-academic needs of teenage mothers. Types of assistance may include ACT and SAT preparation, help with college visits and assistance with basic housing needs once a young mother is enrolled in a college or university. Cook hopes to be a vital resource to those who are in situations very similar to her own. She believes that her own experience will help her relate to the challenges these young women face. She offers, “I cannot overstate how difficult it was at times and how many things I could not do, or chose not to do, because of what I ultimately wanted for myself and my son, and because I always knew it was possible to move forward academically, professionally and socially.” She proudly adds that her son, Dom, is completing his freshman year of college.
Cook currently serves as in-house counsel for the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots in Gahanna. She enjoys all aspects of her job, and in particular, her work with the pilots. “I’ve come to know many of the pilots personally over the years,” Cook said. “Those relationships make the experience of serving as an advocate much more meaningful.”
Cook graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in hearing and speech sciences. She earned her master’s degree in labor and human resources from The Ohio State University and her law degree from OSU’s Moritz College of Law. An eight-year member of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), she has completed the OSBA Leadership Academy and was appointed to the OSBA Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee in 2011. Cook commented about the Leadership Academy, “It reminded me that, even though it’s not always convenient, many people are making sacrifices on a daily basis so they can make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
Cook attributes her faith, family and friends as great sources of support. Through her nonprofit work, she hopes to provide such support and guidance to the young women of Purposed. “I’m really excited to get started,” she said. “I truly want great things to happen for these girls and their children, and I believe we’re putting together a program that can—and will—help them defy the odds.”
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.