Dr. Evelyn Wynn-Dixon has come a long way from the Pryor Street Bridge overlooking I-75 in Atlanta where she contemplated jumping.
In her most hopeless and helpless state she was a homeless single mother raising four children and considering committing suicide.
Wynn-Dixon believed for a long time that one careless decision had scarred her and predetermined the future course of her life.
“I felt as if everything was gone and I’d ruined my life with one poor decision,” said Wynn-Dixon.
She says her life began going on a downward spiraling road when she became pregnant during her first semester at Fort Valley State University.
Once a high school honors student and scholarship recipient, Dixon was forced to abandon her academics and return home to prepare for a new infant. Upon returning home, her mother soon passed away, and she was left to care for a six-month-old baby alone.
In order to avoid the stigma of being a single mom, she soon married. Three more children later, the marriage fell apart leaving Dixon evicted with four small ones aged between 8 weeks and 6 years old to support alone.
The Atlanta native, says she only snapped out of the overwhelming desire to give up only after she saw a vision of her mother.
“I was selfish but in the end I couldn’t do it,” said Dixon.
Although it took many years for the single mother to recover, she eventually went back to school first earning an associate degree and later a Bachelor of Science. In her early forties, Dixon went on to receive her Masters from the University of Georgia with her two sons.
After later completing a PhD in public health, she soon forged a successful career as a caseworker at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital.
Years later, Dixon is a second term mayor of the City of Riverdale in Clayton County, Georgia using the same determination to rebuild the reputation and economy of the smaller city on the outskirts of Atlanta.
However, she says her biggest goal is to use her inspiring journey to “empower, motivate and give people hope.”
Plans are already in the making to boost the local economy. Over 900 jobs have been created through railroads with the development of a plush hotel, luxury apartments and a training center.
“You can’t become a victim of your circumstances. Nobody owes you anything. If you don’t work you won’t eat, unless you’re disabled,” Dixon attests.