There is a woman in the pageant world that defies all odds to fulfill her mission of caring and sharing. Her life was impacted and changed forever when she met a lady named Ms. Albert. I find this story to be one of the most inspiring stories I have come across in the pageant world. For you see this story outshines any sparkly crown or rhinestone title. This story is one of grace, humility, and love through God. Tiara Magazine has named Roberta Cykon the most inspiring woman of the year! We commend her for the amazing work she is doing with her Ambassador program, Integrity Beauty, and with her mission of helping others. You will find Roberta in the pages of Tiara Magazine in the very near future. Enjoy this beautiful story.
Editor in Chief
There are not many chances that come into one’s life that he or she has the opportunity to meet a real life celebrity. Celebrities can come in all shapes and forms. Maybe this individual is the one that we imagine walking on the red carpet in Hollywood, but sometimes he or she is not a typical celebrity such as a Hollywood protégé. Instead, this individual is a powerful woman who has been a very important asset to the community of a Northeastern Ohio town. Her name is Ms. Helen Lucille Albert, R.N., and she has been one of the most influential friends I have ever had.
Helen Albert was born in 1921 in Argo, Alabama. Her grandmother was a slave who was purchased off the auction block in North Carolina. The slave owners made a promise to Helen’s grandmother and stated, “If you come to Alabama, and help us work on our farm, stay with us through old age and death; the land we now own will be inherited by your family for generations to come.” To this day, the land belongs to the family of Ms. Albert.
Ms. Albert was the first African American registered nurse in Trumbull County, Ohio. Her life reflected her motto: “Loving, caring and sharing.” She owned several nursing homes and a community center in Argo, Alabama. The Helen Albert Youth Community Center is a distinct indication that one’s life can be changed no matter what level he or she is on. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Black’s gift to the Albert family, she was able to change many lives, just as they changed her family’s life. Over the course of her life, she was recognized with many awards including Warren’s Woman of the Year, 1965; Honorary Mayor of the City of Warren, 1974; one of the Outstanding Women of the World, 1975; Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans Award, 1975-1976; Susan B. Anthony Award, 1980 (by Shriners and Imperial Court Daughters of Isis); and Warren Urban League Award for Outstanding Community Services, 1980. In addition to Ms. Albert’s successes, she frequently recognized the achievements of others. For example, she made it a point to recognize one Caucasian and one African American high school graduate a year in Trumbull County, Ohio. She always gave them a scholarship and crowned them in a ceremony where she honored them for their achievements.
I personally met Helen Albert in 2007 through the death of my grandmother. I made a promise to my grandmother to leave a legacy for her and continue to visit the patients at Washington Square Nursing Home; this is where my grandmother spent the last days of her life. A month before she passed, she asked me to continue to visit the patients at Washington Square Nursing Home because many were lonely and needed encouragement. In fact, I have kept my promise to my grandmother since the day she left my side in March of 2005.
One day, as I was visiting at the nursing home, a divine feeling led me to walk into Ms. Albert’s room; I was not expecting this visit to change my life forever, but it did. Ms. Albert embraced my life, and I have not been the same ever since. We both realized that we had a vision to help heal a hurting world through Jesus Christ. Though there was a fifty-year age difference, we shared a bond to inspire all people who are in need and to make a difference in the lives of people who are in pain. We agreed that so many people just want to be loved, noticed, and acknowledged for the good that they do. Through our deep discussions, we realized that there always seems to be a way that negativity, hatred, and excuses are consistently acknowledged and noticed more by society than the good deeds and kindnesses that people offer the world.
Ms. Albert has instilled values in me that I never received as a young woman. She educated me through teaching me how to become a woman of excellence regardless of those who do not support me and my goals; she taught me to use the pain through my life’s walk and turn it into a purpose to mentor others who are lost in this world. Finally, because of her profound influence on my life, I can talk about my past without shame or guilt. I know that my sins will not defeat my life. Ever since meeting her, I have been representing Ms. Albert’s message of loving, caring, and sharing. Ms. Albert lived a life of excellence and did whatever she needed to make a difference for anyone’s life regardless of his or her race, creed, or belief. She was an activist and well known in Trumbull County for the lives she helped and blessed.
Helen L. Albert was a remarkable woman who achieved her final lifetime goal of going home to be with Jesus on September 7, 2009. I believe that God smiled when she went home and said,” Well done thy good and faithful servant.” When I am asked to describe her, I always use the word “infectious.” The reason I say this is because people could not even cross her path and not have a part of her with them. Ms. Albert was the kind of individual that was anointed to help those who are in need and through her gentleness, kindness, wisdom and grace, she guided and left an ever-lasting impression in a person’s heart, which deepens a view of oneself and of others. Ms. Albert was dedicated to do all that she could to be an example and leave a footprint to those around her. There is no possible way one could have walked away from Ms. Albert and not have been empowered by her passion for God and her love to see truth, justice, and peace for all mankind.
After my grandmother passed away, I made a vow to God that I would change my life from being a wounded, broken and miserable person to someone who holds others in high regard and one who uses my life to be an inspiration. Since March of 2005, there are many things that I have done to make a difference for people. I continue to visit the residents at Washington Square Nursing Home where my grandmother passed away. I started Motivation For You, which is to help individuals turn their pain into purpose. I go to the prison to mentor youth and adult inmates and help them with their walk with Christ. I am an ordained minister and a Certified Life Coach. I am the founder of Integrity Beauty Women of Excellence, which is a National Women’s Ministry that teaches women how to use their testimonies and talk to others about Christ. Integrity Beauty Women of Excellence is dedicated to the memory of Helen L. Albert. I have worked with the city of Warren to dedicate March 30th as the Helen L. Albert Day of Prayer and Paying It Forward, which is a reminder of the genuine kindness that Ms. Albert offered to all of the community. I wanted it to be recognized as a way for people to put their faith in God and participate in one random act of kindness for someone that they do not know. I personally went to the Warren City Council to have a street, Van Wye S.W., where Helen owned a nursing home, approved as the Helen L. Albert Memorial Parkway. The mayor of Warren, Michael O’Brien, assisted me in giving a key to the city to Ms. Albert’s family.
I started college in the fall of 2011 at Youngstown State University to get my Master’s Degree in Social Work so that I can expand and lead my Integrity Beauty program on an International level and create a non-profit ministry. I intend to purchase the home that Helen Albert lived in to make it into a historical landmark, continue the museum in her home she originally started based on her life and create a residential home for women who need assistance on a temporary basis.
I was very blessed to have had the opportunity to be educated with wisdom from such a remarkable woman who was grateful for her heritage, life, and the trials that she turned into testimonies. Ms. Albert lived a memorable and fulfilled life. In truth, she lived a life that demonstrated that all people could achieve if they are willing to sacrifice, see the good in others, and use their faith to guide them.
After several years of mentoring and a friendship that grew Ms. Albert told me that she believed that it was in my heart to serve others. As a result, I was bold enough to challenge individuals to truly look at their lives and the motives of their heart and ask them the following: What they are doing to make a difference?, How are they contributing to heal this hurting world?, and How are they serving Christ?
I have been blessed in a small way by the slave owners,’ Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Black, and their kindness toward Ms. Albert’s grandmother. I have had the opportunity to spread the message that they started with Helen’s grandmother — To Love, To Care, and To Share. I continue to pass along Ms. Albert’s message into the world one person at a time. I am determined to do everything possible to make a difference as Ms. Albert’s mission lives on through Integrity Beauty and those I inspire around the world.