There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Elyse Berman | Pet-Friendly Real Estate Agent

I was born and raised in New York and have been living in the Boca/Delray area for 25 years. I grew up with wonderful parents who were kind, smart and had integrity. I didn’t realize it at the time, but there was no other way but the truth. The only thing I couldn’t have was a dog! So the day I moved into the city, I got a dog and have had at least one (or more) ever since. Kids in New York grow up street smart. I think this had a lot to do with who I became, along with being a court reporter in New York. Court Reporting gave me a great background and taught me many things. I saw people with integrity and those without. To me, integrity is everything. Unfortunately, I got sick and had to give up reporting. I am lucky to have had a second career in real estate. It was through my passion for real estate, dogs and the law that I am who I am today. Read more>>

Katie M. Berggren | Motherhood Painter

I grew up with three siblings, my mother and father, in a small town in North Washington State. We had 9 acres, most of it fields and forests. We, of course, didn’t have computers or cell phones, and being very rural, we could access only a couple tv channels. This meant cartoons on Saturday mornings, but most of my days were spent exploring the creek and trees, the barn fort, the grassy fields and muddy puddles. My friends lived up and down the hill from us and we played in haylofts and under branches. My sister and my brothers and I spent a lot of time building forts, playing with animals and wandering. I suppose we knew when to come in for meals, but I imagine we played right through sometimes. We raised kittens, chickens, bunnies. We had a horse, a goat, a couple dogs over the years. Read more>>

Prince Durocher | Dancer & Entertainer

My name is Prince Durocher and I am from Broward County FL. My parents are from Haiti and they came here so I can become something. My upbringing was rough. I was bullied for being fat at a young age and being poor. My parents ended up getting a divorce I lived with my mom along side my brother. Fast forward to 2012 where my mom met another guy and had my sister. Sadly my step father passed from pancreas cancer. It tore my mom apart because she was already sick and we were just getting by. My mother ended up passing a couple years after him from heart failure. As of now I take care of my siblings and they are truly all I have. My upbringing impacted me massively. It created characteristics like dedication, perseverance, resilience and many more. It showed me the inner strength that I thought I never had as a young kid. Read more>>

Valon Alford, MSW, LCSW, LICSW | Clinical Social Worker, Sex Therapist & Sex Educator

I was born in Pascagoula, MS, but I grew up in Durham, NC. I am a first generation college graduate born to teen parents. My parents worked hard to provide for our family. Iam the oldest of six children, and my role as a big sister has informed every aspect of my life, including choosing to change my major in college from nursing to Human Development and Family Studies. I always knew what we lacked in material things we had tenfold in love. I worked to put myself through college- customer service agent, mortgage collector, certified nursing assistant, cashier. Once I graduate high school, I was pretty much on my own. I knew I had a safety blanket to keep me from being homeless, but everything else was up to me. I learned a lot being on my own. I learned a great deal about the world and how systems work, but most importantly I learned who I was. Read more>>