Stephanie, a resident at Family Scholar House, shares her journey of determination, hard work and resilience.
I am a single parent of a very beautiful, intelligent and sweet little girl who, by virtue of her birth, has permanently and most profoundly overhauled every aspect of my life. She’s changed how I think of myself and view the world around me; how I react and handle challenges and stress; and, most importantly, how I now function with a renewed decision-making process in regard to my lifestyle in general. While these changes are mostly positive, necessary and worthwhile, they are far from the personal zone I had previously established for myself.
Being born the seventh child in a family of eight children, to a single parent, we were pretty much “dirt poor”, but since that was all I ever knew, I never felt poor. However, I did learn at an early age to utilize whatever I had and make the best of it. That kind of mentality left little room for the nurturing of my personal growth. Knowing myself as I do now, I believe I could have been a good candidate for college had the opportunity presented itself, even if only in the form of a possibility. I had six siblings and a parent ahead of me who had never expressed desire or probability of higher education, so my understanding was that it was a closed door for me as well. Education was a luxury for people who already had the money to go in the first place.
During my senior year in high school, I decided to apply for a job. From that point on, I always had a job but the jobs that I obtained were mostly entry level. The always remember the faint but consistent nagging at the back of my mind echoing an inner desire to do something more with my life.
During a time in which my common sense must have eloped on a holiday of its own, I took on a relationship that I somehow believed was headed for wedlock. With my head dancing in the clouds, I dropped my guard and became pregnant. Of course, before the child was born, I was slapped back into reality when the soured relationship left me standing alone, pregnant and making a wage that was barely enough for me to exist on. It was no longer just about me.
When this adorable creature was born, I knew that my life’s mission was forever changed. Whatever it takes, this child will know opportunities are afforded to her, she will utilize them, and she will be able to benefit from the limitless success of walking into whatever endeavor she pursues and prepares for! This is not my only dream for her, but now an objective for my own life.
From her birth, until she was a year old, I attempted to apply for alternate employment to move up from where I was, but the same response halted my movement- no degree, not enough education. Following another year of serious prayer, research and careful planning, I made the decision to go to school full time to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Throughout this endeavor, hard work and determination have brought me a long way.
On my way to class one day, I ran into an angel in the hallway of UofL who told me about Family Scholar House. Once I attended orientation and became involved in the program, I began to believe that this was a blessing designed specifically for me. In addition to providing housing, Family Scholar House helped me to systematically tackle every struggle I had ever encountered during my two-year matriculation through college. In addition to no longer having to worry about childcare, or even the most basic needs, such as food, shelter and toiletries, Family Scholar House provided a supportive community. This community supports my academic goals but even more than that, the goals I have for my life and my daughters life. I am now in an environment that understands the importance of education and does everything possible to help keep me on track while I pursue my dreams. This program offers programs that have made such an impact on my daughters life, she now has the opportunity to attend Toddler Book Club & begin building her own personal library in our apartment.
Now, I have not only envisioned and planned for an educational journey that is destined to submit positive change for myself and my family, with Family Scholar House, I now have the necessary tools I need to help me better accomplish my goals. I give thanks for where I started, where I am going and all the individuals that have played a role in offering me guidance and support. I finally feel that there is no limit on what I can accomplish! It may have taken me longer than I hoped to get to this point, but I can only be described as a conqueror because I will have overcome many obstacles to achieve that which will not only enhance my life, but also enhance my daughters life!