Breezy’s end goal is to become a pediatric occupational therapist. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Services, and hopes to enter Western Michigan University’s fast-track Occupational Therapy Program, which would allow her to graduate in five years with both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Breezy wants to work with children with special needs as an Occupational Therapist. Years ago, she had the opportunity to work for a family who had an infant on the autism spectrum. She took him to occupational therapy appointments and her interest was piqued from then on. After making a hard decision to leave an unhealthy relationship and situation, Breezy had to completely start over. Ten years later, she is making her dreams a reality and supporting her children.
“I know that with my supportive family and my determination I can do this. The only obstacle is finances, but I will find a way to make it work! I know I’ll be a good occupational therapist, and maybe someday I’ll even teach occupational therapy classes. Even now, at almost 40, I am so excited about my future!” - Breezy B.
Meet Maritza! Martiza is s first generation Cuban-American and is excited to finally be on the road to receiving the college degree she has always dreamed of. So here she is, 30 years later setting an example for her children that "education is the only hope for a successful future". "I took a 30 year detour on my journey to a college education, and now find myself a middle aged mom and wife. I truly appreciate how important an education is, something I clearly took for granted at the tender age of 18. As a result, I feel a deep desire to set an example for women, Latinos and especially moms who like myself, for whatever reason were unable to finish their degrees and now find themselves later in life thinking they can’t go back and they’re “stuck”. I want to inspire them that if I can do this at 47, ANYONE can! Thank you to Coca-Cola and the Jeannette Rankin Fund for their generosity in helping me to pursue my life-long dream of a college education. There's NO WAY I could have accomplished this without them!" - JRF Scholar Martiza
Meet Tina! In 2007, Tina decided to enroll in a community college for a Human Services degree. During that time of her life, Tina found herself pregnant, afraid, alone, and living in a domestic violence shelter. Nevertheless, Tina graduated with her Associate’s in 2009. She has continued on toward her Bachelor’s and hopes to work with women infected with HIV/AIDS as a social worker.
She also wants to go on to get her Licensed Masters in Social Work! Tina was the only one of her family to receive her high school degree and has already come so far from where she once was. While jugging life as a single-mom and going back to school, Tina started her own non-profit in 2016, Southern Charm Charities, a community outreach agency aimed at coordinating youth and volunteer programs.
“I love to learn, grow, and pay it forward and I believe I that having the opportunity to continue my education is a great investment for a future social worker dedicated to alleviating the conditions of those in need of help and social assistance. My surroundings drive me to succeed and make a positive change.”- JRF Scholar Tina
Meet Ilona! Ilona was a fully trained nurse when she lived in Poland, but her move to the U.S. made it impossible for her to continue practicing without getting U.S. certified credentials. She took a step back from pursuing her dreams and education in order to raise her son and put him through college. Now, she is taking back the reins on her future and is working towards her degree in nursing. "Your scholarship will allow me to pursue not only the academic goal but also my life-long passion of being involved in patient care. As I have discovered during my OB clinical this year, the skills I developed while working with newborns in Poland are still with me to this day and makes working in a similar setting feel as if I never left! This is an amazing feeling! Thank you Jeannette Rankin Foundation and Coca-Cola for making it possible for me to find and pursue my passion again." JRF Scholar Ilona
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