2017 Sheilah A. Foundation Scholarship Recipient
Tell us about the person you lost to homicide?
I lost my father to homicide when I was about seven years old. I didn’t really get to know who he was or really bond with him. It was tough growing up without a father, but I made it through.
How has the SAD Foundation influenced your life?
The SAD Foundation has influenced me by making me want to always volunteer and help others. The big buddy program (the former name of the foundation’s mentoring program) was a great program. It is what influenced me the most. My big buddy watched me grow and helped me mature into the young lady that I am today. She has watched me grow for about six years and every year she tells me how I have grown. Now I want to share that same influence with younger people.
What is your most memorable experience at Camp Sheilah?
The most memorable experience of camp was always being with my big buddy. I believe the buddy program was very important to the camp’s overall effectiveness. She was like the support system I never really had. She understood me when I needed her to, guided my decisions, and gave advice when needed. Support is very important when grieving. Big bud-dies were always there to make you smile and hug you when you needed. The bond was also something that I could take away from camp.
How did you feel when you found out about the scholarship?
When I found out about the scholarship I was pretty excited. Not only were they offering me an experience but also support for my future. I felt like the camp wanted to help their campers in any way that they could and I think that is very important — which is why I want to come back to give back and volunteer.
Tell us more about coming back as a volunteer.
I want to come back and help others receive the same, if not better, experience I did. I want to see the new way the camp is run and continue to learn new coping skills for myself and sharing them with others. Coming back will also help keep connections with some of the great people that I met through the camp.
What’s next up for you?
I’m not really sure what’s next for me. I am just taking life day by day as it comes. I’m planning on continuing my college journey and earning at least a 3.5 (GPA), getting an internship this summer to get a head start on some things, and helping people to the best of my ability. I want to join a mentoring program because I know how mentors can impact your life, help you grow and direct you to the right path. Hopefully, when I come back as a volunteer, I will be able to be a big buddy in the near future.
What’s your next peak?
I don’t have a peak. I plan on continuing to grow and better myself as life goes on. I don’t want to limit myself because there is always room for improvement.
The scholarship makes a huge difference. I wasn’t able to pay room and board first semester so I had to take out a loan. Second semester, I won’t be stressing about it and it will be all paid. Long-term, I won’t have to pay that $5,000 back. It is a feeling of accomplishment because it’s something I worked for.
Thank you for the opportunity and experience. The program has helped me meet some of the most warmhearted people. I believe that many more should be able to experience it, and I am looking forward to coming back to volunteer.